Sisters doin' it for themselves
Sport is something that can be appreciated by anyone, but I think that it is true to say that sport has a male focus. We do not seem too willingly recognise a female who has success in her chosen sport, unless they have done something extraordinary.
The news last week that former Australian Women’s cricket captain Lyn Larsen had been inducted into The NSW Cricket Hall of Fame was a wonderfully inspirational story from a number of perspectives. The very stately game of cricket has a history of promoting values that encompass gentlemen’s clubs and cigars and although women’s cricket was formed in Australia in 1905, the game has always been male dominated. Being a country girl, Larsen has also shown a generation of women that persistence, desire and belief, are not the unique domain of males, nor people from the city. Whilst Larsen played cricket for some years in the women’s competition that existed in Lismore, much of her cricket was also played when her only option was to participate with the men. Another promising female cricketer, Sammy-Jo Johnson, has also played a lot of cricket in the local men’s competition as she also follows her passion for her chosen sport. Former local girl Angela Reakes is also making her name in cricket after having to play with some men’s teams because of insufficient numbers of female teams.
In soccer, we are lucky to have a vibrant female competition, with the numbers growing every year. The increasing player numbers brings with it increased competition and improvement in technical skills. Football Far North Coast now has teams competing in the strong Queensland Rebel Youth League and watching the Under 14 and Under 16 teams last Sunday, I could not help but think that a lot of the improved profile of female sport locally is due to people like Lyn Larsen who represented themselves and our region with such distinction. There have always been individual local female players who are quite exceptional, like four times women’s player of the year Martene Wallace and another local sporting product, Lisa Casagrande, who played for her country 75 times as a Matilda and retired at the “ripe old age” of 23.
Sporting talent is not exclusively displayed by males and we should hale our local female players with the same level of enthusiasm.