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August 09 Edition Cover

Lasting links via mixed netball

28 Jan 2020

Lasting links via mixed netball Image

By David Schout

With a thriving competition on the Harbour Esplanade courts, Docklands social netball is forming lasting connections for those involved, especially Bek Grouios.

When the Docklands competition started a year ago, Bek was tasked with coordinating the evening games in her part-time role with Melbourne Social Netball.

A family lawyer by day, she has worked with the group for seven years in coordinating, umpiring and admin work, feeding her netball passion – a sport she has been involved in since the age of four.

In organising the new teams, many of the new groups that emerged in Docklands were work sides given its location near many corporate offices and businesses.

Bek was particularly drawn to one team, where she met a man named Alex White.

“We had a lot of work teams to start, and one of the things that drew me to Alex’s team was how fun his work team was,” she said.

“They’d get there early and always had a laugh and heckle each other. We had quite a few work teams that were really friendly and would love to come down and unwind on the court, which is exactly what we want.”

Noticing Alex most weeks, some swift work from his colleague would put them in touch properly.

“He’d down with his puppy, who’s adorable, and we’d talk and eventually one of his friends on the team said to me ‘you should chat (beyond netball) to Alex’,” Bek explained to Docklands News.

“I thought ‘oh, yeah, I’m not sure’. Anyway, she actually left a post-it note on Alex’s work computer with my number on it. So, he texted me and we started talking and the rest is history. Oh, and now we’re having a baby!”

It’s yet another example of mixed netball proving the catalyst for friendships and, in this case, something more.

Soon after becoming closer, Bek and Alex would begin playing together at the Flagstaff Gardens courts up the road, another venue in the Melbourne Social Netball stable.

She said most mixed players began playing the sport with few expectations, and were often surprised with the outcome.

“I’m a single mum with a four-year-old daughter. I certainly didn’t think I’d meet someone at netball (laughs).”

While she has taken a step back with the impending birth of her and Alex’s child, Bek said the Docklands competition was “thriving.”

She said that while many teams were corporate sides, there were groups of friends and even individuals who played at the Harbour Esplanade courts (which had recently been resurfaced).

In fact, one team of individuals who were put together for season one has remained as a team, and still play together.

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