The fact that she will soon be leaving for England to take part in their netball super league has not completely sunk in for Charmaine Baard.
Charmaine, goal shooter for Maties and for the South African team that took part in the Fast 5 netball tournament in Australia in October last year, has signed a contract with the Surrey Storm team.
“I feel so blessed. It's an unbelievable opportunity," she said last week when she was on campus to attend a week-long course for her honours degree in language education.
This former Brackenfell High School learner will receive her teaching degree in March.
She could not graduate at the end of last year because she missed her final exam papers as a result of her netball duties in Australia. She had to make use of the second exam opportunity and she received the invitation to join Surrey Storm as she walked out of her last exam on 24 November.
This invitation gives her a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that all the hard work and sacrifices have paid off.
Charmaine, who wanted to improve her goal-shooting skills in 2017, believes all the Maties netball players benefit from the coaching and resources offered by Maties' high-performance unit.
“Talent means nothing if you don't work hard," says Charmaine. “But there are so many opportunities if you are prepared to work hard and persevere."
It is not easy to study and participate in your sport at a high level.
“You have to say no to certain things. It is important that each person find their own balance, and when they find it they shouldn't let it go. What works for one person does not necessarily work for someone else."
Charmaine will head straight to campus on the day that she arrives back in South Africa in July to start her next week of honours classes. As a registered postgraduate student she also qualifies to represent Maties in the Varsity Netball tournament again if she is selected.