From a Bee-ginner to St George’s Park…

Darrell Turner, Soldier Bees recounts his experience at his first British Dodgeball National League meet…

Placing my foot on the court line, I looked left and right at my team. All of us ready to go. The referee is ready to start. Just in that moment, it all goes silent. I finally achieved it, I am wearing the kit and representing my team. I look up at the other team. Now it is time show what I can do. The whistle goes and the National league begins.

Dodgeball has always been a sport I have enjoyed and joining Manchester Bees has allowed me to be able to be part of a community and develop as a player. When I first started playing, I never thought I would ever get the chance to wear the kit and represent the team. Over lockdown, when sports were allowed to be played, I took every chance I could get to improve and get better, playing in opens and even trying Foam, (which I would recommend as the play style is different, but the skills are transferrable.) When the new season started, I was nervous. Had I developed enough over the year to show that I am enough to represent Manchester Bees nationally? When the teams were drawn, I was so ecstatic. My name. Representing Solider Bees. Now the real excitement had begun.  The days leading up to the first meet, I began to get nervous, the club would talk about the teams and who will compete, but every day we were reminded of our skills and the pride we have that outshines any result or score we get. A real sense of sportsmanship comes with Manchester Bees.

The day comes when we go to the first meet. St. George’s Park has a real sense of electricity about the place. Walking past the outside of where the matches are being hosted. I figured there would only be a few teams there. Like a small open event. But when that entrance door opens, and you can hear the cheers and calls. It is almost like a stadium. Walking inside and seeing tons of teams around the building. Matches are being played, spectators everywhere cheering on from the side. Words cannot really sum up the feeling of being part of such an event. To walk in wearing the ‘Bees Logo’ knowing that I was representing my team. Pride envelops you and to be stood in a renowned location, really tops it off. If anyone could get the chance to represent your team and to listen to the cheers and people around. I can only recommend it. To warm up and play on the courts was a brilliant moment. Standing on the court to warm up, it felt unreal. A person like me, about to play in a huge league. We huddle together for the first time. Whatever happens today. To get this far was an achievement and to give it our all. To stand on the court line for the first time, to play my very first national league. I loved every moment of it. 

For my first league meet, I was so proud of myself and the experience to see all levels of players from across the nation. Men and women playing Dodgeball. I learnt a lot about where I can improve but also where I could be. Maybe Super League one day who knows. But as a first meet, league really makes everyone, regardless of ability or background come together, play and have fun.

Darrell Turner

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