‘What a delight!’ Nancy said. ‘We won, girls.’
The team gathered around her, sweaty and red-faced from exertion. Some were drinking from their water bottles, others lay prone on the stadium floor.
‘What was the score?’ asked Bridget. She was the shooter in the squad and frequently scored all the goals. Today, she’d been off her game, which, Nancy thought, was probably why the winning margin was so narrow.
’21-20,’ Nancy said in response.
The girls looked crestfallen.
‘Hey, now. A win’s a win.’ Nancy was thinking about the finals, in five weeks’ time. Percentages counted in this level. They needed to get in a few landslide victories to remain on top of the ladder and best placed to win the premiership.
She continued, ‘You all did great. We’ll work in training this week on some mid-court strategies, because that was our weak spot in today’s match. We’ll also have shooting practice for our goalies, to help with accuracy.’
Bridget lowered her head, stared at the floorboards. Nancy made a mental note to speak to her individually after training. The poor girl took on too much responsibility if her aim was off and it wasn’t healthy, to Nancy’s mind.
‘Great job, go home and enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone. See you at training!’
Nancy packed up the bibs and hoisted the bag over her shoulder. With the ball under her arm, she made her way to the car.
Bridget leaning on the post, next to where Nancy had parked her car earlier that morning.
‘Bridget, what’s wrong?’
She fidgeted, couldn’t meet Nancy’s eyes.
‘Honey? Whatever it is, just say it.’ Nancy said.
Bridget began to cry. ‘I have to quit the team. From today.’
Shit. Shit. Shit.
Nancy’s face fell and her brain scrambled for the right thing to say. ‘Oh, love. I’m sorry to hear that.’
The team was done for. Sure, they’d make the finals, but without Bridget, they’d not achieve the big wins.
‘I gotta go. Dad’s waiting in the car.’ Bridget took off before Nancy could say anything more.
She looked in the direction where Bridget was headed, waved at Brian in the driver’s seat. Nancy suspected this situation had something to do with Bridget’s mother, Rosanna. She’d heard on the grapevine that Brian and Rosanna were separated, and things were getting messy. Nancy just couldn’t imagine Brian insisting Bridget quit something she loved and was good at—he was the supportive parent, the one who drove Bridget to all her after-school activities. Whenever Rosanna came to the netball matches, she’d sit far away from the other parents with a disinterested scowl.
Nancy put her bag and ball in the boot of the car and slumped in her seat. She made another mental note, this time to speak with Brian during the week. Together, she was sure they could work something out for Bridget. And the team.
Image courtesy: https://campaigns.health.gov.au/girlsmove/activity/netball