This article is part of the CCA Previews for 2016.
By Raffles Netball EXCO’16
The journey of a Raffles Netballer is never easy, but definitely one worth the blood, sweat, tears and time over the years because of the precious friendships we make and invaluable lessons that the sport teaches us. Raffles Netball is a close-knit family, made up of a bunch of dedicated, self-motivated, caring and fun-loving girls who share the same love for each other and for the sport.
As if we do not train together enough, a typical training day would see us meeting up after lessons in the canteen or at the netball benches, sometimes even hours before training starts, just to chit-chat, get some tutorials done or to catch a quick nap. Often, we hear someone suddenly say as she jolts up, “I forgot to bring recovery food!” Almost always, she would drag one of us with her to make the quick dash to RI Chill to get biscuits or a bottle of 100 Plus. Gathering 10-15 girls who have been cooped up in classrooms for the most part of the day is the simplest and fastest recipe for lots of loud chatter and laughter. Once training starts and the coach arrives, however, we all know to focus and make best use of each session, especially when competition season draws close.
With high expectations of ourselves and of the team, training sessions are both physically and mentally draining. What really keeps us going, training after training, is the constant peer encouragement – from the shouts of ‘Jiayou!’ and ‘Good job!’ from the other end of the court, or the quiet ‘hi-fives’ and pats on the back after a tough workout. At the end of an arduous week of school and training sessions, nothing beats spending some quiet time with teammates, admiring the stars while lying down on the courts in the dark after training, before going for yet another fun-filled and satisfying CCA dinner.
Our annual camps are key highlights in our time at Raffles Netball. Held at different times of the year, the camps seek to achieve various objectives, but wacky team-bonding games, as well as nighttime team and personal reflections in the cosy EW Barker Institute of Sports (EWBIS) room are never out of the picture. (The EWBIS room is also where we prepare for big matches.) The 2015 end-of-year camp for the J1s featured an entire afternoon of games, followed by grocery shopping for a self-prepared dinner. The bonds, support, spirit and attitude that we have in Raffles Netball are what we all hold dear to and spend a lot of time building, from getting through tough training sessions to enjoying fun times together.
The Raffles Netball experience would also not be the same without our dedicated, supportive, approachable and friendly teachers-in-charge and soaches, who often go beyond their duties to help us achieve our goals. During busy periods, they often sacrifice time with their families to be with us at training and camps, chat with us to make sure we are all coping, and buy us delicious after-training goodies.
To many of us, choosing to be part of the Raffles Netball family has been nothing short of a blessing. Looking back, it is not the gold medal that we hold dear to, but the shared laughter, tears shed and strong friendships forged that hold a special place in our hearts. It’s about the journey, not the destination. So join us on this journey of team building, self-discovery, discipline and growth in 2016. It may not be easy, but it will be worth it. Come down to our booth at Open House to find out more!