Image Credit: IMAGE: LUKE SNELL
In keeping with the spirit of York’s This Girl Can Campaign, Maisie Clarke, University of York Netball Club Captain, gives us an insight into what it’s like being part of one of the only female-only sports clubs at the University.
How important is sport and physical activity to you?
Physical activity is an incredibly important aspect of my life, not only is it something I enjoy, but I’m a firm believer in the physical, psychological and social benefits of participating in sport, particularly team sport.
As a relatively small club, do you think UYNC’s atmosphere is different to other university clubs?
Yes, I think the atmosphere is different in that being such a small club everyone is more intimately familiar with each other, which in my experience is a positive thing as it facilitates close friendships across the club and allows us to bond not only as teams but as a whole squad.
Why would you say that not just Netball, but sport in general is a great thing to be involved with at university?
Participating and respecting your sport at university is one of the most beneficial opportunities you can seize whilst studying for your degree. Whether at college or university level, the skills you can learn from sports at university extend beyond the social; sport allows you to explore leadership, communication, teamwork, as well as testing your commitment and dedication. I think all of these are not just employable skills, but great life skills too.
What’s your favourite thing about being part of UYNC?
This sounds unbelievably cringe and cliche, but the friends I’ve made. My closest friends at university are the girls I’ve met through playing netball.
**What makes UYNC stand out in comparison to other university clubs? **
I think we stand out primarily as being one of the only female-only sports clubs on campus; having this label comes with its challenges but also its benefits and I hope that by playing a sport only played by females we can encourage other girls to get involved with team sports.
**How do you think your time at York would be different if you weren’t part of the Netball Club? **
Being part of a club means you have a ready-made support network of friends and the close bonds you make within your team is definitely the most rewarding aspect: life at university would be very dull if I didn’t have the chance to play sport competitively, and alongside the close friends I have made within the club.
What would you say is the best part about competing as part of a team?
Being part of a sports club isn’t just about playing and keeping active; the best part is getting to do what you love alongside other girls that share your enthusiasm and passion. You win as a team, you lose as a team, but whatever happens, you are always a team - this team spirit drives you to be determined and motivate others to do the same, which is what makes playing as a team so rewarding.
Do you think universities provide enough support/attention to all female clubs/student athletes?
At York we’re lucky in that the Sport Union put in a lot of effort to promote the different sports clubs across the university and give recognition to those achieving great things. As a small club however, a lot of support for the Netball Club comes from the girls within - week in week out girls from across the three teams come to home matches to support and cheer each other on from the sidelines which shows great team spirit.
Having won the Roses last year we hope that as we continue to grow as a club and build on our successes, more people will want to support us.
If you ever find yourself with some free time on a Wednesday afternoon, be sure to come down to the Sports Arena to catch one of our teams playing - your support would be massively appreciated.
As a female in sport, do you think female sports/clubs receive enough praise/attention for all that they do?
More recently there has definitely been a conscious effort from sponsors and clubs to promote girls in sport and encourage a greater degree of participation, but of course more could be done. Initiatives such as the This Girl Can Campaign are great ways to advertise female participation and achievement in sport, as well as encourage a new wave of females to be bold and take up physical activity. What is important is that we continue to build on the effort and work that has already been done and ensure it is ongoing.
How do you think coverage of female sport could be increased/improved?
Televised events such as Super League and The World Cup definitely raise awareness of female sport played at top level, and have attracted a broader base of fans, especially after England’s Commonwealth Games victory in 2018. Although the progress is on-going, there has been a marked increase in the number of females that have been inspired to take up netball in recent years and to build on this, the more of us that are involved in helping to promote females into sport, the better.
Catch Maisie Clarke and Nouse Sport's own Lucy Wilde in action for the University of York Netball club's 1s as they take on Hull women's 1s tomorrow in the YSC arena at 5pm.