My job: making tough decisions

Sometimes you have to make decisions that you’d rather not have to make. Unfortunately, that is part of my job (which I otherwise love). My volunteer job, that is, and it sucks to have people hate you (yes, I’m exaggerating) for something you volunteer to do.

I don’t know how the youth sport system is in your countries. I know that many countries have a school sport system where, if I can believe Ned’s Survival Guide on Nickelodeon, children either make the team or they don’t. We have a different system in the Netherlands. Similar to how you can be a member of a gym, you can become member of a sports club. It’s a volunteer organisation, so people contribute not only money, but also time to, for example, stand behind the counter, drive children to away games or to train other people. My job? I’m in the technical committee, so I’m in charge of the trainers, educating and coaching them and when the season is about to end, make decisions about which children are the best and which ones are mediochre.

That in itself is not so tough, though sometimes you doubt who is best because you haven’t seen children play together. Much tougher is handling the responses of both parents and children concerning their placement in certain teams. People feel they are better than others and should be placed in higher teams. Children would like to play with their friends. There are too many children in the team, there are too few children in the team… The list goes on.

The paradox in having to make such decisions is this: you can never please everyone. There is no way to satisfy all people and to uphold the goal of going for the highest overall level possible at the same time. So we don’t. Of course we try to accomodate somewhat, and people have the opportunity to tell us their preferences (playing with specific people, for example) up front, but the reality is that there’ll always be disappointed children and parents. As long as we support what we have chosen as a collective and have made these choices as fairly as possible, we have done the best we can.

It’s a tough job. Think you can do better? You’re welcome to try 🙂


Feelings of doubt

When you play sports and are a bit good at it, you’ll probably want to attain the highest possible position. For me, right now, that would mean playing for the first team of the club. Our coach will make the decision on Tuesday, after yet another practice match. Tension is running high after today’s matches…

Last year, I tried out as well, for the first time. I didn’t make it and started playing in the second team, which was good for me! I could acquire leadership qualities (I was one of the more experienced on the team) and learn how to put myself in scoring position more. When I had to substitute in the first team at the end of the season, I had improved and was able to keep up and score more (which was the reason I didn’t make it).

My apologies in advance for the rambling, but I just have to get this off my chest.

At this moment, it looks like I’m running against the same girl for the same position, and I hate it! When I see her score, I’m happy for the team, but begin doubting myself at the same moment. She is one of the people that are really good at times when the coach has to select. I’m not. Obviously when she is better, the coach SHOULD pick her, but I think during the season we’re neck to neck. But with her playing so good at the start of the season, I’m starting to question my own abilities, though I’ve shown them last season. In addition, we have a new coach for the second team who is very knowledgeable and whom I like perhaps better than the first team’s coach. My husband actually believes it might be better for my development to play in the reserve team.

This all adds to my feelings of doubt. I really want to play for the first team, because I think I can add something and also, admittedly, as a matter of prestige. But I agree with my husband: I think the second team might be better for me. I just don’t know right now, but I can’t think of much else and a part of me dreads coming Tuesday. I think I’ll just have to wait, try my best and see where it ends.

Healthy sports canteen

Every year, our club hosts an international korfball tournament with over 150 people from the Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain. A great weekend, because the English arrive on Friday, so it’s almost a three day event (there’s a smaller tournament for the first teams on Sunday, and last year we had youth games on Friday evening).  All these people spend at least one day playing match after match. In the sun today, though that has been different some other years.


French Fries

French Fries (Photo credit: fritish)

Playing sports is healthy, we are all aware of that. In a healthy lifestyle, exercise ought to play a part, as ought a balanced diet. But, weirdly enough, those two aren’t always combined. Have you played organized sports? Then you have probably enjoyed a beer and french fries or something similar in your canteen. Many teams enjoy the third half, consisting of alcohol and socializing, more than the game they play. And little children? Sweet drinks and candy. That’s not very healthy, is it? But it’s something that happens everywhere.


Some people (like me) bring their own food. I like to eat grapes on match days, or an apple, and I bring my own sandwiches. Not because I don’t like panini’s or fries (they also have regular sandwiches in our canteen, with today a healthy choice of salmon), but because I think what I eat is healthier. Especially the fruits, cause we don’t sell any fresh fruit, or canned fruit for that matter. And it’s such a shame! When I have my grapes with me, it’s always more than I can eat myself, but I barely ever have anything left. Simply because other like to help me finish it. It’s not that people don’t want healthy food in the canteen, it’s because there is barely anything available. Unhealthy is the easy choice! And that’s not the way it should be.


Some things will probably never change. If we try to ditch the beer, people will riot, definitely. But we could limit the times we sell beer. And for the food and snacks, we can offer healthy alternatives. Place the crisps out of sight and have a fruit basket with apples and bananas, or small boxes with grapes (I’d love that). If you place something in sight, it’s already way more appealing. Have sugar-free chewing gum and add some low-calorie drinks to the assortment. Without a doubt, there will be people who chose the healthy option.


It’s a difficult fight for a healthy sports canteen. You can try asking for certain products if you can’t get them at the moment, or if you don’t have any direct influence on the buying. Another option is to start a petition: ask around whether other people might like a change in assortment as well. And if nothing works? Just bring your own healthy food!


Starting the new season

KannibalenToday was the first day of practice for the new season, with the competition starting in less than a month. Even though we’ve had summer training in the gym, nothing quite prepares you for the first real day of practice… I’m exhausted! The worst we had to do was probably carrying someone hanging on a korfball pole to the edge of the field and back again. Four times, because we had to make it twice (with two different people) within 3 minutes… and that’s tough. I was generally the person hanging on the pole, being carried as though I was captured by some cannibal tribe. Except I had to keep myself up, and that was more difficult than I expected. With the bouncing up and down whilst they were running, my arms and legs hit the pole repeatedly. I can now clearly feel I have a preferred arm and leg, as my right hurts way more than my left.

It feels good though, having done something. You’ve probably experienced that as well, after jogging, playing football or whatever you do. But it also leaves you very tired, hankering for bed… So that’s where I’m going now 😉

The four elements in exercise

Today was my first korfball training of the new season. It felt… painful, but mainly because I had barely done anything over the summer. But it also felt good to finally do something physical, to get tired and take a nice shower afterwards. The joy of physical practice!

Physical practice is a great way to cleanse yourself, combined with a nice shower afterwards. You tread the earth, feel a fire within and get very warm, your breathing (pattern) is essential and you start sweating. All four elements combined. In addition, exercise can clear your head. so you feel more open afterwards.

Any kind of exercise is possible, as long as it raises your heart rate. Try it out sometime!

Find your greatness

The Olympic Games end tonight with the closing ceremony. We’ve seen so many great things, unimaginable for the most of us. Only the absolute best athletes in specific Olympic sports can perform at this highest stage in the world, once every four years. And only the best 5% or so can amaze and win medals. The Paralympics are perhaps more impressive, athletes that are not able-bodied, performing at the highest level possible. Of course they are influenced by their handicap, but they have refused to let it stop them from pursuing their dreams.

I play sports myself and try to go as far as I can. It’s not my ultimate goal however, and not where I think my talent lies. I know from myself that I am always happy and that I can bring a smile to people’s faces, as I’ve noticed during my work on campings, in a store and now in a nursery home. My intention is to inspire people to start moving, to find a sport that suits them. All people are good at something, have bodies or attitudes fit for specific sports. They just don’t know it yet. Perhaps they have bad experiences with sport and decided they’d rather do nothing. Such a shame! There is a sport for everybody!

Perhaps you didn’t like the more established sports of for example basketball or tennis. Then go try out something else, such as cycling, fencing, or archery. Maybe you’ll find you enjoy it and are somehow good at it. And mostly we enjoy things we are good at. You don’t have any money, there are no facilities, but you want to try something anyway? Most cities have a way of financially supporting people wanting to play sport, at least in the Netherlands. Or try running, you don’t need any club for that, just your two feet. Go for a swim and try to cover the same distance in less and less time. You have a disability? Plenty of opportunities for you as well, just look at the Paralympic Games. And remember, what you see there and during the Olympics is only the tip of the iceberg where sport types are concerned and even more where athletes are concerned.

Not many people can make it to the top, but we can be great in our own way. We can find a sport and get better and better, improving and enjoying ourselves. The last woman finishing a marathon, sweating like crazy, a red face, a hand at her waist because it hurts so much but going on anyway, how is that anything less than the man completing the marathon first? We don’t have the same body or background. We are not fit for exactly the same, which is why people specialize in mostly one sport. But in that sport we should try our very best to come as far as possible, to persevere. We can all deliver our own great performances, if we just dare to try.

So.. I dare you