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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Girls and Rugby

My husband plays rugby. It's violent, muddy and tough. You have to be incredibly fit and incredibly strong to do well. So you might think I'm crazy when I tell you I've just signed up my five year old daughter to the local team.

Ashleigh is your typical little girl - she loves pink things, peppa pig, pink things, hello kitty and pink things. She's a real girly girl and she cries when she scrapes her knee.

Last weekend I hauled her off to Sports Direct to find some rugby boots. Fail - They don't sell junior rugby boots. That's fine, we can get football boots and change the studs. Ashleigh was more interested in them making her sound like a pony than whether they fit, but some blue and orange Nike's (the only ones wide enough for her boat shaped feet) seemed to be her favourite.

We spent the afternoon in the park running in the new boots. We passed the ball, ran with the ball, dodged through cones and practised scoring tries. She loved it and can't wait to train for real this coming Sunday.

The thing is, everyone I have mentioned it to has been shocked. "A girl? Playing rugby?". Some have even questioned whether it's cruel to get her into such a sport.

But what alternatives are there? Dance? She's about as co-ordinated as a drunken stick insect. That also rules out gymnastics. For girls there are almost no sports options at this age. They're encouraged to draw and write and read and paint and cook, not to get fitter and stronger, not to be part of a team.

So how about everyone stops being so sexist and just let my little girl enjoy what she enjoys, gender stereotypes can be pushed aside for now.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you. It has been a problem for years. As young girls we were always complaining there was nothing but aerobics or swimming to do. We didn't want to be singing into our hairbrushes or playing Barbie all the time. I started Judo after watching my younger brother and loved it! Not 'feminine' at all but great for fitness, coordination and discipline. I would have loved to try Rugby if it had been an option then. I hope your daughter has a whale of a time!