It’s Women’s Sport Week.
According to the Women In Sport website, “The objective of Women's Sport Week is to celebrate and showcase women’s sport at every level, from the grassroots to the elite, and highlight the incredible contribution that women make to sport. The overall aim is to get more women and girls physically active and playing sport.”
When my friends and I were in our twenties, the only exercise we got was clubbing. It wasn’t until our late twenties, as the weight lingered longer than in our youth, that we all joined a gym. Then it snowballed: I took up running; the running led to organised races; the races led to harder challenges. My body showed me what it was capable of if I pushed it. Now I can’t imagine life without exercise or sport.
Yet we are all aware of the lack of women, particularly teenage girls, taking up sport because the media and the Government tell us. And as a teacher, I’ve seen the proof. However, if like me you only know active women (I can’t name any friends who don’t now partake in any kind of sport) you will wonder who these people are. And with trainers now outselling high heels for the first time this year, that can’t be just a fashion statement, it feels like exercise is an integral part of many people’s lives. So who are these women and how do we reach them? How do we tell them how brilliant it is to feel stronger and fitter? And how much support you receive from a community of women whose pheromones are pumping around their bodies.
Not only that, how do we tell non-derby folk (admit it, you still know some) how good it is to feel all those things whilst flying around a track on skates? Sadly, as I scrolled down the website homepage, I could see lots of different sports showcased but not our beloved roller derby. The sport that women boss wasn’t represented!
The answer is – we celebrate it! We take a week and show others what they’re missing out on. Yes it’s sweaty. Yes, the stench of my pads is almost a comforting smell. Yes, I have the washing machine on more often now for all my activewear. Yes I can now name parts of my body I didn’t know existed before because they hurt when I stand up, or sit down, or lunge, or squat… But I wouldn’t be without it.
So let’s all shout/blog/tweet even louder this week about how brilliant our leagues are and our community is so those women who are considering getting into sport, consider putting eight wheels on their feet and joining us. #WSW16