While many in the United States have never heard of netball, it is changing the lives of girls, including 14-year-old Veajah, an athlete in the Netball America program who has been inspired by the sport.
One of the Women’s Sports Foundation’s 2018 Sports 4 Life community partners, Netball America has a presence in 33 states as it seeks to expand netball in the country.
“The Sports 4 Life grant has helped us tremendously in part because netball is a niche sport,” Hyacinth Douglas, a Netball America program leader in Atlanta, said. “Through the grants that we’re getting, we’re able to reach out to community agencies to go into and do a demonstration in to get the girls interested.
It also helps us endorse our programming. A couple months ago I went to the school system to talk to the director of PE, I was able to tell him about Sports 4 Life and show him the goals of Sports 4 Life, and the expectations that we have to follow … It’s not just Netball America’s mission, it’s the Sports 4 Life mission.”
Veajah’s Letter to WSF:
My name is Veajah, and I am 14 years old. I am now a member of the Georgia SE Strikers Junior team. I was first introduced to netball by my mother, who actively plays the sport. My mom is from Jamaica, where netball is widely popular. I first started to play netball when I was 6, and although I can’t remember much, I can remember enjoying every component of the game. I am an all-around player, but my favorite position in netball is Goal Defense (GD). I enjoy playing this position because getting the ball back from the other team’s shooters and getting it to your own tram is challenging and fun. This position can be very tiring at times, but I really enjoy it.
Netball helps in everyday life because, like most other sports, it helps players stay healthy and stay in shape, and it teaches the value of teamwork and good sportsmanship. I really had fun with the “Ready, Set, Net” Sports 4 Life program and got to make new friends. I also enjoyed meeting different people from the community, and also my grades improved at school. I will continue to play netball, and I hope to get more people who do not have knowledge of the game to get involved and play. I also hope for returning players to continue to come back and enjoy the game.
About Sports 4 Life: Founded by the Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW, Sports 4 Life is a national initiative to increase the participation and retention of girls of color, ages 11-18, in developmental youth sports programs. Through education, public awareness and funding to organizations nationwide, Sports 4 Life seeks to effect sustainable improvement to the overall health and development of girls in these communities. Meet our 2018 community partners >>