Each week SHESAID features an inspiring woman who has been kind enough to share her story with our readers. She might be a leader in her chosen field, someone still on their own path striving to make a difference or simply someone with a remarkable story to tell. These women contribute their own knowledge, expertise and life lessons in order to truly inspire others.
Tell us about what you do. What is it? What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I’m an athlete who plays cricket and soccer, whilst also studying part time.
When did you know this is what you wanted to do this as a career?
I only really realised when I first started doing it. When I made my debut for Australia and had my first opportunity to experience sport at the highest level, I realised that it was exactly what I wanted to do.
You made history being the first Australian women to compete in both cricket and football (soccer) World Cups at a very young age. How have things changed for you since you began competing competitively?
Things haven’t really changed too much for me. I’ve always loved playing sport, whether it was in the backyard with my family, at my local club on the weekends or representatively for Australia. Sport has been a huge part of my life for a long time, and I feel incredibly lucky to call it my career.
You have are a big inspiration for women in sport. How do you find competing in such a male dominated environment?
I love it – cricket and soccer are just as much games for women as they are men. I’ve played with both boys and girls when I was younger, and men and women since then too. Some of my best friends are a group of guys I grew up playing club cricket with. One of the great things about sport is that it is a tremendous leveller. It’s also a great way to find common ground and relate to people. Whilst in the past there were a number of barriers in place to women’s participation, I think by and large a lot of those barriers have been broken down. Cricket Australia and Football Federation Australia have and continue to work tremendously hard to makes their sports inclusive for all people in all different realms of participation. I think it’s a really exciting time for women’s sport in Australia, and a lot of development has and is continuing to occur.
Your hard work has been recognized worldwide with countless accolades to your name – what do you feel is your biggest achievement?
I think having the opportunity to experience playing for Australia in two sports that I love has by far and away been my greatest highlight.
How do you deal with the pull between both cricket and football? What were the stumbling blocks, initially getting started since then?
I have some truly wonderful support, from cricket and soccer as well as my friends and family; they are the people who make it possible to play two sports that I love. I always think I have the easiest role in it all, to just go out and play. The biggest challenges always come when there is a clash in competitions that means I can’t play both sports at that particular period.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration from a number of different sources, but I think mostly from an intrinsic motivation to keep getting better and learning – as a player and as a person. I love that every training, every game and every tour is an opportunity to work on things and often learn more about yourself. I think a lot of the experiences I’ve had as an athlete have shaped my thoughts and beliefs about so many things in life. My parents have also been a tremendous form of inspiration for me, as too have lots of athletes from a variety of sports.
What are your goals for the future?
To keep enjoying what I’m doing as much as I am at the moment. I’d really like to make a contribution to both sports that will make a tangible difference for years to come. Especially if that means getting more girls involved and active in sport at all levels and in all different capacities.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path as you?
It probably comes as no surprise that I would say go for it, give it your absolute best shot. One thing I have always tried to hold myself to is to never dismiss an opportunity or potential experience without giving it the greatest of considerations. Sometimes you find the best learning and development opportunities come from things that you’d never expect. Take the time to talk to people and hear their thoughts and ideas. And most importantly hold on to your own confidence and self- belief, it’s your greatest tool for success.
Isabelle is a writer who has a hundred-and-one side-splittingly funny stories about growing up at an all-girls boarding school, with a chocolate habit that requires constant monitoring. Follow Isabelle on Twitter.