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Blog: Land of Giants

I could stand up here today and tell you how I try to be fearless in everything I do. But the reality is I am not, says Sports Prefect, Sophie (Year 12).

In fact, often in the place I feel most comfortable is the place I need to push myself to be fearless. Where is that? On the netball court. Let’s not beat around the bush. While I love netball – and I love nothing more than shooting hoops and scoring points for my team – I am not exactly blessed with the height most of my competitors.

I stand 5ft 8 tall in shoes! And while that puts me as the tallest in my family, it just doesn’t rate on the court. You see, I live in a world of giants. Most of the girls I play against are 6ft and over. And as a goal attack, you always have the pleasure of going up against the goal defense or keeper, who are without question the tallest human beings our age you could come across.

While you probably would never guess it, every time I warm up, I always take a quick peek at the opposition, check out their defenders, and sometimes, I feel that funny butterfly feeling in my tummy. You know the one? That feeling where your knees go a little bit weak, and that little – make that very loud – voice in your head says: “Soph, what are you doing?” They are going to overpower you. You’ll never get the ball around them.

Ever heard that voice? The one that puts doubts in your mind; gets your questioning yourself and makes you feel a little bit wobbly? Well, you are not alone. It happens to us all, but the good news is that by being fearless and trusting in ourselves, we can drown out that doubt and give ourselves the chance to be the best we can be.

I’ll never forget one match I was playing in the premier league it was a must win match – and I was going up again the NSW U19 goal defence, Nakita. She’s one of the best defenders for her age in the country. Think gorgeous tall blonde with endless arms and the skill and agility which see her play in Suncorp Super Netball within the next few years. All I could hear in my head was the commentator’s voice from out previous match which highlighted I was – shall we put it nicely – vertically challenged.

“She’s a nifty little player. What she lacks in height she makes up for in accuracy.” The words from the livestream were all I could think about. How was I going to be able to play against Nakita when quite frankly, I probably came up to her shoulder height?

Deep breath. That’s the one thing I’ve learned. When you need to be fearless, you need to take a deep breath. You also need to back yourself, to trust in your practice, your preparation, everything you have done to get you to that moment. And that is what I did. Instead of focusing on my inadequacies, I focused on what I could do, what I could control.

I won’t lie. I could not see the hoop when I shot goals that night against Central Coast Heart, but what I did was trusted in those 200 hoops I have shot every day since I was 10 years old. I couldn’t get over her, but I could move faster and use my “lack of height” to my advantage. And I was able to win the ball and convert. What I learned was by backing myself – and adapting my game – I could take on any defender regardless of their skills and physic.

Looking back, I can’t remember if we won the game or not, for me it doesn’t matter. What I taught myself, that night on the courts at Netball Central, was by trusting in myself, I could fearlessly live in a world of giants.

Today, I want to encourage you to step outside your comfort zone, embrace your fears – because only when we look fear in the eyes can truly achieve our potential.
I hope my story shows you that it is ok to be scared, but to know that it is not these fears that define you but instead the way you handle these fears that define who you are. In the light of this pandemic we can’t let fears and uncertainty control us. We must always look for the positives and be brave, do something you wouldn’t normally do.

You can be brave and let those brave actions shape you and maybe even inspire others to fearless too.

SDIX

Sports Prefect, Sophie (Year 12)