Thursday, February 2, 2017

To Every AFLW Player That Will Ever Live...

I'm jealous.

Hugely jealous.

Over the next 3 days, 8 teams consisting of 176 of the best AFL Female Footballers from not only Australia, but from around the world, will take part in the inaugural round of the AFLW season.

You are one of these unique ladies.

The story of how each player got to this stage is unbelievable.

YOUR story is unbelievable.

Last week I was chatting to my brother about the  AFLW and how we ware attending tonight's game, and we sort of stopped mid conversation and said how cool is it that we are talking about this, just as we do with the men's game, using names like Hope, Brennan and Pearce.

Just yesterday I was training one of my future AFLW hopefuls and marveling at the fact that just 6 months ago they were just like us . Playing every Saturday on sub-par grounds, just having a kick every weekend in the winter and now, they are in a position where they are able to call themselves professional footballers.

I would love to hear some of the stories from the overseas players - I'd love to hear what some of them were doing at this time last year!

I've been pumped for women's football for a while now, but I suppose my catalyst for it really was the introduction of the a netball team at my local football club at South Yarra.

In our footy league at the South Yarra Lions, we have teams for the seniors, reserves  and third, all of which play on a Saturday as well as over 35's and over 47's that play on Sunday.

We have a lot of players that fill all these sides. You could say we are a "big small" club for a lack of better term.

So a couple of seasons ago, after talking about it for a few seasons before that, we finally bit the bullet, and with the huge assistance of some of our players "WAGS" we put together a team and registered them in the netball comp in our area and the dynamic of the entire club was changed forever.

I can't put my finger on what it is exactly, but somehow the addition of the women, not just as the partners of players but as members of the club itself, create a far better dynamic at the club and at functions.

Now with the introduction of the AFLW, I can't wait until we can get a women's football team up and running, which I believe is on the cards as an area for development within the club in the near future.

As an active member of the club and the parent on a 6 year old boy, I'm also involved in a bit of the Auskick program at South Yarra. Our Auskick kids include a bunch of girls that go every week and are just as competitive as the boys in every way. One of these players, Caitlin (not sure of the correct spelling!) is already a star and I'm calling it right now - she will play AFLW if she wants to.

She has "it".

And you have "it" right now.

You have the chance to make your mark; to leave your stamp and your impression and your dynamic on our great game. To create a legacy.

The way that little boys have looked up to Juddy, Ablett, Selwood and Hodge over the years with the goal to being in their place in the future, is now where the women of the AFLW stand. Creating an image for the young girls around the world to aspire to.

Similar to the conversation between my brother and I, little girls, and boys, with AFLW jumpers on, sporting player numbers, swapping AFLW footy cards (I heard they were coming?) and AFLW players promoting the game with public visits will do so much for kids like Caitlin.

I come from a single parent family of 5 kids.

We grew up in commission housing and could have gone off the rails at any time, but football kept us in check.

This can do the same for girls suffering from bullying and low self esteem to find their comfort on the football field, where every one is equal once the whistle blows.

AFLW will do wonders for Aussie Rules Football, but I think it will do far more for communities and society in general.

So with your place in history comes some responsibility.

A responsibility to play this very first game like it will be your last.

The responsibility to make this very first impression stick in people's minds forever.

I hope, hope, hope that a player does something so unbelievable this round that it sits right up there with footage of Jesaulenko "You Beauty", Micheal Long taking 5 bounces down the wing and kicking the goal, Gary Ablett taking the ball out of the ruck and kicking a goal in the same action.

Footage that will be seen around the world and used in every promo for AFLW for years to come.

I know a lot of you have played a lot of footy, and have been waiting, even just wishing for a chance like this, and now it's here.

I'm already well on-board the AFLW bit I want you, I want all of you, to make those sitting on the fence to stand up and go "holy shit, what did she just do?"

And it all starts tonight.

I'm 38 and playing metro footy so my dream AFL will never be a reality, but I'll relish in the idea that yours is, and that I will be there to witness 44 women's dreams being realised tonight.

So go out there and play with a chip on your shoulder, play with flair and play harder then we know you can.

Let us all dream a little as we watch you take to the field.

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