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The She-Cranes Visit

The day was an ordinary one until after the break. Like any other Tuesday, we started with registration, two morning lessons, and then a break. Once it struck eleven in the morning, all netballers gathered in the field to train and get formations as they waited for the guests, who were arriving after lunch.

At about twenty minutes past eleven, the swimming coach, Mr. Emma joined us along with three senior boys. All the girls were confused as to why the boys were dressed in the same attire as them, which was sportswear at the time. Coach Emma then announced that the guests, 'The She Cranes' junior team, requested the presence of at least three boys during the matches. Greetings were exchanged among the participants and bibs with players' respective positions were worn.

Not more than fifteen minutes into the game, Coach Emma saw that the girls were not putting in as much effort as he expected them to, so he declared a two-minute timeout to substitute all three boys into shooting positions. There were two boys on team A, one playing as the first shooter and the other as the second shooter. On team B there was one boy playing as the main shooter.

The timeout was called off and the match continued, now with both boys and girls. In the beginning, the girls found it funny because they thought the boys knew nothing about netball. But to their surprise, it was the contrary. Nothing was funny to me because I was defending the second shooter (a boy) of team A, who not only knew how to play netball to perfection but was also a track star. The game was scheduled to have four quarters meaning fifteen minutes with about four-minute breaks between them.

During the third quarter, I became better at defending my opponents because I learnt his tactics and movements, which made me feel a sense of accomplishment and achievement. No sooner had I thought I had things under control than I felt a sudden quick hard bang right to my face right to my face which made me stumble a few steps back. I bent and held my knees with the palms of my hands and stared at the ground to digest the blow. My opponent hadn't realized that his shoulder had hit me until he saw me in that position. He rushed towards me in serious concern.

Following that incident, I lost my energy to play because of the headache that accompanied the hit. I decided, just like any person would, to mark him with caution and distance in the last quarter for fear of breaking my glasses next.

Lunch time arrived and everyone descended to word for lunch. At around one-fifty, I told the nearest netballer I could see to gather the rest in a group and go up to the field at once with water and benches as they waited for me Daniella, the team captain, to welcome the guests and bring them up to the netball court.

On the guest's arrival, we introduced ourselves to the Uganda 'She Cranes' manager, Madam Elizabeth Sempebwa, their coach Peter, and the junior team that comprised about eleven girls, of which five were primary seven candidates, four were senior four vocalists and two were senior threes. I hurried up to the office and requested the Principal of Taibah International School, Mr. Semweya Oscar to give a word or two to the guests which he did and then snatched a group photo.

Upon reaching the court, the Taibah netballers were extremely welcoming towards everyone. The match began with the first quarter which was played between the Taibah students and the junior team from KTLC which they identified as their training grounds. The third quarter was played between all Taibah coaches and a joint team of Taibah netballers and the netballers from KTLC. The last quarter was played by anyone who still had the energy to engage in a final round.

Toward the end, the captains of both teams gave a word of thanks to everyone present, appreciating their efforts and input to the matches. Madam Elizabeth and Coach Peter gave all the members present including the Taibah coaches, advice on the importance of sports, especially regarding the young stars’ futures. The Taibah netball captain and I then escorted the guests back to the gate where we thanked them for showing up.

Lastly, Madam Elizabeth awarded both of us with souvenirs like notebooks and tags which we received with gratitude. We thanked them for the tokens of appreciation and promised to visit them at their training ground soon.

-Amenya Nisha

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