Big things have small beginnings — growing Israel Netball together

I have many passions and am known as a true lover of all things inspirational. As a personal development strategist and professional life coach, I work with people every day, helping empower them to create a life of pleasure, success and purpose. I have studied and experienced the benefits and blessings of having more meaning and joy in one’s life and I am reminded daily that service, contribution and giving pave the pathway to greater happiness and fulfillment. I also know that big things have small beginnings.

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In addition to Psychology and Coaching, Israel and Sport are both core values that form part of my own identity. I fulfilled my Zionist dream at age 19 and am blessed to have my three gorgeous children all born in Israel. This is a privilege I am grateful for every day and something I don’t take for granted. I am aware it was denied to many before me and I feel very fortunate to raise my family and build my home and future here.

From a young age, sport has played a central and vital role in my childhood, teen years and adult life. An indelible part of South African Sporting culture, I grew up on Netball. Like my peers in other Commonwealth Countries, it was a given. No school was without several netball courts and no garden without a shooting post. Some of my best sporting memories and achievements happened with the WA or GD bib proudly wrapped around me. One of the ultimate highlights of my own Aliya was proudly representing Israel in England at an International Competition. Sadly, a severe shoulder injury has prevented me from playing Netball today but this incredible sport has been a part of my life since I was 6-years-old. And today, my daughter is a proud new member of Israel netball too. Big things have small beginnings.

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Netball is a ball sport played by two teams of seven players. Its development, derived from early versions of basketball, began in England in the 1890s. By 1960, international playing rules had been standardized for the game, and the International Federation of Netball and Women’s Basketball (later renamed the International Netball Federation (INF)) was formed. As of 2011, the INF comprises more than 60 national teams organized into five global regions. According to the INF, netball is played by more than 20 million people in more than 80 countries. Major domestic leagues in the sport include the Netball Superleague in Great Britain, Suncorp Super Netball in Australia and the ANZ Premiership in New Zealand. Three major competitions take place internationally: the quadrennial World Netball Championships, the Commonwealth Games, and the yearly World Netball Series. In 1995, netball became an International Olympic Committee recognized sport, but it has not been played at the Olympics (Wikipedia)

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Israel Netball began some 20 years ago and has grown into a respected and much-loved sport in Raanana, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Maaleh Adumim, the Gush and Kfar Hayarok. An active league with weekly matches and training sessions has created a bustling and energetic haven for hundreds of women and girls. I have had the joy and honour of playing Netball for Israel for many years, managing the senior team in the Maccabiah, coordinating the Maccabiah competition in 2013 and fundraising behind the scenes to ensure this wonderful sport continues to bring so much delight to so many women and girls across the country and continues to shine a light on Israel and women’s sport in international events on the global map. Big things start small and grow with love.

The natural and palpable stress of making aliyah and leaving behind so much has been eased and alleviated significantly for hundreds of new Olim, just by knowing that there is one part of their rich sporting “home” culture that they don’t have to forfeit or sacrifice as they make this giant brave new leap to Eretz Yisrael. For so many, this is a massive relief.

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Netball has been a fantastic and accessible way to integrate new and old Olim, a platform to make new friends and develop new hobbies and interests, a way to stay fit and healthy amid plenty of life’s hectic fast-paced pressures and a chance for women to compete and be a part of something very special together. Many girls have mentioned on several occasions that Israel Netball made the difference to their Aliya experience. Big things flourish because they are looked after and nurtured. Because someone cared.

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Although netball is still a relatively young sport in Israel, the committed players of the Israel Netball teams are participating in several major events this year. In May 2017, Scotland will be hosting the Netball Europe Open, an international tournament featuring Europe’s leading netball teams as well as teams from nations where netball is considered a developing sport. And so we start to blossom.

The four-yearly Maccabi Games, the third largest sporting event in the world, is being held in Israel this summer. Junior and senior teams from the UK, Australia and South Africa have been our opponents at the event’s netball tournament since 1997 and this year we are delighted to be welcoming a senior team from Hong Kong! We have high hopes that we will be able to repeat our 2013 successes when the senior team won the silver medal and the juniors won bronze.

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Participating in the Maccabiah is indescribable. As the third largest international sporting event worldwide, the stadium is electric as tens of thousands of Jewish Athletes from over 80 countries unite proudly as one people to share this unparalleled experience. It is one of Jewish Pride, solidarity, a love for Israel and Sport and an event like no other celebrating our values, our common history and ties, a bond that is unbreakable, good sportsmanship and camaraderie. Needless to add, marching through Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, draped in a shining Israeli flag, is a memory I personally will cherish eternally.

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Being part of something larger than oneself requires a deep dedication, commitment and above all, unwavering loyal and generous support. We can’t achieve big dreams alone. We can’t prepare without help and we can’t represent Israel by ourselves. To bring out and showcase the best Israel can offer in this magnificent arena, we need your partnership. Big things may have small beginnings, but with lots of love, they expand and bloom.

Israel Netball does not receive any financial support from the government or any sporting organizations so our athletes are solely responsible for all their expenses at home and abroad.

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As part of our current fundraising efforts, we have created this online campaign and we want to team up with you!

For more than two decades we have been developing this wonderful sport right here in Israel, overcoming many tough challenges along the way. Please help us achieve our next targets both on and off the court so that we can continue to grow, achieve and be valuable, proud ambassadors for Israel. Every amount makes a difference.

Donate and support us!

https://makeachamp.com/israelnetball

To learn more about Israel Netball, how you can play, be involved, watch games and join the awesome Israel Netball revolution, check out: Israel Netball Official Website

Thank you for sharing in our mission and helping make plenty more dreams come true! Big things have small beginnings, but once a seed is planted, with the right conditions and care, we can grow it into something remarkable together.

About the Author
Andi Saitowitz was born in South Africa and fulfilled her Zionist dream of living in Israel since 1999 following a Bnei Akiva year's leadership program in Israel after matriculation. Described by her clients, associates, friends & family as a Transformational Leader, Inspiration Queen and Lover-of-Life, Andi Saitowitz is a certified Personal Development Life Coach & Motivational Speaker graduating from the esteemed Adler Institute, a member of the International Coaching Federation and a Global Lumina Practitioner. With a professional background in Psychology, Organizational Communication, Research and Practice and years experience in Non-Profit Donor Relations and International Fundraising Campaigns, Andi is passionate about and committed to helping people bring out their absolute best. She firmly believes that when we discover and offer our gifts to the world, we become far more aware and appreciative of the amazing opportunities around us, and conscious of our power, our choices and life experiences. Andi is married to her best friend, and is a blessed mom of 3 awesome children. In her spare time she loves playing sports, reading, volunteering and is co-founder of the latest meaningful gifts online charity portal www.mgifts.org. Andi runs a private coaching practice and offers comprehensive professional coaching services to individuals, couples, teams and organizations, bringing a magnificent mix of Positive and Adlerian Psychology, NLP, Mindfulness and High Performance Training to everyone she coaches, mentors and inspires.
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