Slices of oranges laid out, bottles of water at the ready and a group of excitable staff. Finally, the day had arrived where, in teams, we would go head-to-head in a game of netball at Oldham Leisure Centre.
For those who don’t know, warming up is one of the most important parts of exercising to avoid injury. Beginning with a gentle jog around the rather large court, we then went on to practice throwing and catching to improve our technique. Lastly, we finished up with some questionable stretches – courtesy of our CEO Craig. After strange noises from Craig, some odd waving of the arms and some badly balanced bending, we were ready to go!
The group split up into two teams of seven; the black team and the yellow team. The whistle was blown, and everyone became engrossed in the game; marking the opponent or running into spaces for team players to get a clear pass of the ball. It was off to a strong start for both teams, but the yellow’s (my team) started to take the lead by scoring the very first goal. However, almost immediately after the second centre pass, the black team scored their first goal too. Both teams were neck and neck, then just as the yellow team were about to pull it back, disaster struck and our Wing Attack, Rebecca, managed to crash land into the floor, going over on her ankle and making it swell to the size of a golf ball. Understandably she had to sit out for the rest of the game and was carried off the court like a queen; sitting on the side-lines, she became the designated photographer. Thankfully, Rebecca has now fully recovered.
One player down, the teams were rearranged and made equal; with the organiser of the event, Michelle, stepping out of her position as Goal Shooter and becoming the umpire. We all got into the swing of things, interceptions became more frequent, passes became more precise and everyone became increasingly sweaty.
Four 15-minute quarters and several water breaks later, the whistle was blown and the game was done. By rights, the yellow team should have won. However, Michelle shouted, “next goal wins the game” and much to the yellow team’s dismay, the black team took it. I will just point out however, that if it was based on the actual amount of goals that went in the net, then the win would have been ours, but Craig managed to snaffle the last goal in for the black team on the final whistle. So, maybe we were all winners in the end?
We celebrated the individual players with their own award. With the theme of Disney in mind, certificates were created and handed out:
- Amir won ‘Dash’ from The Incredibles – for covering the most ground and not losing stamina
- Ash won the ‘Tigger’ award – for jumping in for the interceptions
- Fatima won ‘Dory’ – for being forgetful of the offside rule
- Jack won the ‘Woody’ from Toy Story award – for being the best team player
- Jonny won ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – for being the most reckless, but in a good, enthusiastic way
- Leanne took home the ‘Olaf’ award – for being the happiest spirit
- Matt got awarded the ‘Hercules’ certificate – for attempting the plays that others would deem impossible
- Michelle won the ‘Pumba’ – for being the most vocal, although being the umpire, that was kind of her job…
- Rebecca took home (along with her swollen ankle) the ‘Dopey’ award – for hurting herself in spectacular fashion
- The ‘Cinderella’ was awarded to Ryszard– for being the most graceful player
- Stephanie was awarded the ‘Simba’ – for rising to the challenge
- Vivienne won the ‘Fairy Godmother’ – for looking after the team
- The ‘Eeyore’ was awarded to me – for plodding along and knowing when to take a rest (I got tired quickly. I would never claim to be a fit and healthy individual)
- And last, but not least, Craig was awarded the ‘Buzz Lightyear’ award – for genuinely believing he was a real life, professional netball player (he’s not); something that worsened when he scored the winning goal!
Jokes aside, I personally have never had the opportunity to go and play netball, or any sport for that matter, with my work colleagues. Being that I am still relatively new, I was a little dubious yet excited at the prospect. However, now I have experienced it, I couldn’t recommend it more. Netball might not be for everyone, but team building exercises like this are a great way to create and improve relationships within the workplace. Activities allow some common ground between people with different personalities and break down any barriers.
If you are thinking about introducing something like this where you work, then all I can say is you should do it! I have never laughed, sweated and moved so much in a long time – it was brilliant, even if I was a little stiff and achy the next day!