This story was first written for and published by Western Sydney Women.
There are very few things in the world that have the power that sport does. Sport has the capacity to incite passion, to cause devastation, to evoke extreme emotion and ultimately to unite us as human beings.
Women in Western Sydney are lucky enough to live in a community which is known as a hub for sporting talent. From the Parramatta Eels to the Sydney Thunder to the Western Sydney Wanderers and to the Greater Western Sydney Giants, these teams have become a focal point of our community not just for their sporting prowess on the field, but to their commitment to our community off the field.
These sporting bodies have a tremendous power to reach people and then influence. With this power comes tremendous responsibility and an ability to initiate and drive change. 2015 was indeed a year where this responsibility was taken seriously and saw many of our teams celebrating women and our contribution to the sports that our community is so passionate about.
It started with the Parramatta Eels who launched their Domestic Violence Action Plan (DVAP) in May. Through a partnership with the Northern Territory Government, the Parramatta Eels joined forces with the NO MORE campaign to develop the DVAP which ultimately aims to raise awareness in the Parramatta Eels community and at all levels at the Club about domestic violence.
I watched with pride as I saw the Parramatta Eels say ‘no more’ to family violence. I watched as the Parramatta Eels announced that any violence towards females was unacceptable. I watched the player group link arms and recognise the power that the Eels have to unite women in our community and make them feel like the Parramatta Eels are a club which will embrace them and make them feel welcome.
The end of the year was also a personal highlight for me with the launch of the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League (WWBL) and our team, the Sydney Thunder taking the competition my storm. With talent like Alex Blackwell, Milayla Hinkley and Stafanie Taylor, the Sydney Thunder now find themselves at the top of the competition ladder. With thousands turning up to watch these women play it bodes well for the future of female participation in our community.
Thousands of women in our community are linked to these clubs. Whether it be as an employee, a board member, a fan, a volunteer or as a family member on the sideline, our teams bring us together and make us feel part of something bigger than ourselves.
I look forward to seeing you all on the fields and on the sidelines in 2016.
Ladies who Leap xxx