When I was 10, I was always put on the side at football so the boys didn’t have to play with a girl
When I was 11, I wasn’t allowed to join our girls rugby team because I was ‘too small’
When I was 12, I was called a ‘show off’ and a ‘bitch’ because I scored most goals in our hockey match
When I was 13, I faked my injuries so I didn’t have to be compared to the other girls
When I was 14, The girls were to do yoga because we weren’t put up for sports
When I was 15, I became team captain of our rounders team and was chosen woman of the match 3 times
When I was 16, I was told I would fail my GCSE PE for having a wrist injury as I was ‘just being a girl’
By the age 0f 14, girls drop out of sports twice as often as boys. Lack of access, safety and social stigmas lead girls to drop out of sports in their adolescent years. And frankly, this shouldn’t be the case.
I have always had sport in my life, one way or another. And luckily I was never self conscious of the fact that I may or may not be good at it, or that I may not look like the rest of the ‘sporty girls’. But alas this isn’t the case with everyone, we find ourselves worrying about the way we look and portray ourselves in sport whether we are too big, too small, too muscly, not fast enough, maybe we missed a goal once or twice. But sports has no size, gender, age. We’re young, we’re not meant to be the next Jessica Ennis, we’re meant to be having fun and learning new skills, creating friendships and bonds with the people around you. And you never know, you may find your new hobby, you’ve just got to give it a try.
I think it’s also important to remember the options you have, it’s not just rounders, netball or hockey – why not gymnastics, rugby, cricket or badminton? When I was younger I tried to get a girls football or rugby team near me but there simply weren’t enough girls interested, so I started running and dancing, and although more independent are just as enjoyable, it’s just you and the sport (and yes, dance counts.)
And we should never let a few missed goals or losses demotivate us or make us think we can’t do it, we can’t all be naturally good at sports. It’s a learning curve and a process, it’s all about picking yourself up and keep going.
Stressing the importance in young girls’ lives is so important, nobody should miss out on the opportunities and skills you learn because of confidence – you do you girl. And don’t let anyone put you down, so long as is it makes you happy it doesn’t matter what anyone else says. I hope this helps people in any way, and I hope we continue to preach this message because as I said – sports has no gender, age, size, ability.
Until next time,
*DISCLAIMER* This post was in collaboration with the GirlsActive campaign but I am in full support of the message promoted.