It has a million adherents in Australia every weekend for the very good reason that it is a wonderful game to play.
It teaches teamwork, selflessness and good sportswomanship.
It is a healthy pursuit which doesn’t involve rattling your own or your opponents’ brains like so many male sports.
It has absolutely no record of its elite players engaging in atrocities on Saturday nights.
The Diamonds are now officially one of the four most beloved teams in the country, for the very good reason that they have captured the imagination of the public, who adore the way they carry themselves.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the sport as it is, so why on earth would you change a single rule about it, when you risk messing with the central guiding spirit of the whole thing?
It is like anyone’s damn hide to make comment on a sport they simply don’t understand, particularly if they themselves leave furrows at the beach and it is well known their brains have been rattled on many occasions.
I mean how dare they? What would they know? Who do they think they are? Would netballers dare make comment on their brain-dead sport and suggest rule-changes for them? Huh? Huh? HUH?
(Ten metres of unprotected minefield lie ahead. The writer braces himself, holds his breath and makes ready for the final dash. Death or glory.)
However-is-it-possible – just-possible-I-say! – after-all-the-extraordinary-laser-like-passing-to-get-the-ball-up-the-court-against-the-derring-do-and-blocking-actions-of-the-defenders-that-the-final-act-of-scoring-is-not-quite-the-equal-of-the-rest-of-the-sporting-spectacle-that-sees-the-ball-get-into-the-goal-square?
I mean, whereas most other team sports turn on the sheer drama and excitement of the scoring act – “Try! Try! TRY!” “GOOOOOOOOAL! – the final act in netball sees one superbly athletic defender waving her arms in front of another superb athlete who shoots and very rarely misses?
And yes, I know there is a lot more to it than that. But we are not talking about you and me, babe, as we are netball nutters. We adore the sport and can’t get enough of that final scoring act, because we appreciate all the aforementioned nuances.
No, we are talking about all those morons who would sooner watch the grass grow than netball being played, even at its highest level. And here we are acknowledging the truth of the matter – that for those morons, the final scoring act is a bit on the … tepid side of things.
Which brings me to my point.
Morons are people, too. And they make the turnstiles swing, and the TV ratings click upwards. Where would most sports be without having the support of morons? I tell you what, the football codes would be completely lost without them, particularly rugby union!
And so my friends, I say unto you.
Can it be any bad thing, for netball to make a move to please morons too?
And with that in mind, can’t we say that the just-announced rule changes for netball – their own answer to basketball’s three-pointers, whereby for the final five minutes of each half you can get two-points per goal if shot from a sufficient distance – is, you know, just possibly a good thing?
No, it is not great for us purists. Because we know that the game is fantastic as is. But couldn’t we netball purists in this instance do what we have always done so well and take one for the team?
Doesn’t such a rule change steer netball to the more dramatic scoring shot, which will see more morons attending, more morons watching, and generally greater interest in netball, which will ultimately benefit us purists?
My netballer nutter friends, I repeat. For too long our great game has turned our back on morons. By catering to them and their absurd needs, we not only look after simpletons, we make our great game even greater!
I will be in my trailer. Please send the surgeons my way. I believe I may have lost a leg.
Peter FitzSimons is a journalist and columnist with The Sydney Morning Herald.