Way back in the 1990’s I was a teen girl discovering sport for the very first time.
During those teen years I developed a reasonable ability to play hockey.
Not because I chose it, but because that was all that was on offer.
The gender stereotypical after school clubs and sports clubs were in force and boys had rugby and football and the girls were presumed to have loved Netball and Hockey.
I HATED Netball, at 5ft nothing it was a sport that was never going to build my confidence in my short stature and only add to my inadequate feelings over my body.
My family was not sporty in the sense of physically sporty and my Dad didn’t really care if we took part in any sport, so through my formative teen years I stuck with what I seemed to be good at.
When I first meet my now husband in my teens I used to longingly wish I could play football as he and his mates played each break time but it really wasn’t accepted as the norm.
Recently is was brought to my attention that SSE, one of the UK’s leading energy companies made a commitment to help support girls only football provisions with the FA SSE Girls Football Participation Programme that is now running with more than 60 clubs taking part.
On hearing the news a little part of me cheered, I would have loved this option when I was a teen and I know Ollie would have loved to support my daughter (age 15) in a quest to play his much-loved sport too.
After all what an amazing concept of creating a love of the game and a supportive bond between daughter and step-father.
The SSE Dads and Daughters Series is celebrating the great work dads around the country are doing to encourage their daughters to get involved in football. The film is the second in a three-part series, each celebrating the relationship between dads and daughters and the power of football and this video below shares the story of 12 year-old Daisy McGregor and her father Kenny.
Daisy’s interest in football first began following a visit to Peterborough United with her father Kenny as a five-year old. Six years later Daisy is more in love with the game than ever and what began as mere interest has become a life changing hobby. Daisy suffers from Tourette Syndrome, a stressful condition that causes involuntarily twitching and coughing.
However football has become a much-needed release for Daisy, helping to not only provide relief from Tourettes but also to form new friendships and build long-lasting confidence. Her father Kenny accompanies her to matches and goes through all of the match day rituals with his daughter. Kenny believes the impact football has had on Daisy’s life should not be underestimated.
This video totally resonated with me from the off.
My teenager daughter suffered with a low self-esteem and undiagnosed mental health issues and when she began playing a team sport it did directly impact on how she felt in herself, I saw her change from an immensely angry, frustrated girl who hated being in her own skin to someone vastly more confident in most of the things she did.
I think as a nation we underestimate not only how much sport can help mentally and physically but also how much emotionally it can support our growing young people.
For me I think it’s a really is a great a concept that provides so many benefits for our young women and empowering them to learn something that was previously kept at arms reach is even more special in my book.
*This is a collaborative post with SSE Dads and Daughters campaign*