Sports have a great effect on people, the way it preaches teamwork and camaraderie. Some life lessons are learned through playing – by winning and losing; by playing hard and giving your best. Games can be exhilarating and agonizing at the same time, but whatever the outcome, it fosters a sense of togetherness and belongingness among peers that only sports can provide.

Netball, for one, is a great tool for building social connections. As a sport, which doesn’t try to separate player types, games can be played by everyone in the community. Instead of putting up a divide by playing age and gender brackets, venues such as the Ascot Vale in Melbourne hold mixed tournaments that are open to people regardless of maturity.

Involving everyone can develop stronger ties within the community – start new friendships, support teammates and foes alike, and even possibly develop deeper connections. The Essendon Social Club is one of the more seasoned teams in the netball scene that gives a greater degree of emphasis on the fun part of the sport, instead of the actual competition itself.

Though this may be too relaxed for other people wanting the adrenaline rush of competing against top-notch players, it still has its advantages and specific objectives that are also important, especially in the context of community. Social netball provides an avenue to get some exercise in and prevent a sedentary lifestyle that most adults fall into due to their hectic schedules and demanding workloads.

Instead of socializing at places that will only pack in the calories and the alcohol, why not take friends to a more wholesome and beneficial activity such as sports? The relaxing atmosphere is good for the health and the mind – quite a huge contrast from noisy bars where you need to shout your lungs out when talking to friends because of the loud speakers. In netball, the only shouting you’ll be doing is when calling out offensive sets or assignments on defence.

The real value of getting involved in netball is the contribution to a positive effect in the community. It promotes a certain form of cohesiveness that may not be apparent in other places that lack such activities. In social netball, networks are established, people are liberated from binding office work, and neighbours are getting together more often.

Participation is a very convincing tool to develop the love and pride accorded to the community. And it would definitely be wise to put sports at the heart of your efforts in bringing people together.

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