We should make women the real big deal in sport - Argus Friday 31st July 2015

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

SO THE National Football League (NFL) has appointed their first female intern coach, Jen Welter. She will be one of at least 320 coaches in the league, but because she is a woman, it has made headlines. The last woman who attempted to forge a career within professional men’s football was Helena Costa. She was appointed manager of Clermont Foot 63, a French club. The shock announcement attracted worldwide headlines. She quit the night before her first day. It turned out there was no real role for her within the club. She had been employed to attract media interest. and give the idea that Clermont was a “forward thinking” team. When she asked to see her coaching schedule, there were no slots with her name on. She had been used to put a small name on a big map.

It’s depressing that in 2015 we still see women being appointed to mediocreso-so roles within sport as a big deal.

Despite the hype, Welter’s role is not a permanent one. Even with a list of qualifications as long as Peter Crouch’s arm, her job is temporary.

Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho, Alex Ferguson? All modest football players within their own right, yet earned millions telling the world’s finest how it should be done. The only time we see this sort of success in women is on America’s Next Top Model.

Tara Banks has found far more fame bullying beautiful girls than she ever did working her own beautiful behind down the catwalk. Really, iIs this the best we can do?

My daughter’s teacher plays for Eastbourne Ladies FC and my girl won’t miss a match. “That’s my teacher,” she yells, tells everyone as number three’s bone-crunching tackle flattens a tricky winger.

Gracie has been is so influenced by her teacher’s enthusiasm and love of sport that she sat watching watched the Women’s World Cup on iPlayer and was so gutted upset when the women lost in the semi-final she couldn’t finish her popcorn.

I was too. It was the nation’s most successful World Cup campaign since the men’s team won in 1966.

The Football Association (FA) who oversee run both the men and women’s sport teams tweeted this at the end of the match: “Our #lionesses go back to being mothers, partners and daughters today, but they have taken on another title – heroes.”

Can you imagine a similar tweet going out after the boys lost in the first knockout stage on penalties (again). “Our lads go back to being alcoholics, wife-beaters, cheating, drunk-driving overpaid posers, but they have taken on another title – heroes”

Comedian Rufus Hound responded to the tweet with “Lionesses families delighted to welcome home their heroes having not had any proper dinner since world cup started”.

Did the FA think they stopped being mothers, partners and daughters during the three weeks they played football?

We don’t get much recognition, but everyone knows us dollybirds can multi-task.

One of the lionesses, Claire Rafferty, works as a high-level analyst for Deutsche Bank in the City of London as well as playing professional football, being a partner, daughter and being named 43rd in Zoo magazine’s hot 101 babes of 2015.

I wonder what she Which is she most proud of?

At the London Olympics we got behind all of our Brits, be it men or women.Jessica Ennis, Victoria Pendleton, Catherine Grainger, Laura Trott, Nicola Adams, all became household names. (and not just due to their golden post-boxes).

We were proud of our girls. The women’s events were given as much equal air-time and as excitable commentary as the men’s.

I had hoped that girls cycling, rowing, boxing, and athletics were going to be injected with a new lease of life. I was sadly mistaken, and we need women female role models now more than ever.

I am determined that my daughters will find a sport to fall in love with, that isn’t ballet, unless it’s being taught as a pre-cursor to boxing footwork. Sport gives young people goals, discipline, fitness, confidence and a sense of achievement. Even solo sportspeople are part of a bigger team.

What a shame then, that the school sports day this year was themed "non-competitive, all inclusive, with no winners or losers" AKA "pass the beanbag nicely".

Our five-year-old had an enforced 30-minute recovery after the "laying-down ball throw" (unmeasured) before moving onto an energetic bout of ‘name that famous sportsperson’ (no shouting out the answers).

Hardly a breeding ground for future Olympians is it?

I run and cycle six days. a week. My daughters see this as normal.

They do not ask me if I am going, they just ask if I beat my best time when I get back.

But meanwhile, the sport channels are still outweighed with full of men talking about men playing sport.

Can we ever picture a time when Victoria Pendleton manages Team Sky to Tour de France victory or Nicola Adams is training the men’s heavyweight champion of the world. Could Claire Rafferty guide Man- chester United to Champions League glory or is that just for the big boys?

Comments