It’s wonderful to think that young girls across Australia may have been inspired by the weekend’s historic AFL Women’s Grand Final.
With girls no doubt making up some of the more than 15,600 spectators in the stands to see the Adelaide Crows beat the Brisbane Lyons by six points, they also got to witness what’s previously been a male-only affair, at least in football: the very public celebrations that come with winning a major trophy, along with those photographs published across the Sunday papers.
— Duska Sulicich (@DuskaSulicich) March 25, 2017
But it’s not just girls inspired by this, it’s the rest of us.
The part I find particularly exciting is the diverse range of women who played in the AFLW’s eight-week competition, diverse in the fact that so many of the star players have competing priorities going on outside of training.
For some, it’s competing at high levels in other sports that they’ve got going on, with players participating in everything from basketball to soccer, cricket and more.
For others, it’s holding down full time jobs, caring responsibilities, study, and other priorities while also managing an intense training and playing schedule.
Take Collingwood player Moana Hope. Still in her mid twenties, she manages 18 hour days keeping up with her training commitments, her job, and acting as a full time carer for her younger sister. She’s also just published a book. As the Herald Sun recently outlined, her days look something like this:
Hope works at a traffic management company from 3am to 6am; sneaks in a run or gym session at 7am; wakes, showers and makes breakfast and lunch for her sister at 8am; takes client meetings and conducts other business (while Lavinia is at a school program) until 3pm; makes dinner for her sister at 4pm; trains from 6pm to 9pm; and prepares the next day’s work until 11pm.
Just reading it makes me feel exhausted, but knowing she is somehow managing it gives women a little more confidence that pursuing a passion on the side of everything else is a possibility. “When you combine the things you love, sleep doesn’t matter much,” Moana says.
Adelaide Crows Co-captain Erin Phillips has a different story again. Her wife Tracy Gahan gave birth to their twins in November 2017 in the United States, and Phillips has been travelling between the US and Australia for the past few months. She told Adelaide Now she’s usually fastidious about her daily routines and training, but she’s quickly adjusted to the fact babies don’t have routines.
Phillips was awarded the AFL Women’s Ground Final Best on Ground medal for her performance on Saturday, after collecting a match-high 28 possessions.
And her twins joined her on the field following the victory.
It was an excellent way to end a historic season that proves women’s team sports have a place on our televisions, and in our hearts.
— AFL Women’s (@aflwomens) March 25, 2017