Wednesday, 27 July 2022

Women Lead The Way!

Another fine performance by the England Women's football team has seen them reach the finals of the Euros. Well done to them and let's hope they can get one more win to cap an excellent campaign.

With each passing game (no pun intended) they have increasingly captured the nation's imagination and their profile has been raised.

At the same time, our women's cricket team has continued to perform brilliantly this summer. They have equally displayed high levels of skill and performances. Apart from a washed out test match they have swept South Africa aside in every game.

Both teams have raised more than just the profile of their sports. They have increased the overall awareness of sport and highlighted just what can be achieved by girls and women. 

Aside from the great skill and togetherness that has been displayed, it's wonderful to see how much the players actually enjoy the game. They play with smiles on their faces and mistakes aren't viewed as being the end of the world.

The sport is played with great sportsmanship and there is a real love of the game. I hope it's more than just nostalgia that makes me appreciate this. It's so refreshing!

I recall that when growing up footballers, cricketers and indeed most sports folk, would have a smile and a laugh. What has changed that that is rarely the case? 

I can only put it down to money. Women's sport has typically received less funding and prize money than men's. I believe that the highest paid women's footballer or cricketer is getting no more than £250k (there won't be many) per year. Per year!

These days it's a common salary per week for a Prem player!

If we hope to see the fun and enjoyment return to men's sport then that would need to be addressed. Sadly, it's not going to happen is it. Money is the master and it's has delivered the unlevel playing field that sees the same teams challenging and in respect of football, clubs yo-yoing between the top two tiers.

It's been a long time in the making but finally, we are starting to see the rewards of the investment that has gone into women's sport.

Ian Wright was spot on with his post match comments and if schools and clubs aren't already promoting girls sport, then now they should use this success as the catalyst to do so. Failure to do so is a real missed opportunity.

I've been involved in junior and school sport for some years. Sadly, there have been many examples where the girls teams don't get the same attention and focus as the boys. 

In some instances the main P.E. teacher would attend the boys games but you'd see another, less qualified member of staff at the girls. That's shocking but I'm pleased to say that in my experience, finally, that is improving.

It's ironic that it seems it's the old enemy that stands in the way of our football and cricket teams. I suspect that England will face Germany and Australia respectively in the finals of the Euros and the Commonwealth Games.

Let's hope that both can be successful. If not, no problem because they are already winners as will be the future generations of girls and women who now have people to aspire to and hopefully, develop a lifelong love of sport!



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