When the final whistle blows after an intense netball game, all Laura Langman wants to do is curl up on the couch at home and watch a movie. But the Silver Ferns vice-captain generally has no such luck – you’re likely to find her up a mountain with partner Adrian Pooley, trying to snowboard.
It’s his way, Laura says, of trying to pull her out of the “netball bubble” she retreats into during her hectic seasons, and she credits him with helping her get through one of the most demanding patches of her life.
With a long netball season finally done and dusted, and the trophy cabinet stuffed with wins in the ANZ Championship, Constellation Cup and the Fast5 World Series – all of which were captained by Laura – she admits to being a “little more tired” than usual.
It’s only Adrian’s unwavering support that has seen her through the season still smiling. “This year has been huge,” she says as she enjoys a rare day off at her home in Hamilton. “He’s one of the reasons I am able to do what I do. Maintaining some kind of sport-life balance is quite hard and Adrian is really good at making sure I do that.”
“There’s not a lot of time for sitting down in our house,” laughs Adrian, a sport and exercise science technician. “I’m big on a life outside of sport, so we do other stuff.”
But along with her sporting triumphs, personally, Laura has never been happier – she’s just finished her post-graduate studies in accounting, secured an internship at an accountancy firm in Hamilton and purchased a dream home with Adrian.
“We love our new house,” Laura says. “It’s exactly what we wanted. Now I just have to spend some time in it. I get to be all domestic now that I’m on holiday – it’s great.”
Everything in the easygoing couple’s day-to-day life requires a game plan due to their frantic schedules, but Laura refuses to call anything a sacrifice.
“Yeah, sometimes the stuff I have to do is hard, like being away from home for four weeks,” she says. “But honestly, I’m living the dream! How can I complain about any of that?”
Having a healthy mix of work and home life has always been incredibly important to Laura, but she admits she was tested this year after being the only experienced mid-court player available for the Silver Ferns, as well as taking over the captaincy from an injured Casey Williams.
“Netball this year has been awesome,” she says. “It’s up there with the best years of my career that’s for sure, but there were some stressful times in there as well this season.”
Luckily, Adrian was always waiting in the wings to help out in any way he could. “It’s the little things he does that help me have any kind of balance at all,” she says.
“I understand a lot of what Laura goes through,” adds Adrian, who was a competitive swimmer for 10 years. “If you don’t have that support and that balance, you just go nuts.”
The couple first met four years ago when he was helping to fitness test her netball team, the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.
While the couple is looking forward to spending quality time together after 11 months of life revolving around netball, the focus will soon turn back to sport, so they plan to make the most of their short-lived bliss. “I’d love to stay at home, but I don’t know how realistic that is,” Laura laughs as she glances at Adrian.
“We do a lot of surfing,” he smiles. “I’d rather go out, but Laura will often just want to stay home. We compromise!”
That’s not to say the couple doesn’t have the odd tiff – when you’ve got two competitive people in one house, it’s almost expected. “We can’t be on the same tennis team,” says Adrian.
As Laura prepares for another crazy 12 months, where she’ll be working as an accountant at the same time as playing for the Magic and the Silver Ferns, she still says that things couldn’t be better. “We’re in a really good space,” she says as she hugs Adrian. “Life is good.”