My wife and two daughters have always been heavily involved in sports. Prior to having children, I had always been involved in ‘traditional’ male dominated sports such as football and cricket and grew up with 3 brothers. As such I sometimes failed to see the inequities and obstacles that were placed in front of girls. Like all parents I want my daughters to be the best they can be.
I have a sports science degree that has rarely been used in my chosen career. My wife was the one that inspired me early on to put it to greater use when my daughters began playing sport. If I was to push the mantra as a father that you should always strive to be your best; that gender isn’t or shouldn’t be an issue in the pursuit of excellence, then I should be setting an example. From when both my daughters were very young I have put my hand up to coach their teams. I have been met with very few obstacles along the way. Most women appear glad and almost flattered that a man is taking an interest in their sport. In my experience, very few women have an ego that presumes that because I’m a man, I wouldn’t know what I’m talking about.
Football/netball clubs are generally grateful for any support and assistance they can get. I would encourage anyone if they have a particular skill set to get in and have a go. You will be surprised how often you will be welcomed with open arms. Sports clubs can rarely afford to turn people away. The benefits are enormous and generally obvious. Sporting clubs should never be restricted by half the population, they are a natural extension of our community and just as in every community, every person has a role to play and a skill set that can be utilised.
The days of men only involved in footy and women only involved in netball are coming to an end. I love footy but I enjoy being involved with my kids’ sport even more. A more fluid club environment garners respect across both sports and creates more interest between the sports, rather than a male/female division.
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Supported by Gippsland Integrated Family Violence Alliance.