Last Thursday at the MCWFC game against Notts County Ladies the Women’s Sport and Fitness Foundation announced its partnership with the Manchester club, entitled Changing the Game for Girls: In Action. MCWFC will use the WSFF’s thirty years’ experience to work more effectively with females to provide a lasting impact on sport. As a female looking to work in sport in the very near future, for me this is a very important collaboration, so I went along to the match to help raise awareness and chat to matchgoers about the partnership.
Most of the girls I spoke to were excited at the prospect of being professional footballers in the future; they looked blankly at me when I said that in my day that just wasn’t an option. They probably thought I was a million years old but it’s true! You would have been laughed out of school for saying that you wanted to work in football, or cricket, or in any sport that wasn’t ballet or equestrianism.
The shift is thanks in part to organisations like the WSFF who are educating and empowering women and girls, enabling them to get involved in sport. So far the coverage of the Commonwealth Games has also been strengthening the position of females in sport; I knew it was on but it was still a pleasant surprise to see the netball on the BBC yesterday (like, they actually covered a full match and not just highlights!), and so far women have won the majority of England’s medals. I’m most excited to watch Zoe Smith and the incredible 15-year-old Rebekah Tiler compete in the weightlifting, traditionally seen as a masculine event but now dominated by female personalities.
Chris and I made a pledge, as you can see above – his idea! – so from now on I pledge never to be worried about going into the weights room. Your choice of sport should not be affected by gender stereotypes, whether that be water polo or weightlifting; the same goes for your choice of career.
And if you still say that football isn’t for girls, I challenge you to take on City Women’s. They’ll certainly teach you a thing or two about kicking a ball.
Embarrassing story time: four years ago, when Spain won the World Cup, my boyfriend and I were in a small, ex-pat town in Spain. We were staying with his parents and we’d just arrived that day, so after watching the celebratory fireworks on the roof we decided to go to bed but hit the town to party the next night.
Big mistake. Nobody was around. We asked why: the answer was because they’d had the biggest party EVER the night before, with most bars only closing at 9am. Yes, even in a sleepy little ex-pat town.
There’s only two ways to handle the World Cup. One is to spend the entire six weeks complaining about the amount of football on TV, hating every second and making yourself miserable; the other is to embrace it and enjoy it thoroughly (ignoring it isn’t an option. It’s impossible). After missing out on what could have been the greatest celebration of my life last time I’ve plumped for the latter option – besides, I don’t fancy being miserable for that amount of time! The fact it’s in Brazil is an attractive factor for me, too. My dad worked in Brazil for a year when I was thirteen, and my mum and I travelled out to visit him; so seeing Sugarloaf Mountain, Maracana Stadium and Ipanema beach all over the TV is very nostalgic for me.
Last night I went to ITV’s Fever Pitch, which is a re-purposing of the old Granada Studios in Manchester. The weather wasn’t the best but it was a fun experience – I almost (almost) felt like I was on holiday night out with the beach, beer and burgers… Obviously two beers down I just had to try out my handstand on the sand. We watched the Algeria v Russia game with a big group of Algerians and their enthusiasm was amazing – our group adopted Algeria for the night, so it was fantastic that they got through to the finals.
There’s another three weeks left of the World Cup, and whether you groan or cheer at that statement, remember life is what you make of it. You can make yourself miserable or happy with your mindset. I know which one I’d rather be!
This past weekend Deansgate was closed to traffic (for those unfamiliar, it’s the backbone road of the city centre) not only for the Bupa 10K but also for the Great City Games. Manchester is proud of its sporting heritage and the legacy of the 2002 Commonwealth games seems to live on and on, and sporting events in the city draw sports enthusiasts and proud Mancunians alike.
I’d like to think I fit into both of those categories, so I made sure I was up at the front to watch the City Games. I was mostly fascinated by the speed displayed by the sprinters, yet the ease of their movement; up-close you can really see the power that comes from their backsides to propel them forward off the starting blocks. And we really were close-up! Deansgate is only the size of your average road so there were no seats, and a small metal barrier was the only thing separating us from the action.
It was also awesome to see Christine Ohuruogu – one of Great Britain’s most successful athletes of all time, who came 3rd in the 200m – and Yohan “Beast” Blake. The Beast certainly lived up to his named and absolutely smashed the 150m to win with a time of 14.71 seconds.
An incredible day with some fantastic results for British athletes, boding well for Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games. Roll on July!