With local netball starting its season in the coming days many faces will come to the fore on the court.
One of the people to look out for on the sidelines of the Truman Bodden netball courts is Janet Sairsingh.
Sairsingh is an active part of the netball community and recently came to the forefront of local netball as one of the guest speakers at the annual Cayman Islands Netball Association opening parade weeks ago.
Sairsingh has been involved in local netball for nearly three decades in many capacities and went into great detail on how she got her start in the sport.
‘Most of us start out playing a sport as a means of fun and recreation,’ Sairsingh said. ‘I began playing netball at age eight and some of the most important lessons I learned were picked up as a netball team member.
‘In addition to learning how to be part of a team, I learned the importance of working together to accomplish a common goal. I learned to shoulder responsibility – and how to cope with defeat and failure.
‘I ended up playing netball for approximately 20 years as I went through all the phases from child to adolescent to young adult to adult ‘over 21.’
Like most youngsters coming up these days Sairsingh recalls the task of fitting in her commitment for netball around her work schedule.
‘I would dare to say that I experienced it all – the sweat, the toil, the despair, the triumph and the joy of netball. My travels were extensive as I represented Cayman at various Caribbean championships.
‘I had to balance academic work with netball practice while training for the national team – sometimes training twice a day, while working full time and studying for exams.
‘I learned about consistency, how to remain focused, how to concentrate, how to overcome weakness, both emotional and physical and go beyond my own limits. I learned the dynamics of balancing work with ‘play.’
Through it all Sairsingh was able to stay motivated and committed to netball by two of its luminaries in the late Jean Pierre and current association president Lucille Seymour.
‘In most sports men and women have to perform under tremendous pressure, sacrifice the other important areas of their lives and even play with injuries,’ Sairsingh said. ‘In those circumstances, it can be very comforting to have a mentor.
‘In my case I had two in Lucille and the late Jean Pierre. They both taught me that ‘practice makes perfect’ and that ‘no good thing in life comes easily.’ They obviously knew what they were talking about because Lucille achieved her lifelong dream of becoming a legislator and Mrs. Pierre also achieved the same dream as well as becoming the best Goal Shooter the Caribbean.
‘They helped me become a better person and a pretty good Goal Shooter too by insisting that I shoot 200 shots every day (100 every morning and 100 every evening). I can guarantee you that if the young players out there would be dedicated enough to practice even half as hard as I did they will definitely be bound for greatness.’
That intense level of practise for Sairsingh paid off with great versatility and flexibility on the court. As she states she did well in many positions.
‘I played almost every position on the court and won many competitions and awards. These days I am still active as an umpire juggling to fit it into my schedule.’
Ultimately Sairsingh is committed to leaving a legacy in netball that can compliment her mentors.
‘Today I am a former netball player who is committed to giving back to the sport and our association. I have a commitment to the young persons who are just starting their journey in netball.
‘We need to continue to prepare young netballers to learn and grow and us older ones need to stay with them and guide, train and mentor them.
‘I urge other former netballers to also come forward and give something back to the premier sport for women in Cayman.’