There’s no trophy or medal to polish as a reminder of Laura Scherian’s career Netball highlight.
Sure, the two premierships with the Sunshine Coast Lightning, her four Tests for the Diamonds or even that bizarre phone call from Noeline Taurua to end her six-year gap year from the National League were unforgettable peaks in a praiseworthy journey.
On the eve of her 100th National League game, on Sunday against the Adelaide Thunderbirds, Scherian reflected on a glowing memory that had little to do with any scoreboard or trophy cabinet.
It passed in a flash, a mere moment between Scherian and former teammate Maddy McAuliffe at Adelaide’s Priceline Stadium in 2018.
“We both got intercepts that each of us had been working hard on. It was just a moment but it stuck in the mind,” Scherian said.
“It really is about the journey, and the longer you play it’s those little moments that you cherish.
“Grand finals are the icing on the cake.”
It matters little how you frame it. “Shez’s” story is one of belief, persistence, trust, determination, discipline and toil.
And she is grateful for every minute. Even the six years between her cameo appearance for the Firebirds in 2010 and her installation as a foundation player for Lightning.
Year after year the midcourter would tap recruiters on the shoulder, send highlight videos and email all the trans-Tasman league clubs asking for a chance.
No one at the time could foresee what seems obvious now, that Scherian was a pocket rocket who could untangle the most cluttered spaces and deliver a laser-accurate feed, slap, into the hands of a shooter.
So she just kept striving in the State League and Australian Netball League, chipping away at her Bachelor of Health Science degree and working at a health food store.
Somehow there was even time to devote the equivalent hours to training as that of her national league peers, just in case an opportunity came.
“There was this feeling I had unfinished business,” the 33-year-old said.
“I was very aware that a lot of people have done the same thing as me all their careers and not got the opportunities I did.
“Netball’s played by so many girls and there’s only so many positions. I’ve been lucky and I’m grateful for what I have.”
That pink dress
Yellow, navy and purple was not Scherian’s first love.
She cringes now at the thought of that pink and black dress worn by the AIS Canberra Darters in the old Commonwealth Bank Trophy.
Scherian made her first National League imprint as a 19-year-old playing alongside Laura Geitz and Sharni Norder (then-Layton) at the AIS.
She remembers her debut against Firebird Keirra Massoud (nee Trompf) and that wins were hard to come by for that young team.
“That pink dress, it was so bad,” she joked. “I loved those years.
“It was training every day and exposed us to strength and conditioning.
“It’s where you learn whether that’s something you want to do, the commitment you want to make.
“That’s when I knew.”
“I’m in, but who is this?”
Those six years in the wilderness were not a complete waste.
Established coaches overlooked her but with every year of improvement Scherian unknowingly crept closer to fulfilment.
The break also exposed her to Kylee Byrne, then a former Firebird and rising coach who crossed paths with Scherian at the Fusion, Queensland’s second-tier team.
It must have helped when Byrne was appointed as Taurua’s Assistant Coach ahead of Lightning’s debut season in 2017.
Scherian still had to impress the Club’s Kiwi boss. And she did so with her enthusiasm in a somewhat awkward first phone call.
“Noels didn’t tell me who it was. She just launched into this chat about how there was a contract there for me,” Scherian recalled.
“I said: yes, but who is this? Then she asked if I wanted to take some time and talk it through with my family.
“Nope, I said yes on the spot. Within a month I was making the move up the coast.”
Once embedded at the Sunshine Coast, Scherian was the gift that kept giving.
The Club already had netball great Laura Langman, Kelsey Browne and Karla Pretorius on its books.
Scherian was added to complement that trio and she proceeded to demonstrate she belonged in that elite company.
“She exceeded our expectations,” Byrne said. “She just kept blowing us away.”
More to come
Scherian is not done with the memories.
She is crafting new ones as a leader of a team working to rediscover the magic that led to consecutive premierships in 2017-18 and a near miss the following year.
Humility prevents her dwelling too much on her century milestone. Instead, she lingers on that common theme – gratitude – for the relationships forged and opportunities won over the journey.
“It’s (the milestone) not something I’ve kept count of,” Scherian said.
“What it does do is make me remember the great opportunity I had to come here to Lightning.”