Dashing down the wing

Dashing down the wing

Putting my baggage aside.

By Sarah Shaw

When I was invited to jot down a few musings about my experience with the inspirational and growing girls footy program here at Barwon Heads, I thought it would be simple.

But, as draft after draft focused more on me and less on the players and the game, I realised I may have just a touch of ‘baggage’ regarding this particular topic.

You see, I am a member of a ‘football family’, full of players and officials spanning back to the 1940s. My wonderful Dad, as super fit athletes tend to do, produced two children of the female variety. I am so grateful that for future families like ours, people won’t respond to that news with a groan of disappointment, or a reassurance such as ‘oh well, maybe he’ll get a grandson who can play’. From now on, all kids can aim for the footy stars, whether it be AFL or AFLW.

So now I’ll leave my baggage aside and focus on the most exciting few weeks I have seen in junior footy. As the AFLW wound to a close and the BHFNC Under 12s girls team was introduced, a huge mob of girls attended the introductory session. I must admit that I suspected that once the novelty wore off, the numbers would drop. How wrong I was!

As training progressed, the girls learnt to kick a drop punt, bounce, handball and tackle. For some of the players, this was their first taste of footy since Auskick. For others, it was the first time they had ever touched a footy. Their skills grew week by week, but it was still uncertain how these basic skills would be put together in a match.

At the final pre-season training the girls were presented with their jumpers and shook the hand of their coach. It was starting to look like footy…

At the opening siren on Sunday, our players took the field against Geelong Amateurs in their uniforms, mouthguards and Skins after the pre-match huddle and instruction from the coach. It was starting to look a lot like footy…

Then the match began, and it looked like…, well it WAS footy! Somehow these amazing girls had absorbed the rules & tactics as well as the skills of the game, and the result was there for all to see. A bunch of kids playing the game they love.

At the end of their match, the victorious U12s Girls formed a guard of honour for the 15s Girls, who in turn were curtain raisers for the U19s Girls.

The future is bright for ALL players at Barwon Heads and I am so thankful to be there to see it.