Group sports can be gruelling. Some kids just want to have fun while others are ready to mow down anyone in their way. Then there’s the parents. Pushy parents. Supportive and kind parents. Absent and argumentative parents.
When Holly Simmons decided to find a new place to enjoy netball with her two daughters and son last year, she wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. Her kids needed a new netball home. A place where respect and fun were priorities. After much consideration, Holly decided to start her own club – and Frankston South Saints Netball Club was born. Why? Holly explains:
“We decided to take the harder road of forming a new club because I wanted to create a place where my girls and their brother could play netball happily; a place where they all had an opportunity to make their mark. But more than that, I wanted a club where our values of enjoying the game and respecting everyone who was part of the club were honoured. We train as a club. We warm up as a club. The older athletes must allocate themselves to a younger member and assist them with appropriate and safe warm-up techniques. They must know their name and ask them how their day was. It’s the little things that count at the Saints. Community sport – and in particular netball – needs to be safe and inclusive. Our netball club has become more than just a netball club.”
Isn’t that what community not-for-profit sport should be about? Maybe yes, maybe no. The Saints bring with it a nice change of pace. Holly continues: “We wanted to create a sense of belonging. Everyone gets a free Saints training top upon registration and we carefully nurture and provide leadership opportunities. Most of our club coach positions come from our under-17 girls. These amazing young women take on shaping and nurturing the future Saints netballers coming through. Our club committee is full of like-minded community members who are passionate about kids and adults enjoying sport and fitness in an inclusive environment.”
Holly believes it’s important for members to contribute to their own club environment but also to be conscious of the club’s greater contribution to netball in Frankston. Being heavily involved in the Frankston District Netball Association in many varied voluntary roles herself, Holly says most of the Saints club members also hold voluntary positions within the FDNA framework.
This people-first netball club was hit by COVID-19 just six months after its inception. Club representatives kept in contact with all players via social media, emails and coach messages throughout lockdown. Fitness videos were posted, and competitions were run. After all, winning on matchday may be great, but looking out for each other is better. No dodging that. Junior, senior and mixed matches are back on! Go to Frankston South Saints on Facebook to find out more.