Wollert’s Nawal had never played softball before – but by the time she finished a City of Whittlesea come-and-try session, she was asking to sign up.
Dad Asim took his 12-year-old daughter to the free This Girl Can Week event, hosted by the Cheetahs Softball Club in Mill Park, in the hopes of boosting her confidence - with great results.
“She’s a very shy person and I wanted to draw her out and be confident and get involved with team sport, because I know that will really benefit her with her confidence,” Asim said.
“She did really well. She didn’t know how to hold a bat or throw a ball but as time went by, she processed all that information – she got better by the minute, really.”
Cheetahs' president Kerry Laird ran the session with her husband Allan and fellow club member Tina Wallis, and said Nawal had natural talent.
“This was the first time she tried softball and I have to be honest with you, she just did so well,” Kerry said.
“We did some batting off the tee first, as we would normally do for newbies, to show them the stance.
“She did really well and we progressed to some throwing and catching. We showed her how to stand and throw the ball and hold the glove. She picked it up so quickly. It was actually a really fun session.”
Asim said he appreciated that the club was culturally inclusive, explaining to him that players were welcome to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.
“I was very grateful that they were upfront with what the uniform will be, because eventually it will be a consideration,” Asim said.
“Having a sport that already wears long sleeves – it’s one less thing to think about.”
He discovered the come-and-try session through Nawal’s school newsletter, and said she would also give cricket and soccer a go before choosing a sport to take up.
“She said she really enjoyed it and she was smiling when she came home,” he said of her softball experience.
“She said ‘I think I want to enrol with softball’ – I said ‘let's try out the other two activities we’ve got on the weekend and then make a decision’.
"I’m really grateful the school published (the information) just because it is hard, especially for girls.”