Dreaming big through netball

Dream team, from left, Bianca Davids, 14, Miriam Olivier, 25, Tara Adams, 13, Marinda Edson, 56, and Tara Galant, 15. Picture: Karen Watkins.

Generations divide the girls and women who meet twice a week on cracked, potholed sports court at Salamander Park above Hout Bay Harbour, but their passion for netball unites them.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, from 5.15pm to 7pm, the Hout Bay Dreams netball squad meets for practice and friendly matches.

They are inviting all females, regardless of their age, fitness level, or skill, to share their enthusiasm and possibly join the team.

They have also invited two teams from Ocean View to play a tournament against the three local teams.

A driving force behind the squad five is Marinda Edson, 56, who has been playing netball since the age of 13. She says people often ask her why she still plays. Her answer is simple: “I’ve loved the game with a passion and it makes me feel young and fit.”

Ms Edson says netball can motivate young girls and encourage them to be active.

They hold fund-raisers, including bingo evenings, to buy proper footwear and other sports gear. They have also received donations of water bottles and gift vouchers from businesses.

There is only a single basketball hoop and backboard at the sports court and some gym equipment and a play park, but the group would like to one day see proper netball goal posts there and the uneven and cracked court resurfaced.

Miriam Olivier, 25, played netball during her school years, from Grades 4 to 7, but she later drifted away from the sport. Meeting Ms Edson reignited her love for the game, although she was hesitant at first.

“What would people think about me? I’m not in the best shape and I’m unfit,” she says.

But the sense of community, the thrill of playing, and the support of her fellow players drew her back in.

“It’s exciting as an adult to come back to it. We practice for three to four hours, and it’s a stress release. I forget about my problems. But every night, my body is sore. The first 10 minutes, I’m out of breath, but I’m hoping that one day I’ll get as good as these girls.”

Mayoral committee member for community services and health, Patricia van der Ross, said plans to repair and upgrade all the steel play equipment at Hangberg Park are set to begin next month.

Once the tender has been awarded, she said, the Recreation and Parks Department will engage with all relevant stakeholders and place signage conveying the repairs at strategic points at the park.

Ward councillor, Roberto Quintas said there are also plans to paint new multi-purpose lines on refreshed courts, which will include lines for several sports codes.

“A Friends of Salamander Park is being established to work alongside the City in defining what these needs are, so that my allocation is spent on what community representatives advise,” he said.

“Lastly, I sincerely hope that the installations will be safeguarded by the community as unfortunately previous improvements such as trees and basket ball hoops and murals have all been destroyed or damaged in acts of vandalism,” said Mr Quintas.

To join Hout Bay Dreams, contact Miranda on WhatsApp at 073 199 7217.

The Hout Bay Dreams squad hopes to one day see proper netball goal posts and resurfaced sports courts.