WITHOUT lows, you can't have highs. That's one of the things I've been trying to remind myself of after our loss on Sunday against the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic.
I'm also trying to remind myself that the Vixens have had a lot of success this year. It just doesn't feel like it at the moment. That's the funny thing about grand finals. Teams that miss out on the finals but win their last game or two, finish off the season feeling pretty good. But a team, like the Vixens, that makes it to the grand final but loses, finishes the year feeling very down, even though they've had a much better season than a team not making the finals. It's a cruel irony really.
Stepping back from the game, one can't help but admire the Magic and in particular their evergreen, 40-year-old shooter Irene Van Dyk. I mentioned here last week that Irene's mum had passed away hours before their come-from-behind preliminary final win against the Mystics. Making it through to a grand final was somewhat of a fairytale. I'm gutted to have lost. I won't go on about it here, but you can take it that I'm devastated. But there is a part of me that is happy for Irene. And for the Magic. They've lost a number of grand finals in recent years and I have absolutely no doubt the win on the weekend was sweeter because of those past losses. And I guess that's the point - without lows, you can't have highs.
As for the game, I don't know what happened. I was in a state of disbelief in the final minutes. Everything had been going well. At one point we were out to a six-goal lead. Maybe it was mental, maybe it was physical. Although many will have their theories, no one will ever know exactly why. I guess that's the beauty of sport. If we knew why, if we were able to pick exactly who was going to win each competition, then we would not all be in love with sport the way we are. It is the come-from-behind, against-the-odds wins that make sport what it is and make us love it so much.
But that is cold comfort when you're on the wrong end of a come-from-behind, against-the-odds win.
When I reflect on the 2012 season, there have been groundbreaking highs for the sport of netball. Never have games in the Trans Tasman Championship been consistently sold out with record breaking crowds and network ratings so high. I believe our come-from-behind wins drew crowds back to their seats ready for more heart-stopping moments. The new maneuvre to netball called the "Harrison Lift" set the netball world alight. Anna Harrison was hoisted by her Northern Mystics teammate to block the goalers shot when they took the win from us in Melbourne earlier this year. This took the game to a new level and drew a great deal of attention.
As for me, I will assess my future. I love netball, and in a way, I'd love to play it for the rest of my life. But right now it doesn't feel like the most enjoyable thing. I'm sure that will pass. And I won't be making any decisions in this disappointed state of mind.
I haven't lost the spark.
But there is one thing of which I am absolutely certain. The Vixens and me, if I play on, will be back in 2013 with a point to prove. And there will be no stone left unturned in order for the Vixens to feel what the Magic felt on Sunday. We've had the low. And now the Vixens want the high.
I would love to thank the constant support from my family and the interest and backing from the south-west. I heard you in the crowd and there is no better feeling than having that belief from you all behind me.