A couple of years ago Edinburgh Mavericks were on the verge. After a bright first couple of years a number of members had moved away from the capital or had retired from korfball. There were a few brave souls trying to keep the flame alive but needing to borrow players or rope in spouses, partners and random flatmates to meet league requirements was taking its toll. No one would’ve blamed them for folding and heading to the relative security of the more established Edinburgh City. For whatever reason they didn’t and things started to get better.
A few players from Edinburgh University graduated and decided to stay in the city. A couple more arrived to study at different institutions but decided to get back playing after a couple of years away from the sport. The ranks swelled somewhat and for the first time in a long time we didn’t have to worry about scraping eight players together. Now we had a team we could look at what it meant to build a club.
Number one was making Mavs an exciting prospect for potential signings. Instead of a once in a while type thing we vowed to host at least one social a month and to really push the boat out when we did (sometimes with disastrous consequences for my sink). We purchased new kit and gave our players the chance to buy their own Mavs merchandise – people were proud to be part of the club and we wanted them to be able to show it. Most importantly we went from training at the weekends on an ad-hoc basis to a weekly slot on Thursday nights. It’s a simple thing but it does help to interact with your teammates!
When I coach I often like to talk about momentum. A vital and mysterious force on court, it’s also vital when recruiting players. With enthusiasm building amongst those already part of Mavs we found more and more people wanting to join up and soon we went from struggling to field one team to having two in the league.
Mavs 2 made their league debut last year and to the surprise of many ended up winning both the League B title and promotion to the top flight. On Thursday 20th December we will play the first ever Mavs derby in the SKA top flight. Of course Mavs 1 didn’t do so badly either. From fifth place the season before, they went on to win the SKA League title losing only twice all season. A combined Mavs team then won the Scottish Cup to complete the treble and this season Mavericks are heading to their first ever IKF Europa Cup.
Picking only fourteen players to make up our squad was the most difficult decision I’ve ever been a part of in korfball but I had to remind myself having twenty or so experienced players to pick from is truly a privilege. It’s certainly better than having to ask my creepy neighbour, Jen’s imaginary flatmate or Ian’s dog to travel to Belgium to fill in.
Everyone at the club is truly excited about this next chapter but we have to remember that’s what it is, a chapter. We want to use our participation at the Europa Cup to grow the club and sport we love and to spread the word about Scottish Korfball and everything going on here and around the country.
This is our story and it has only just begun.
Written by Steve Lawrence.