Records & humility: Ellyse Perry's extraordinary role in transforming Australian sport

Records & humility: Ellyse Perry’s extraordinary role in transforming Australian sport

Ellyse Perry
It’s difficult to imagine just how Ellyse Perry has done it. She’s risen to the top of not one, but two of the most loved sports in Australia and become one of our best known athletes.

Having been hearing about and watching her extraordinary achievements for over a decade now, it’s hard to believe she’s not even 30. Ellyse started on the world stage at the age of just 16, when she was selected for both the Australian cricket and the Australian women’s national soccer teams. She turned 29 last week.

Just this week, Ellyse was part of a record breaking partnership with Alyssa Healy, that saw the pair achieving an unbeaten 199 runs in the WBBL.

But despite numerous career records, Ellyse says that one of her most significant career highs has been witnessing the progress of women’s sport in recent years.

Such comments are the kind of humble response we’ve come to expect from Ellyse, and they come in a week that saw the Matilda’s achieve what’s believed to be a world first pay equality deal.

“Having success in World Cups is some of the biggest career highlights that I’ve had, but more generally speaking, the biggest highlight is just the development of the sport and being involved in this period of women’s cricket, but also in women’s sport in general in Australia, where it’s been a bit of a watershed moment,” she told the ABC’s Brittany Carter.

Earlier this week, Ellyse officially launched her new book Perspective, that’s seen her open up about her vulnerabilities in a way that shows just how much of a powerful role sport can play in women’s lives.

In a recently published extract, Ellyse concedes that she lacks self confidence outside of the sporting arena. Sport is a place where she feels comfortable and can be herself because she’s, “worked at it, prepared for it, and there aren’t many situations that I’m unfamiliar with.”

But off the field, it’s different. She opens up about being shy and unable to sleep on the nights before she has to deliver some kind of public speech the next day. She says she’s awkward, hates confrontation and can find large social situations challenging.

They’re traits about herself that she’s come to accept.

And they’re clearly traits that haven’t affected her success in sport.

Weaknesses, Ellyse writes, are part of who we are. “They’re completely normal, and once you’re open about them it’s easier to see what you can do about them.”

“It’s empowering and liberating to accept yourself for who you are.

“These are my strengths and these are my weaknesses. When you throw them all together, you have a proper person.”

Ellyse also writes about she’s had few bad experiences with social media, because she’s hardly ever used it. She says she’s likely missed any nastiness that’s been directed at her and “there are better things to do in the real world.”

It’s real life that matters. It’s athletes like Ellyse who have stayed grounded, demonstrated their brilliance through their sheer hard work, and ultimately seen Australia excel on the world stage.

Perspective was released on November 4 and published by HarperCollins.




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