Yet another tick for the bucket-list, which I’ve yet to publish!  On a night out, a friend introduced her Korfball friends, a group of socialites and miscreants, fit-bods and the more casual athletic form.  Pretty much my age, having a good time, players of an obscure sport that sounded either foreign or public school.

Although it’s definitely outside my comfort zone, the appeal of accomplishing several goals in one painful dive into the deep-end was too much to resist.   It’s on my bucket-list, is a fitness activity, potential to make new friends and learn something completely different.

So when the offer to try it out came up, I was ready to kneel down and place head on chopping block.  “Sure I’ll give it a go” I heard myself say, followed up with the confident debonair internal voice reassuring me it fitted perfectly with my plans and it would be a great experience.  I risk sounding mental divulging this, as it’s such a surprise.  Usually I’ll be saying “Hm, ha, maybe another time” whilst the internal dialog runs ‘yeah right mate, your joking, no way in hell you can do that’.

This Thursday I had my first practice session, no idea what to expect I take along an old pair of cotton outdoor shorts, cotton vest and trainers (replete with dust in footwell).  Entering the training room in newbie uniform, I’m filled with excitement that the first task is to run… run around the hall with the added bonus that the person at the back is cycled around to the front frequently, ensuring it’s not possible to be suffering and lagging behind.  Fortunately this wasn’t too big an ask of 75Kg me, 91Kg tub ‘o lard me wouldn’t have completed a lap.

The training session didn’t impress, I really feel that basic skills have to be built up. With any situation the problem needs to be modeled and broken down, each part perfected and pieced together for appreciation / application.  It did however offer a pretty good introduction to the style of the game.  The challenges are numerous and I doubt participation in any sport gives much of benefit aside fitness for Korfball.  The ball is smaller & lighter than a basketball, the goal lacks a backboard forcing a precise high-arc shot.  The initial routine consisted of footwork exercise of running in, catching the ball and making a shot, simply too much to take in.  Add in a line-dancing style demonstration of a pivoting move and I was ready to scream/cry/break-down, fortunately went with comedy bemusement and struggled on.  The session ended with a practice game, I’d just about picked up enough and the group is both friendly and helpful so it wasn’t too painful an experience.  Just had to contend with a few new rules, most interesting were:

  • Reverse court every two? goals
  • Reverse position/activity between defense/attack as above
  • Mark/escape a player of the same sex
  • Pass to a player of the opposite sex

The last two rules get more interesting with gender realignment due to available players “No, I’m a girl” from a 6ft tall guy with beard… overload!  Fortunately I was able to score during the game, unfortunately I was too excited and completely missed the opportunity for cool and relaxed, springing into the air with satisfaction appropriate to Sebastian Vettel after winning a F1 race.

Next time I’ll be wearing wicking clothing and have a water bottle, and remember that there is no expectation of new players other than to join in as best they can.

This is my local group http://www.tauntonsoul.co.uk/index.php

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