My daughter has just started attending an after school football club run by a local well known FC. She is one of 3 girls in the club and 2 weeks in she is enjoying it and today played her first match. Her coach was impressed with her throw from the sidelines, which was aimed well at a player who then scored a goal. For me it was great to see her running with enthusiasm up and down the pitch and every now and then she would hug her friend if they passed the ball well to each other.
However, they needed the solidarity out there because I noticed that the boys just didn’t pass to them. The other girl was playing in a match on the opposite side of the pitch and she was stuck in goal looking bored, despite being keen to get involved.
After the match I took a picture of the girls with their coach as they are hoping to get a Blue Peter badge. A friend of mine said she thought they had to do something extraordinary or unusual to get a badge and that is what I recall from watching blue Peter’s of old too.
However, when listening to my daughter explain that when they were getting changed, the boys were chanting “girls can’t play football” and when she was on the pitch they were making fun of her pink football socks, I thought to myself that this is rather a lot for a seven year old girl to contend with. She wasn’t complaining about what they said, just mentioning it as a bit of an annoyance, yet she didn’t let it affect her enjoyment of the game.
This is the first time the boys have had girls in the activity so it is inevitable that they will be singled out. Yet Frances and her friend continued to run alongside them on the pitch and get themselves in a position where they could take the ball. I admired their tenacity and how brilliantly they were responding to a challenge that will face them when they are older – playing boys at their own game with the aim of being on a level playing field (scuse the pun).
I think such determination should be rewarded with a Blue Peter badge – Go Girls!
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