I have been awful at getting some posts written and posted. Partly because I have actually been pretty busy and partly because I can’t really find that perfect topic that motivates me enough to get something out of that brain of mine and onto Word Press. Until this week that is. I’ve been involved in something pretty special and I really want to write about it and talk about something that’s always played a huge part in my life and that’s football.
This week is Girls Football Week. To celebrate, as part of my role as the Women’s team secretary for Hykeham Town Football Club, I decided to share stories from our female players each day. It’s hard not to be incredibly inspired and cheered by the stories that have been told and it’s made me not only rethink my own personal view on the women’s game but ignited a new found love and pride of it. So that’s special enough to write about I think.
Obviously it’s pretty clear how politically focused I am. For someone who is very politically active, the last few weeks have been pretty difficult. In fact socially, you must have your head buried in the sand if you’ve not noticed that things haven’t really been that fantastic in terms of the treatment of women of late. Stuff like this really impacts on me. Makes me feel sad, mad and fed up. So Girls Football Week has been the very best medicine for me.
I have to be honest now. As a football fan well as a female football fan should I say, I’ve always felt that you kind of have to conform to the “laddy” stereotype to fit in. Worst of all this made me kind of turn my back on the female aspect of the game. How wrong of me that was and what a shame that I’ve only just realised what I’ve been missing. I pretty much feel like I owe women’s football an apology. Hopefully this post and the work I hope to do in the future for the club will make up for it. Reading the stories I’ve collected from our players and from some of our players parents have made me realise that you absolutely do not need to conform to any kind of stereotype at all. Also it’s made me appreciate what a wonderful impact being involved in the game can have on a girl. It’s pretty bloody special.
Is football free from stereotyping? No of course not. Do you deal with being treated differently as a women in the game? Yes of course. I myself have had to deal with being told whilst watching a local game that I should “f**k off & play netball” and can recall more than a few instances when people have taken one look at me and assumed I wouldn’t have the first clue about the game. Even throughout the stories that we have shared as part of our clubs Girls Football Week celebration you can read that some players have had to put up with hearing “they’re just a girl”. It would be wrong of me to paint this post as the perfect antidote to the news at the minute. However, what I can share is how football is just as important and can have just the same amount of positive impact on your life, no matter your gender. If this week has taught me one thing it is what a fantastic sport football is and what it can bring to a girls life. That we don’t need to view it as a man’s game and conform to a stereotype. In actual fact it can have a positive reflection on all areas of life that women can benefit from. Not one story that we have shared this week speaks of being held back or having to adapt. Every single story talks of the positives playing football and being involved in the game can have
The women’s game is on the up. Female football has been named the fastest growing sport on the planet. I can’t help but feel it’s come a hell of a long way since my school days, when I picked football as a module for PE and had to spend a term sat on the sidelines, as I wasn’t allowed to play with the boys and there wasn’t enough girls to play a game with. You only have to see the spot light and success from 2017 UEFA Women’s Championship and the huge growth of registered female players to understand this is absolutely no longer a game for the boys. I think it’s important that now, with this focus and not to mention the funding that now goes into this growth of the females game, we really call out to the female fans. Actually just females in general. Let’s keep this momentum going and get more people involved. Whilst there is a huge growth in terms of females actively playing the game, the same can’t be said in terms of match officials and coaches. Grassroots football can only grow and thrive if it has an army of volunteers behind it. I speak from experience when I say what a pleasure it has been taking on a role with a women’s team. I might not play but that doesn’t mean I don’t get the buzz from seeing our team at the top league. At the minute I literally LIVE for getting our Girls Football Week posts published and shared. Being involved in the women’s game has reignited my love for football as a whole. You can’t really put a price on the friendships that have been built across the team and the sense of pride from our junior girls parents. It truly is a beautiful game. You get as much out as you put in. I hope this week reaches out to people who have always held back or felt they won’t belong. Trust me when I tell you that you’re missing out. Nows the chance to look at local clubs and see how you can join in. Be it as a player, a sponsor, a volunteer or just a fan. I promise you, you won’t regret it.
You can find Hykeham Town’s Girls Football week stories here: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/hykehamjfc/news/girls-football-week-ellie-sleaford-2071207.html
Find out more about Girls Football Week:http://www.fagirlsfootballweek.com/
Find your local club:http://www.thefa.com/my-football/football-volunteers/Find/Find%20a%20Football%20Club