2019 has come with its challenges for 14-year-old young gun, Ruby McClements, who earlier this year was involved in a motor vehicle accident which lead to her losing the top of three of her fingers.
Having played netball for six years, this year marks Ruby’s first season with Churchill Football Netball Club (CFNC), where she is coached by Netball Victoria’s Eastern Region Netball Participation Manager, Judi Buhagiar, in two of the club’s teams.
Although the accident initially limited Ruby from physically participating in trainings and games, this hasn’t stopped the “go-getter” from being actively involved with the team, Judi explained.
“I received a call from Ruby’s mum letting me know they were at the Royal Children’s Hospital and that Ruby wanted to make sure I knew she couldn’t play over the weekend. This shouldn’t have been a priority, but it was, which was really heartening.”
Since the accident, Ruby has attended every training session and every game across the two teams she is involved with at CFNC.
“At the trainings I help the coaches out with drills and handing out positions for half court and then at games I support my team and help the coaches manage the bench,” Ruby said.
On game days Ruby would be “keeping time, getting the girls warmed up and really taking in all the on-court advice we were giving her, which has really improved her game,” Judi said.
Ruby’s love for netball and the team environment that comes with it, has really helped her overcome the injury as well as improve her skills in netball on and off the court.
“I love playing, and I love my team. I really wanted to involve myself as much as I could while I was off court, as there is so much I can still be learning,” Ruby said.
Known for her leadership within the group, Ruby sometimes found it “hard to watch the games, as I just wanted to get out there and help. But I guess I still wanted to go and be there to support my team.”
Although Ruby is on restricted quarters with the games that she plays, she is now back on court.
“It was so emotional when she went out onto the court for the first time. The girls rallied around her and Ruby and her parents looked me in the eye, and I thought, yep you’re ready to go,” Judi said.
With a successful first game back, Ruby took three intercepts, as well as forcing many errors for the opposition.
“She got out there and absolutely smashed it. It gives me goose bumps thinking about it, and when people ask me why I coach, this is exactly why.”
Ruby’s positive attitude along with the support of her team and coach, has meant that she has turned the accident into something that has helped her grow as a netballer and a person.
“I continued to be involved and keep going with netball because I love being a part of a team, and I could recognise the opportunity to learn from my coach Judi.”