But the Adelaide Striker didn’t achieve her life goal until last month, when she saw her name on a Fantale.
“WHO AM I? Born in Adelaide, SA in 1993, this medium-fast bowler began representing Australia in 2012,” the crumpled wrapper read. “Her ODI shirt is #3, chosen to represent the number of ‘butt pats’ she hands out per game.”
“That is an honour, that one,” Schutt told Mamamia, laughing. “I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t impressed by it. Although, I give probably three [butt pats] per over, so they’re a bit off with the number.”
Yes, she’d lived out an Aussie dream, but it was a clear June afternoon in Brisbane last year that gave Schutt the highlight of adult life. It was the moment her partner, Jess Holyoake, said ‘yes’.
The couple met nearly two years earlier at the National Cricket Centre, where Holyaoke was working for Cricket Australia.
“I came in one day and I was being a bit of a tosser and chatting her up. And when I felt it was being a bit reciprocated I was like, ‘Oh, hello’, and rolled with it. After I started spending more time with her I realised she was pretty special,” Schutt said. “I had to lock that down.”
It was another five months before Australian voters decided she ought to be able, via the heavily maligned postal vote. As an outspoken advocate of marriage equality, it was a difficult period for Schutt.
“I don’t think of myself as someone who is affected by what other people say; I’m generally pretty good at shaking shit off. But throughout that campaign it was pretty horrible, to be honest. To be compared to paedophiles, to be told that you’re an abomination and don’t deserve love or marriage is pretty hard hitting,” she said.
Though she concedes there were days where she let it get to her, Schutt persevered, using her ever-growing profile to help voters see the human side of what had become a political issue. When the legislation finally passed through Federal Parliament on December 7, Schutt was overwhelmed.
“It brought a tear to my eye, and I’m not much of a crier,” she said. “I was getting off a plane at the time, and my phone had been turned off. When I turned it on I had messages from a bunch of friends and family saying, ‘Time to start looking for a wedding venue. It’s happening.’ It was really special.”
Schutt and Holyoake have found that venue, in McLaren Vale wine country, and are looking to be married in April 2019. The details are still up in the air (neither are particularly organised, said Schutt) – aside from the jumping castle, which for Schutt is a must-have.
Mia Freedman is joined by sport fanatics Michelle Andrews and Gemma Garkut to unpack the rise of women’s sport, and why it’s taken so long. (Post continues below.)
Marriage equality was a vote of respect, in Schutt’s eyes. And she’s finally feeling the same in her professional life. The WBBL has gone a long way to helping female players achieve that. The 2018 season has attracted record crowds and television audiences, and brands are finally appreciating the value of female players.
Players like Schutt whose career began in the backyard and during recess, playing with the boys. Players like Schutt whose dedication and natural talent saw them rise through the ranks. Players like Schutt who only a matter of years ago were paid just a few thousand dollars, and are now able earn close to $200,000. Player’s like Schutt who used to hear, “Oh, there’s a girl’s team?”
“That surprise element is gone now, and we’re really just starting to earn the respect of people who enjoy cricket. There are always going to be those arseholes out there who go, ‘Eugh, women’s cricket is shit, it’s boring’, but people who appreciate true cricket know we have the technique and that we train hard,” she said.
“Obviously the money stuff is great and it’s nice to be rewarded for how hard we work, but at the end of the day what makes me happy is getting less negativity and more respect.”
This afternoon, Schutt and the Strikers are playing in the semi-final of the WBBL against the Sydney Sixes at Adelaide Oval, and she’s excited about the possibility of securing a finals spot in front of their fans. Especially the little ones.
“The kids on the boundary aren’t getting an autograph from a male or female player, they’re getting it from a Striker. That’s the biggest change,” Schutt said. “To have little boys know who you are, know you as a player, it’s just awesome.”
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