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Girls in sport - by Australian Women's Cricket Captain Jodie Fields
Did you play sport when you were a young girl? Will you encourage your girls to do the same?
Jodie Fields - captain of the Australian Women's Cricket team The Southern Stars and Females in Cricket Ambassador for Cricket Australia - chats about how she got into the sport and the importance of sport for young girls in Australia.
The Importance of Sport for Young People in Australia
With a growing population in Australia of overweight children, there has never been a more important reason to be involved with sport or physical activity.
With so many activities available to children, like computer games, Wii games, iPhones, and iPods etc., more are leading sedentary and mildly active lifestyles.
I feel sport for young women is a great way to not only maintain physical fitness but it is also a great means for making friends, having fun, and challenging yourself in many ways.
Growing up in the southwest Queensland city of Toowoomba, I was lucky enough to have many sports available to play. I really enjoyed going to school for that main reason (apart from learning of course!). I regularly looked forward to Monday as I could participate in physical education classes, Tuesday's were spent playing touch football, volleyball training and games took up Wednesday afternoons, Thursday nights I spent training with a tennis squad, and most weekends I was either off playing in Brisbane tennis tournaments or playing cricket with the boys on a Saturday afternoon.
There was never any shortage of sport in our household and I am very thankful for the opportunity my parents offered me in this regard.
As a young child, I was quite shy and sport was instrumental in allowing me to make friends and get out of my comfort zone. The thrill of serving an ace in tennis or scoring a goal in soccer brought a smile to my face and those of my teammates.
One of the best reasons for playing sport is the relationship you build with your fellow teammates. I still recall many names and faces that I grew up with playing sport, and they were some of the best times of my life.
Being a teenage sportsperson growing up in a smaller country town, at times it was difficult as you missed out on social occasions with friends or parties, or you didn't have a part-time job and money but I realised that this was OK as I had many sporting goals which I had set myself.
To achieve these sporting goals, sometimes you had to sacrifice Friday night sleepovers with your friends or Saturday evening nights out but in the long run, it has benefited me greatly by allowing me to achieve many goals in my chosen sport of cricket.
Equally, I have also made many great friends along the way through playing cricket.
There is no greater feeling than playing a sport you love, with people who have the
same desires and goals and having fun along the way.
Parents play such an important role in encouraging young girls to play sport.
I know as a young sportsperson, I often came home with a brochure from school about playing a new sport, and my parents must have wondered ‘not another one!', but they were always supportive of my goals and the sports I wanted to participate in.
It doesn't matter whether, a young girl wants to play cricket or ride in equestrian events, to know you have the support of your parents is such a powerful thing and will most likely be a big determinant of whether their child will continue in sport.
I believe parents are big role models for children and by participating in sport themselves, can positively affect a child's view on sport.
If parents lead healthy lifestyles, then their children are more likely to lead healthy lifestyles and participate in sport.
The main message about sport is that you do not have to be the best player in the team, but you can participate and enjoy all the benefits that sport has to offer.
In my club cricket team that I regularly play in on a Sunday in Brisbane, we have a great variety of women playing. Mothers with young children, social players who love turning up and giving their best and enjoying a team BBQ afterwards, or university students who play as a stress release on the weekend.
Everyone brings their own experiences to the game and we all enjoy each other's company.
For me, that is the greatest gift sport gives us all – health, friends, and lots of fun!
Four short films about the Southern Stars have been created to promote female participation in cricket. Each film profiles a key player from the team. You can see Jodie's profile film below.
To watch the full series of videos, please visit: www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL40F79770BB56608C&feature=plcp