The juggle of motherhood and netball can be both hugely rewarding and overwhelming at the same time. On Mother’s Day we pay tribute to our Magic Mothers – role models for our netball community all wanting to be an example for their kids as they continue to pave the way through netball with their number one fans watching courtside.
AMELIARANNE EKENASIO – Mum of Ocean (four) and Luna (six months)
When Ameliaranne Ekenasio announced she would be moving to the Splice Construction Magic netball team for the 2022 ANZ Premiership she wasn’t just coming by herself. She was bringing her whole family to the proud netball region including son Ocean and baby Luna supported by her husband Damien.
With the awhi of the Magic whānau Ekenasio is completing a return to play protocol after having Luna in October 2021. She’s the first to admit it’s a big challenge as a mum of two returning to elite netball with big ambitions.
“I thought I’ve done it before with our son surely it would be all good to do it again. Nothing prepared me for two kids but we have the most incredible support network.”
Quick to pay tribute to the support she has received from the Magic netball community Ameliaranne says that Luna has so many netball aunties – admitting the number is growing every week as more players turn out for the Magic.
Luna is a regular at the Magic training sessions which for Ameliaranne is a relief that she doesn’t have to park her mum life at the door.
“We have so many mums in the team. There’s an understanding of what it takes and how you know that sometimes with kids you’ve got to roll with the punches. Sometimes that vision you had in your head doesn’t quite work out!”
It’s this perspective that motherhood has given Ekenasio as well a strong desire to show her children that we can do hard things.
“My son is four – I want him to see that you can do things that are really hard, when you really want to do it.”
For Ameliaranne losing her own mother nearly seven years ago, she always thinks of the wonderful qualities that she had.
“I think about passing the qualities on that she taught me as my mum. It fills my heart with warmth.”
ARIANA CABLE-DIXON – Mum of Dylan (15 months)
Two years after taking the court for the Magic, Ariana Cable-Dixon has been back playing for her home club after becoming a Mum to her daughter Dylan.
A replacement player in the Covid effected season Ariana admits that there’s a greater level of planning required for her weeks making sure Dylan is looked after while she’s with the Magic.
“I’ve really had to lean on my family for support to help with Dylan – particularly my mum and my partner. You really need to create a support system to make it work.”
After being away from the court Ariana says it’s really nice to have something for herself in the whirlwind at times that is motherhood.
“Once I leave netball trainings or games though I love going back to something even better – Dylan.”
As a mum, Ariana admits she’s had an increased level of appreciation for her own mum and will look forward to celebrating her this Mother’s Day.
“I’ve seen how much she’s helped me throughout my life, now as a mum myself, and how great she is with Dylan. I’d be lost without her.”
HELENA HOULT – Mum of Rylee (18), Chloe (16) and Denva (13)
An inclusive motherhood environment at the Magic doesn’t just extend to the players, but to management as well. Technical coach and proud mum of three, Helena Hoult says netball has always been a constant in her life and her kids are stoked to see their mum her coaching role.
“Part of who we are as The Magic is whānau. There are so many mums in this team, we just get on with it,” says the former netballer player turned coach.
“Having kids around at training whether it’s our strength and conditioning coach, Aidan’s children or baby Luna, it’s just what we do here at Magic.”
The role of the coach is not just about trainings and game days, there is lots off the court work that Helena needs to be across, so she’s quick to acknowledge her husband’s support with her workload.
“We’re a team and you need a team at home for it all to work. Everyone steps up.”
For Mother’s Day, Helena wants to celebrate all the players who are mums in the team. As well as her own mum.
“My mum is close to my heart. She was the one who drove me to all my netball games for years.”
Happy Mother’s Day