On court, Sulu Fitzpatrick is calm, yet fierce; both caring and unyielding.
But for years off the court, the Mystics captain and experienced Silver Ferns defender silently struggled with life. From her unhealthy relationship with food and alcohol, to handling money badly, grappling with being a young single mum of twins, and failing in her studies. And it all affected her netball career, too.
Fitzpatrick speaks openly about her personal battles in the first episode of Netball New Zealand’s latest Pure As series, and describes losing her identity when she couldn’t play netball. And she explains how she’s come to terms with all parts of herself in her 29 years.
“The person that’s struggled, the person that was out of place, the person that was putting on a mask. Now I’m the person that’s a bit older and understands a bit more about life,” she says.
“I know that my career has always reflected my life outside of netball and I’m really proud of where it’s come to now.”
She talks about being raised by family in New Zealand while her birth parents live in Samoa, her relationship with her siblings including Black Ferns Sevens star Teresa Fitzpatrick, and the support her two mums gave her through her unexpected pregnancy as a teen.
She pays credit to the Pulse for reviving her netball career when she thought it was over, and how her faith, her culture and her partner, Andrew, have helped her rebuild her life.
Fitzpatrick also reveals how she had to repair her relationship with Silver Ferns coaches Dame Noeline Taurua and Deb Fuller, who she now calls her aunties.
Netball NZ’s highly successful Pure As series returns in 2022, shining a light on the lives of several Silver Ferns both on and off the court.
In two seasons so far, Pure As has gained a global reach of over 5 million and more than 3 million organic video views.
All episodes will be launched with an exclusive first watch through www.silverfans.co.nz, and shown on LockerRoom each week.