To Korf or not to Korf

A comparison between a year of playing korfball and a year without.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love/has had to endure a bit of Shakespeare in their lives, but I feel even ‘the Bard’ would struggle to find the superlatives to describe my enjoyment of korfball.

With the upcoming season fast approaching I am returning to korfball after a third failed attempt to give up Holland’s best and least known sport and thought it would be a good time to reflect on my past year without korfball and draw comparisons with the years that I played.

I started playing in 2004 at the University of Birmingham, drawn to the opportunity to “try something different” during my time at Uni. After a year I was hooked.

It did not happen overnight. Playing a mixed gender sport with elements of netball and basketball and a weird “defended” rule was sometimes confusing and frustrating, particularly when I played against more experienced players. However, the more I played, the more I went to socials, the more I saw Korfball for what it was. I loved the team spirit, the fact that it was different and the social aspect which was valued almost more than playing the sport itself. I loved the opportunities it gave me, the chances to travel and make new friends, the fact that it catered so well for players of all abilities and that I rarely ran into anyone who thought they were “too good” to play against players who were less experienced or as able as themselves.

After Uni my enthusiasm continued. Playing club Korfball for Birmingham City allowed me to play against better players and improve my own game. The social side, whilst requiring less fancy dress for socials, was as key as ever and the increased training sessions provided welcome exercise and relief to distract me from the stresses everyone faces when they start careers in the ‘real world’. Year after year my love of ‘korf‘ continued to grow, I played at a standard of sport that I probably would not have reached playing other sports and won trophies I never thought I could win.

Last year for the third time, I decided to announce my retirement “to try something different”. It was not a bad year, I tried a tough mudder and other races, I started doing yoga and gym classes and began running more regularly, but the satisfaction and enjoyment never came close to how I felt when I played Korfball. I missed the regular games and goal setting. The chance to test myself each week against different opponents. I felt my all round fitness dropping no matter how much I tried to run or hit the gym because my heart wasn’t in it. What I missed most though was the people and the fun I had week in, week out. I missed the jokes and impromptu socials, the friends I’d spent time getting to know and seeing every week, I quickly realised that no other sport gave me the enjoyment korfball could give me.

After attending a friends “korf in the park” birthday I realised how much I had missed it and missed out on. People make places and Korfball training is the place I want to be. I can’t wait for the new season to start.

The bard said “to thine own self be true”. I am a korfballer – How about you?

What happened in the year without korfball? What were the differences?

Year with korfball:

  • Improved fitness
  • Regular routine
  • Being a part of a team
  • Lots of socials Improved confidence in sporting ability

Year without korfball:

  • Lack of fitness
  • Lack of routine
  • Repetitive training in the gym
  • Less going out and meeting new people
  • Same confidence in sporting ability