I’m only 20.
A youngster, not terribly long out of high school.
It’s only been three years since I played any kind of sport.
It actually feels like it’s been decades.
But I’m only 20.
Fun fact about me — I have been dragged through the journey of hospital visits, doctor’s appointments, scans, blood tests, the whole kit and caboodle.
A never-ending cycle of pain, medications and questions since I was 7 for a diagnosis still unconfirmed to this day.
Oh, the joys of chronic pain ramping up as you age.
I’ve had week-long trips to the hospital. The urgent doctor department and ED love me (not) and I’m still just completely unsure of what’s going on.
I wanted to continue women’s football outside of high school. Even socially, just as a way to keep the old bones rattling around a sports field of some sort. But it’s been a difficult mission.
Feeling like an oldie in a youngling’s body, I decided I wouldn’t bother putting myself through the consequences of night-time pain and sobbing until I had some sort of solution to my issue.
I’m now 20.
There was no way I’d continue sitting around on my behind waiting for a diagnosis. Some office banter with my co-worker Rozel sparked a searing desire in the back of my head.
‘‘Should we play netball this year?’’
Of course we laughed like maniacs about the idea of us cracking on, slipping over or colliding with our opponents on a shiny indoor netball court in the Cross Recreation Centre.
Why not? I’m only 20.
I needed the exercise.
So stepping out on to a netball court for the first time since I was 15, I was riddled with anxiety. AND I was already puffed by 20 minutes of warm-up exercises, but that’s beside the point.
The entire time, I felt the urge to up and leave.
I had been doing OK medically, but I knew from Wednesday’s practice the exercise was going to affect my legs.
My black sneakers, which I swear had been hiding in my closet from me since high school, connected with the dynapoint flooring inside the centre as I jittered nervously for the beginning of our grading games.
When the first whistle blew, I knew why I hadn’t backed out.
Pure exhilaration fired through my body, and I couldn’t remember why I had freaked myself out at all.
The first game as an established team, a lot of my new team-mates were feeling the burn.
But every single one of them had smiles on their faces.
I, for one, hurt like hell, and definitely listened to my body.
But those first few small grading games were the start of something I didn’t know I missed so much.
Go Black Gold.