The Huddle for Pride Month: Sam and Alfie Rudd

As mother and son, Sam and Alfie Rudd can appreciate the value of family, and both are grateful for what the Netball Family has brought to their lives, offering an inclusive environment which has allowed friendships and community to flourish.

Sam is a stalwart of the game at pretty much every level, filling almost any off-court role you could think of: administrator, C Award umpire, Level 2 coach, international technical official and social media guru, to name but a few. The type of local servant who keeps the game thriving.

Having been brought up around netball, Alfie has thrown himself enthusiastically into the game too, as a player for England Trailblazers, an umpire and aspiring coach.

“Netball was something I would always get taken to as a kid,” he says. “I would be taken to watch my sister play and I was always around it. Then I started umpiring as a way to earn some money and I fell in love with it.”

Currently completing a Law degree at the University of Birmingham, Alfie says he has always found netball to be a welcoming space that provides a platform to make social connections.

“No matter what else is going on, there’s always a lot of netball. When I’m back home, I’ll be like, ‘Let’s go to netball’, and you’ll always run in to people.

“Netball is so welcoming. I think that’s what makes it unique. It allows people to express themselves and really feel free in themselves. I’ve never felt any judgement or like I’ve had to shrink away from who I am or not be able to express myself openly.”

Sam’s own relationship with the game began at Worcester Netball Club, where she is currently Chair.

“My father was a professional footballer and so we were brought up in sport,” she says. “I’ve always thrived on having that avenue in my life. My daughter hadn’t got into a theatre group, and we said, ‘What else can she do?’ She was nine years old at the time and really tall, and we said, ‘Let’s go and try netball’.”

Sam quickly became an influential figure at Worcester Netball Club and was asked to become a Team Manager.

“I said, ‘Yeah I can do that’, and it grew from there really. We were fairly new to Worcester and it gave us an avenue to meet people. The club has grown massively since. We formed a committee and created a constitution. It’s not a massive population but we had huge demand – the club was packed to the rafters.”

At Worcester and beyond, Sam has witnessed first-hand how netball draws people together.

“I think there’s a lot of ladies and men who want to find sport and don’t find it because they’re intimidated by the environment. But netball has a really gentle and welcoming community. You arrive on court and all 14 people will say hello. It’s lovely.”

Alfie adds: “Netball offers you a kind of fresh start, it allows people to express themselves really clearly and feel really free in themselves. I never felt any judgment. I never felt like I couldn’t go there and had to shrink away from who I was. No matter how I’ve connected to groups that are related to netball, everyone says how welcoming and open the culture is. They’re embraced by the clubs and by the people that are involved. I think that’s what makes it really unique.”

Alfie says that Pride Month, which runs throughout June, is a fitting time to recognise netball’s inclusivity.

“It’s a time to celebrate. To go on the parade and march, to spread the message and continue what Pride started – to take pride in your sexuality and showcase your authentic self. There’s no reason to hide who you are. So in that way it is similar to netball – nobody is judgmental or harsh.”

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