Nat Medhurst sets new goals, faces more hurdles but refuses to give up.
By Maddison Jeffery
Nat Medhurst started 2017 as a permanent fixture of the Australia Netball Diamonds, six months later she was dropped and searching for answers. She had her share of obstacles to battle during that time, the pressure of being an elite athlete while going through separation from her husband the greatest hurdle of all.
Medhurst’s most raw and revealing moment came when she wrote the blog post ‘unattainable goals’. A detailed account of the moment a phone call ended her decade long stint with the Diamonds.
“They (my husband and netball) were two of the constants in my life and suddenly they were gone,” Medhurst said, who took time off in July to get away and “gain perspective”.
Looking back, Medhurst felt her blog post wouldn’t gain much attention and was just an opportunity for an outlet.
“I didn’t really have any expectations about how many people would read it, or where it would go,” she said.
The post sent Commonwealth Games Australia’s social media and website into meltdown. It reached over 300,000 people on Facebook alone and initiated hundreds of comments of support.
“A perfect role model and true champion of the game” one person wrote, backed up by another “Now that’s a champion”.
The week following, Medhurst said she was blown away by the number of people who contacted her.
“It was crazy the number of messages and emails that I got and of course comments on social media from people in the general public. But more so from my peers and not just from netball, but all sports,” she said.
The shared reaction Medhurst said she received from her peers was “Oh my god, that’s exactly how I feel”. Feedback she had not expected.
“It helped a lot having that support” she said, “and just realising there are so many athletes that go through so many different things.”
During the off season Medhurst took a break and spent time with family and friends. She returned home and with the club’s permission, her training intensified.
The 33-year-old said her passion hasn’t faded so when she got the call up to join the Fast5 world series squad, she was ecstatic.
“I was boxing flat out, doing double sessions in the morning and afternoon,” she said
Club training returned at the beginning of September, but Medhurst struggled to get involved and was sent off for scans with a continual sore right hand.
“I just thought my hand was sore from boxing,” she said, “I started training but my throwing, catching and shooting were all a bit off”.
Scans proved the worst, “I broke my hand boxing,” she said.
Subsequently, Medhurst was ruled out of this weekend’s Fast5 Series in Melbourne to recover. Her eagerness to make a statement for the Australian team was quashed.
“With Fast5 there was that element of ‘if I play and I play well, you never know’ in terms of Diamonds,” she said, “it may give me a slight chance of getting back into the squad”.
Laughing at her misfortune, Medhurst referred to her chances of a Diamonds reinstatement as “down the gurgler”.
Not all is lost for Medhurst.
She made it clear her goal is to get back on top of her game and anticipates she will start the season strong in her role as Captain at West Coast Fever.
Though much of Medhurst’s life has shifted the work ethic, passion and resilience that solidified her position on the Australian team for a decade remains.
“Life changed a fair bit I’ve got to try get my head around everything, sometimes I feel like you don’t really get much of a choice,” she said.
“You show up, you leave your issues at the door and you go about your business”.