Since last night I have revised my theory that softball is the most shite sport ever invented. Because now I know that truly, netball is.
To set the scene - I had donated my (admittedly crap) services as a ring-in for my friends' team (incidentally called 'Graham' - the best name for a sporting team ever) in order that they should avoid paying the hefty $90 forfeiting fee. I said I would only play if I could be goal keeper, a position I vaguely remembered from my junior high school days as being relatively slack and easy to do.
Everything was going fine until I got to the court. Everything up until that point had been great - getting dressed, having dinner, driving to the gym - it all went off without a hitch. Everything that DIDN'T involve netball was great.
But then the umpire asked me to take off my ring. My pathetic, plain little silver band had to go. Obviously she was onto my devious plan of using it to reflect light into my opponent's eyes and blind them. Damn her.
Then came the fingernail check. Excuse me, but do you have to be a COMPLETE frump to play this game? No jewellery, no nails, what's next? No sense of style?
Oops, spoke too soon - next up I came under fire for daring to wear shorts that were below the knee.
"Do that next week and you'll be penalised a goal, missy," said the other, old man umpire.
What IS this rule about? Why is it actually a rule of the game that you have to wear skirts or shorts above the knee? It can't be so the male spectators have something to look at - there aren't any male spectators.
Anyway after all of this fashion fun, it was time to start the game.
If there's one phrase I never want to hear again, it's "Obstruction, goalkeeper".
Apparently I wasn't all that au fait with the "three feet" rule, which requires you to be EXACTLY THREE FEET from an opponent before you can try to obstruct their shot. Every time I stuck my hand in some girl's face to stop her from shooting a goal I heard "Obstruction, goalkeeper...obstruction, goalkeeper." (Later on I heard "Contact, goalkeeper", but that was different. Apparently you're REALLY not allowed to punch an opponent.)
Ok, does anyone know what three feet is? HELLO, HEARD OF THE METRIC SYSTEM? WELCOME TO AUSTRALIA, WE USE IT HERE. Maybe they should start charging court fees in pounds and shillings too, just to keep it even. Anyway, unfortunately I had left my old-timey feet and inches measuring tape at home, so I kept breaking this ridiculous rule of measurement.
All this while girls ran around shrieking "IF YOU NEED!" and "UP AND IN!" Lord, spare me.
And how's this for another stupid netball rule: on a throw in, one must step UP to the court line, but not ON it. I don't mean OVER, I mean ON. To be precise - if your foot is touching the outer court line when you do a throw in, the ball is given to the other team.
I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT POINT THIS RULE SERVES. And more to the point, I would like to know how a girl with size 11 feet can be reasonably expected to step UP to a line and not ON it during a throw in. It's practically impossible - I'd have to stand about a metre back. Or perhaps three feet.
Speaking of which - how is one supposed to stop someone from shooting a goal by standing three feet away from them and waving their hands in the air? You also can't touch the ball until it leaves their hands, not that you'd get anywhere close to doing that in the first place without go-go-Gadget arms.
All in all, I've decided that netball is the most ridiculous sport in the world.
Not quite so ridiculous, however, as this sign I saw this evening at Coles.
Does YOUR supermarket have such an extensive thong aisle?
Clearly, thongs are a big seller at the Port Adelaide Coles. Hosiery too, by the looks of it. To be honest, I can't believe they even had ONE aisle sign that said 'Thongs', let alone three. Bizarre, but it did make my night.