A recent post on LinkedIn caught my interest. It was titled, ‘All change. Is it time to review women’s sports kit?’ Reading as a woman who has felt very uncomfortable at times in her sports attire (see below for my rant on skorts) this really hit a nerve. I’ve been seeing more on this conversation over the past few years which is great, but on the flipside, it’s crazy that it’s 2022 and this is even a discussion at all. From whether or not elite hockey players should have to wear the dreaded skort, to Wimbledon and England football players having to conform to the all-white kit, (the thought of wearing white and getting your period just raises anxiety levels) So could a simple thing like what you have to wear, stop a girl from even taking part in sport the first place?Continue reading
Hot off the back of the Rio Olympics and Hockey is still basking in the limelight. The nineteen ladies chosen to represent Great Britain hit a nerve with the UK public, finding themselves the heroines of an unbelievable fairy-tale that had the nation hooked. The Gold medal final was watched by nine million people, nine million, that’s an amazing amount for a sport that has taken a bit of a back seat until now. After we won Bronze at the London Olympics, hockey funding went up, and the participation of women in sport went up by 25%. We can only wait and see what the Rio effect will be, but I think it’s safe to say that as far as hockey is concerned, it will be a positive one. Those nineteen women had a shared goal (aside from winning Gold that is) and that was that they wanted to, ‘inspire the next generation‘. My club, Old Cranleighans started it’s junior section (Colts) nearly five years ago with just fifty children. They now count nearly three hundred mini-players. I caught up our Ladies Club Captain Helen Hawes, who helps coach the Colts, to find out more about it.
My love for team sport started about eight years ago. I played various sports at school and thoroughly enjoyed them all, but went through a rather lazy period in my teens, and gave up everything bar lifting a drink or cigarette to my mouth. Luckily when I hit my mid-twenties, my rather rotund frame got me realising that I needed to get fit and I started running. When I then got together with my husband, I knew he played hockey but thought very little of it, other than it frustrated me that it seemed to take up his entire Saturday and involved a lot of beer afterwards. This didn’t fit in with my new couples plan of, ‘spend Saturday’s lazing around, reading newspapers, lunching, planning our future, etc’. I found myself a ‘Sports Widow’ and spent most Saturdays bored and alone. So, a decision was made, I decided to start playing a team sport and given there are two popular clubs near where we live, I chose hockey. It was time to dust off my old wooden stick.
Tomorrow is the big day, it’s Royal Parks half marathon time. I wont beat around the bush, I’m cacking it slightly as my training hasn’t gone quite to plan. Okay let me re-phrase that, it hasn’t gone to plan at all!! It started off so well and positively, that back in July I easily hit the eight mile mark, yay go me! I was feeling pretty smug I have to tell you, half/smarf marathon, easy peasy I was thinking. All I needed to do was sustain the eight miles and push a bit more over September then I’d be there, but a family holiday with much cheese, bread and more wine that you could shake a big wine stick at got in the way and well, my body just gave up! It’s quite frankly been a struggle even hitting five miles since that holiday (I blame France!) and my knees are all but knackered, but tomorrow sees me attempting 13.1 miles, taking in the lovely sights of London town.
When I was little, I loved sport. I did classic activities like ballet, horse riding and tennis and at school I loved rounders and netball. I was obsessed with horses and was lucky enough to have my own and I played tennis every Friday night. My older brother made me play endless hours of cricket and rugby. I spent many an hour in the garden either having cricket or rugby balls thrown at me, being tackled to the ground or learning to spin pass. I vividly remember laughing hysterically playing badminton in the garden – it’s funny when the shuttlecock gets stuck in the racquet, no?! However outside of garden games, the reality was that the two main hobbies I did, riding and tennis were actually quite solitary sports. I often spent weekends on my own at the stables because people went at odd hours to do their horses and playing tennis, we regularly played singles matches, so I never had that feeling of being in a ‘team’. When my teenage years hit, unsurprisingly I started to find these solo sports rather boring. This, coupled with a move to a new school for sixth form and the freedom that I was given, meant that my previous love of sport went out of the window. No longer made to do it as a compulsory lesson, I stopped completely. With my sports mad brother at University and no more garden games, the tennis club was ditched and my lovely horse was sold. Given the option to be lazy, I quite happily took it.