And, oh my, was it a baptism of fire! On arrival at the sports hall, we were met by five worried faces: 'We're playing Universal' they announced. Apparently, this was bad. It was bad. They were good. Very good. Very, very good! In fact, these were semi-professional players with the ability to apparate suddenly away from me, and into the path of the ball!
Anyway, it was an experience, it was fun and it may be something I could be persuaded to repeat, if someone was ever to risk persuading me again. For the time being, in case any of you have considered taking up the great secondary school game of netball, just a mere 17 years after packing away your netball skirt, here's my quick guide to 'How Not to play netball':
1. Agree to the position of 'Goal Shooter' even though your mere 5'2'' stature pails in comparison to the 6'+ giant goal keeper and you haven't held a netball in 17 years, let alone attempted to throw one into a small netted ring!
2. Close your eyes when the ball comes flying towards your face. Some say it's better to catch the ball with your hands, but your nose is a far more effective barrier.
3. Trip over your own feet whilst vying for space as your goal attack aims at the net; the fall to the floor conveniently distracts all team members - warning: this may also cause distraction to your own players!
4. Immediately run into an offside position as soon as the second half begins - having
5. Be kind enough to let your defender win the ball every time. She's very good after all; when she's not apparating across the court, she's got a perfect catch and aim - she deserves to win!
If, at the end of your experience, you have a bruised nose and a grazed knee to show for your efforts, you know you've done well, but have room for improvement... as it seems that broken fingers are the sign of a 'great' player...