Amity Dry, TV personality best known for The Block and The Block All Stars has taken to Facebook to share her concerns over kids sports.
Can you relate?
Amity wrote how she has noticed a big difference between the way things are managed at boys football and girls netball – “I’ve been pondering on something today and thought it was an interesting discussion point for a Sunday afternoon (get ready, it’s a long read!)
“My son plays footy for a local club in the under 12’s division, which he loves and gets a lot out of and it’s a great club to be part of. But lately, as the final series draws closer and the training commitment and general intensity steps up, I’ve been noticing something more and more.
“There is a lot of passion around footy. These days we’re required to come 40 minutes before a game so they can warm up and get a pep talk from the coach in the club rooms and after the game there’s another pep talk where they’re told what they did right, what they can improve on and the best players are named and given small prizes as we all applaud.
“The boys are given nicknames to foster comradery and there are social events we all attend to foster team bonding.
“There are over 10 parents helping out every week as runners, water runners, umpires, assistant coaches and team managers (not to mention those like me who have no footy skills so get stuck on BBQ duty!)
“There are best and fairest nights and trophies and best on field awards for training sessions. At a recent game to celebrate the boys who’d played 50 games for the club we had a banner made so they could run through it, after running through a guard of honour of their other team mates. And at the end of that same match the boys who’d played a hundred games got carried off the oval by parents and were presented with signed footballs at a special dinner.
So where is all the fuss for the netballers?
“And it’s all great for the boys and we are very lucky to be part of such a passionate and nurturing club that fosters the boys talents and has so much support from parents who volunteer their time, especially his fantastic coach who goes above and beyond for the boys.
“But I cannot help but compare it to my childhood days of playing netball. Because we certainly didn’t get ANY of that!! Us girls turned up to training and games, played, and went home.
“There was no rallying pep talks, no guard of honour, no club rooms, no banners to run through and no sessions where we got told how great we were. We just did it. And that was 30 years ago and maybe things are different now but I’m willing to bet they’re not.
Is this where the gender divide begins?
“And all of this has got me thinking lately… is this where it starts?? Is this the point where boys start getting the impression they’re more worthy of time, attention and glory than girls are? Is this where we start thinking men’s sport is more worthy of money, corporate investment and viewership than women’s sport? Is there were women start subconsciously being told that this is how it’s always been and how it will always be, that we’re just a little less than?
“Because as my daughter and the other sisters watch on every week (while making up the cheerleading routine they’ve decided to do at the final!) I have to wonder how much this support – as great as it is – is inadvertantly showing them that we all believe the boys are more important when playing their games and hobbies than they are when doing theirs, despite working just as hard and being equally passionate about their activities. And if that’s the case, it’s not ok.
“Because as happy as I am my son is growing into a teenager that feels supported and capable of achieving greatness, on the sporting field and off, I want my daughter to feel the same. And all I know is that there’s no guard of honor at the activities she partakes in and no one carries her off the stage when she’s done 100 dance or singing concerts. And I don’t think that’s necessarily something that’s going to change anytime soon, but I wanted to call it out.
“Because these things matter. And now I’ve noticed this I can’t un-see it. So in my own way I’ll be doing little things to address this inequality. When my daughter starts netball next year I’ll be making sure she feels that her games are just as important as her brothers and that she is equally worthy of support and adulation. Because she is. Because all girls are. And it’s us who need to show them that.”
Do you think Amity makes a strong point? Or is it all just part of growing up?
Share your comments below.