One of the most exciting sporting events I witnessed last year was a netball match between England and Australia.
For those who do not know, Australia is a netballing dynasty, they were number 1s in the world for a long time, and England had only ever beaten them twice before, in 1981 and 2010. This was my first netball match and it absolutely opened my eyes to this fierce, dynamic and beautiful game. I could not believe the pace, skill level and athleticism of the game – I now find myself watching religiously on Sky Sports, it’s an incredible spectator sport. So if you don’t know – get to know!
Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of football, however I am always complaining that there should be other sports with a greater influence in our society. Some would argue that rugby and cricket have great profiles, but if you check Sky Sports News you will see that 90% of the coverage is football. There is just not enough balance here in Britain. Compare Sky to ESPN or CNN Sport in the States and you will understand where I am coming from.
I became interested in netball by accident. The Medical Chambers where I am an Associate (108 Harley Street) are real supporters of England Netball and a few of us were invited to this particular match. It was a freezing January evening and Wembley Arena seemed so far away, I wasn’t actually keen to go at all. But I’m so glad that I did – I ended up having a fantastic time.
The game itself was incredible. The crowd one of the most vibrant I’ve ever seen – it’s clear that netball fans are passionate supporters. When the final whistle went and it was clear that England had won not only the game but the entire series against the Aussies, the whole Arena just erupted. It was infectious, and I’m so happy I was part of it.
My point is that we should be encouraging the development of other sports – netball, lacrosse, field hockey – these often overlooked sports have so much value, and may have a more diverse appeal than an excessive focus on football. We need to get more people increasing their physical activity – the more sports we have readily available and in the public eye, the more people we might persuade to get out and give it a go.