So we had the Olympics in London in 2012 and suddenly we are filled with that strange sensation of…pride I think you call it. It has been such a long time since we Brits have felt like we are allowed to feel pride that it almost seems to be a foreign concept now.
For sometime the pride of Britain had been resigned to being a yearly tearful award show (not something to be watched by the hormonal or slightly drunk) but with the Olympics in 2012 came pride once again to wave our little flags and sing the National Anthem even if we do only know the first verse.
What the Olympics also did was make lots of us think that we were good at sport.
I am not sure where the correlation came from between British athletes winning medals and average overweight Brits suddenly possessing superior sporting skills but somehow it emerged and the ripples of this sporting revolution made their way to the Brits abroad community of the Algarve.
When you live in a foreign country you may become aware of the huge array of different sports that people play outside the UK. In Portugal sports such as hand ball (like football but with your hands sort of) and roller hockey (like field hockey except on roller skates!) are genuinely popular past times – we shall go into these in a future post – but why learn a new sport when you can just try to convert everyone into loving one of our British favourites.
Netball is another fine example of a game we Brits invented when it seemed like nobody else could be bothered to come up with new ways to be competitive and it is also an example of a game that we started but everyone else got really good at.
In Portugal, and basically every other non Commonwealth country in the world, netball is a game that not many people play, and when I say not many people what I actually mean is nobody.
A lack of a court, equipment, team members, other teams to play and any real memory of how we even payed the game did not put us Brits from trying to introduce this much loved sport to the Algarve.
It turns out that it is actually very difficult to enjoy a game of netball without the above mentioned being ticked off but after three years we do now actually have our own little team (if you fancy coming over and playing against us then send me a message!!).
Netball has not become the roaring success that we had hoped it would be, with the main problem still being that it is only us Brits who have a clue what the game even is (questions such as; why can’t you just run with the ball, can I just go in with a low tackle, am I able to score a goal by shooting through the hoop from bottom to top and is there a midfield position available, are still common on court) but our true British resolve means that we will not be beaten by this.
While we wait as we attempt to convert an entire country to the joys of playing a game they have never even seen before we import teams from the UK to play against – where there is a will there is a way.