Year in Review
Fighting for my family
We’re so far behind.
We say we’re a country that wants to be innovative and cultural and accepting. But to be in 2017 and still deciding, still going back and forth on this topic of same sex marriage, is extremely disappointing.
The plebiscite and knowing the things that that brings to the public is scary.
Not only is it $170 million of wasted money – when we already know how the Australian public feel and the majority of politicians – but to have a leader who is afraid to lead is probably the most disappointing part of being Australian.
I get lots of emails and letters from teenagers. They come up to talk to me after games and hand me envelopes with a story about themselves inside. Mostly girls, but sometimes boys.
They’re drawn to me because they can see I’m happy in my own skin at a time when they’re trying to come to terms with who they are.
They’re still young. They’re confused. All they really want is for someone they can identify with to tell them it’s OK to be gay.
It’s a big responsibility, I know, but I’m happy to take it on.
The world would be a better place if we were all a bit kinder to each other, wouldn’t it? That’s my motto.
When I was with the Matildas for last month’s game against Brazil in Newcastle, a girl handed me a lovely card and said, ‘Thank you for being you, because you’ve helped me so much with my life and understanding who I am.’
I’ve said many times that I never wanted to be the poster girl for society’s attitudes towards same-sex relationships. My family and friends, the people that love me the most, they’re the only opinions I care about. But sometimes there are situations in life where you just need to stand up for what you believe in.
I don’t know how many people know my story, and I don’t really know that I have much of a profile, to be honest, but I hope this makes just a few people understand my situation, and know that in my heart there is absolutely nothing except love. All I want for my life and my family – Amanda and our two beautiful young children – is just to be happy, and loved. All the traits that I was brought up with by my own beautiful parents.
It’s a time now where I do have to have a voice, and I do have to stand up for something that is so right for me. For us. It doesn’t feel wrong, and it isn’t wrong, but sometimes people are making it out to be.
Women’s sport. I’m so sick of talking about it. We’ve got to move past that divide. It shouldn’t matter whether it’s a man or a woman playing. It’s just sport.
People ask me if, because of my netball background, I’m worried about the AFLW. Absolutely not. It’s bloody fantastic because it’s normalising people watching women play sport. That’s why the last 12 months have been so incredible. Super Netball was launched along with a ground-breaking pay-deal, the AFLW was a huge success, the Matildas won the Tournament of Nations and our women’s Rugby Sevens team won Olympic Gold. It doesn’t get better than that.
Netball is a sport that has battled all sorts of misconceptions about what it means to be a female athlete but now we don’t have to do it alone. Now there is an understanding that women can play sport and it’s entertaining and cool to watch.
The great women players who represent the Matildas have battled inequality all their football lives. They’ve been the victims of … discrimination is a hard word, but definitely ignorance, apathy and a lack of respect.
They’ve been through the school of hard knocks and come out intact. That’s what I admire about them the most. That’s what draws me to them as people. That’s why I’m proud to coach them.
When you have those sort of life experiences – where there are constant hurdles placed in front of you – you become aspirational in your attitude. If you’ve had to fight for everything you’ve got, you want to strive to get even better and achieve even more.
That’s the Matildas I know, these players who have taken this team to new heights and will represent their country in two games against Brazil at Penrith on Saturday and Newcastle on Tuesday.
The women’s game has come a long way in Australia. But it has come from a long way behind. So it still has a long way to go.