My journey at BHFNC
By Darcy Smith
In the year 2000 I came to the club when I was 5 years old after my family moved from Geelong down to Barwon Heads. My dad Wayne Smith, was appointed senior coach and still managed to play until the ripe age of 41. Mum volunteered in the canteen before taking on the role of manager. Thursday night dinners and early morning canteen duty on a Saturday preparing salad rolls became a ritual. The Miles, Michell’s, Polley’s, Andrews, my brother and I all grew up together at the club and made some great memories.
When we weren’t watching the Football/Netball, getting up to mischief was one of our best past time. A favourite memory would have to be one of the countless times we used to trek through the caravan park and the Bluff with Barwon Coast’s furniture we took out of their dumpster. The ranger finally caught us in action and we all bolted for our life. We would head down by the Bay at Portarlington, up the cliff at Anglesea, or just by the river at Howard Harmer, waiting for the tide to come in so we could dodge enormous waves. We never got swept out to sea but we certainly gave our parents a few grey hairs.
I began my Netball career with Netta and at the age of 8 I started playing u/11s. I went through all my juniors as a goaler and was very fortunate to have some amazing coaches such as Simone Wallace, Demi Miles, Kate Brasier, Sam Chapman and Goughy who I learnt so much from.
Come seniors I was at the other end of the court in defence, guided by club legend Bec Whitehead – and absolutely loved it. Unfortunately the first year I would have played finals for this great club is the year I ruptured my Achilles. With a year on the sidelines I was devastated but the support I received from everyone was unbelievable and definitely made the process a lot easier.
If I didn’t know it before, it just proved to me what incredible people are involved at BHFNC, and when someone is down everyone bands together to lift them back up. While injured I occupied my time by joining the committee and coaching juniors. I was lucky enough to learn from the likes of Jennah Weir and Kate Branchy! Whether coaching solo or with someone, it was so rewarding watching the girls improve each week and seeing all their hard work paying off.
The Netball side of things has come along way. From pleat skirts to the A -Line dresses and the good old asphalt courts where we lost a lot of skin and blood. Countless people have contributed hugely to our Netball club over the years, but in the last few it has changed the most. The club wouldn’t be where it is today without people like Sally Mitchell, Ange Hawdon, Kylie Rawson and many more, thanks to them we have amazing new facilities and equipment. They worked tirelessly for years so we could reach our full potential.
Three years ago the club appointed Olivia and Sharon Wilson as Head Coaches, their knowledge of the game is second to none and we are so privileged to be learning from the best. The club has come along way since they arrived and our senior teams are so close to the ultimate success. I still remember as a little kid each game we would play Drysdale I loved watching Liv play and can’t believe we are lucky enough to now have her in the blue and blue.
Many people have come and gone over the years but the culture has always remained the same. The club has become like a home, the people have become family, and I have made friendships I know will last a lifetime.
BHFNC is a fantastic club filled with even better people and I’m proud to say I can be apart of it. It has and will always be a massive part of my life.
Here’s to a successful 2018 to all Gulls.