After moving from the regional (small) city of Goulburn, NSW to study Commerce and Law at UNSW, Angela has had a go at every sport she could find. From water polo and hockey, to squash and judo, there's not much she won't have a shot at.
When you think of like, your sporty friends, the ones that come to mind are the elite athletes, the ones who gym every day. But there’s so many people playing sports that aren’t those ones. Unless you’re trying out for like, the elite team, no one’s expecting you to be any good. I think, for me, and the level I play at, it’s just like “Do you wanna have a run around?”, “Can you not drop the ball every time?”. If you catch it one in three, then you’re cool. I think yeah, it’s just all about having a run around.
I’m a bit of a runner. I’m with the UNSW Campus Runners. I hop into some of their things, I kind of do trainings with them sometimes. I tend to run more by myself. And there’s another running club that I’m part of, where I guide a blind runner. So, you meet up in the park and you take them for a jog, which is really cool, it’s a really cool way to go for a run. That’s my sport of choice because it’s on my schedule and it’s free, so I love that. RunSoc’s been really cool because it’s the first time I’ve been like, running with people, which was really different.
I’m kind of confident anyway. But sport’s taught me other thing that aren’t confidence. Like how to work better in a team, how to manage your time, if you go for a run in the morning you have to kind of juggle your time better. I think it probably gives me, particularly with running, more of a understanding of ‘If you don’t succeed at first, you’ll get there eventually’, like, literally persistence will pay off. I think that’s probably what sport has taught me, persistence will pay off, take it steady, slow but steady. I just kind of, take it piece by piece. If it’s big, I just take it one step at a time.
No one’s expecting you to be fantastic or an elite athlete, but if you can have a go and do what you can. You can literally only do what you can do, and people see that.
It’s one of those things where if you said to kids in high school that ‘Angela is now sporty’ it’d be kind of really funny. I was very much more nerdy and academic at school, I kind of did a bit of sport but it definitely wasn’t a strength of mine. But then I took a gap year, and I worked in a school where I was kind of the PE teacher, which was ironic given my background up to that point. But I just like played a lot of sport with 12 year old boys and they don’t care how good you are. And then you just kind of like, get to keep playing and do fun things, I just kind of mucked around. Then by the time I came to Sydney I was just happy to have a go at anything. So yeah, I’ve made a lot of friends through that. I remember growing up, like I said, I wasn’t particularly sporty but I had a go at everything. Like horse riding, archery, soccer, indoor soccer, netball. You name it, I’ve probably tried it. If you choose to pick a sport and persevere at it, there’ll be days where you’re not mentally there, but like, if you physically show up, that’s half the work. But the other half is yeah, committing and trying it.
I’ve had a go at everything since I’ve been in Sydney. I played in the touch competitions, I’ve played water polo, I’ve played hockey, I’ve played netball. I haven’t played Quidditch or frisbee, they’re on the list of things I haven’t done, but pretty much everything I’ve had a go at. I’ve tried judo, I’ve tried squash, I did She Can water skiing. It’s the only thing that’s ever been on my bucket list, and She Can ticked it off, so that was good. It’s something I haven’t followed up on but I’ll definitely go to another one or two this year. It’s a good excuse to have a go at something. I found She Can a really good way to try things. Like, when would I ever play squash, if there wasn’t an opportunity like that? Unless you have a friend who’s into it who’s willing to teach you, that opportunity just never comes around. So I thought that was awesome.
Water skiing’s one of those things that’s so prohibitive to get into, if you want to but don’t have a friend with a boat. The entry barrier is like, you need a boat, which is huge. So just having a club on campus that are like “we do this”, and it just kind of seems really daunting to not be able to water ski and be like “Yes, I want to come on one of your days”. Whereas with She Can, it was like “Here is a bunch of 20 girls, most of whom have never been skiing before. You’re not going to be the worst, or if you are, there’s gonna be someone that’s not much better than you”. It was just so much fun, such a good day. I got up! I stood up! That’s the definition of good at this very beginner level.
It’s worth it. I get that it can be totally daunting, but it’s a lot of fun, and even if it’s not the right one for you the first time and it’s not fun, there’s something out there that is fun. No one is judging you if you try something for two weeks and decide, “I hate this” and quit, if you find something else that works for you. I’d say dabbling is the way to go. It might not be perfect for you, but it’s free, it’s fun, it’s a good break in your day, it’s no commitment.
It’s one of those things, like I haven’t been running these past couple months. And you don’t really notice at the time, but just like, your productivity, even though you have more time because you’re not running, because you’re not using your time effectively, and you’re not moving, I find that I work less efficiently, and I probably get less done when I’m not exercising. I find that it helps me in a lot of ways.