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  Nr. 34 - February 2001
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Work Off Those Winter Blues!

by Tanya Ford, February 2001
February is a difficult month - Christmas and New Year celebrations are over, Easter and the working season (and, for many, the first income of 2001) still seem far off. But before that all too common Parian phenomenon - the “winter blues” - gets its grip on you, why not get moving and this year it might not be able to catch up with you! It’s well documented that physical exercise is one of the best antidotes to inertia and depression, so let the enthusiasm in the following article by Tanya Ford inspire you to action.

January 2001 has seen the introduction of netball on our island with coaching, training and competition games twice a week in Naoussa. All sessions begin with a warm-up and stretching, followed by one hour of coaching, complete with training exercises (ball skills, defence, offense etc.) and for the remaining hour we play competition games (practice makes perfect!) and, of course, a warm-down to finish.

For those who do not live close to Naoussa, once a month netball travels to you and visits other villages around our island (that way no one has a good excuse!).

Netball is an international sport that’s really easy to learn and fun to play. For those of you who are not familiar with the game, the closest comparative sport would be basketball - except the rules are quite different! Netball is a non-contact sport (unlike basketball) and is generally faster due to the fact that it’s a game of quick passing rather than bouncing the ball. No experience is necessary and beginners will participate in competition games from day one. Believe me, we have a good laugh together and everybody is welcome.

Netball is a team sport and therefore demands teamwork (a valuable lesson for us all). A game consists of two teams (7 players on the court - therefore 7 positions - and extra substitution players) and is based on throwing and catching. Each player plays in their designated position for 4x15 minute quarters (with a three minute break between quarters and five minutes at half time), scoring goals (therefore points) through a ring attached to a 3.05m (10 feet) high post. Whoever gets the most goals, wins.

Like most Australians, sport played a major part in my life from a very young age and is promoted and designed to give all children the opportunity to gain not only the basic sporting skills, experience and physical fitness, but also to develop our social skills and good sportsmanship. We have a tradition of “giving it a go”, and enjoying sport as much for the participation as the competition, a necessary perspective in life for us all and our children to learn.

In my experience, enjoying yourself while exercising is the secret ingredient to success - as well as being wonderful for the soul. It’s a good workout for those who like to keep fit, but at the same time you don’t have to be fit to play!

My goals are directed towards community involvement (for the young and the old) and at promoting fitness and fun! Sport is generally not a priority for many, especially on small islands such as ours. If you are anything like me, the gym alone is just not enough stimulation and I find myself unmotivated and easily bored. Netball, being a team sport, gives another meaning to physical activity whilst effortlessly improving your health. In fact, combining physical activity - playing sports and going to the gym - is the best way to get the quickest and most effective results.

As much as possible, all efforts will be made to ensure that our competition remains competitive by balancing teams so that not too many experienced players are in one team. Losing all the time becomes demoralising - players lose interest and therefore learn little!

This is probably a new sport for many and, as yet, I have not be able to find that it exists anywhere else in Greece. (If you know or find out that it does, please let me know.) For some of us foreigners netball was one of the sports played at school.

Spectators, families and children are most welcome - the more the merrier! We also need willing volunteers to help out with umpiring, scoring, keeping time - your time would be greatly appreciated. This is a good opportunity to meet new people, do something different and learn something new!

Join us every Tuesday (12:30-2:30pm) and Thursday (6:00-8:00pm) at the basketball court (beside the Public High School) in Naoussa. For more information, contact me (Tanya) on 0977-124618. Join us or at least pass by and have a look (and a laugh!).
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