By AMY STOCKWELL.
Do you know “The Mighty ‘Bras”? No, they’re not about lifting and separating, but they are about support.
The Zebras women’s soccer team (known as The Mighty ‘Bras) are from Brunswick and they play in the Melbourne Open Women’s League. The youngest player on their team is in her early 20s. The eldest is in her 50s. Established in 2003, they are an adult sports team of women who play soccer because they love it. Most had never played before they joined the Zebras – and they have played through pregnancies, knee reconstructions and asthma attacks.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is brought to you by our partners at Fernwood Fitness. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.
They have used the interchange rules so that players can leave the field to breastfeed (one player returned to the field just four weeks after giving birth). They take pride in their bruises, scars and injuries – as well as their increasing skills. The Bras play a smart game and a fun game. See them in action here on Channel 10’s The Circle, here on Channel 7’s Sunrise and here in their own video.
If you haven’t worked it out already – I want to be a Mighty Bra.
You see, I didn’t stick with sport as a child. I wasn’t considered “good at” sport by my teachers. When I was in my final year in primary school, I was made to play in the fourth-string team with seven year olds (while the other girls in my class played in the A-team), which was crippling for my 12 year old self esteem
I never got back into sport – and I regret it. Even now, I tell people that I don’t like team sports, but the truth is that I have never really played them because my experience as a child was so discouraging. It’s not until I heard about The Zebras that I’ve even thought about joining an adult sports team.
It’s a shame because there are so many benefits for girls (and women) who stick with team sports. If you have a daughter, here are a few reasons why you should support her to stay with it.
Firstly, if your daughter likes sport, it’s a great idea to take the time to support her to pursue her passion – which will help her to value herself. “Full engagement with an activity she loves will give[your daughter] the opportunity to master challenges, which will boost her self-esteem and resilience and affirm intrinsic values rather than appearance,” says Rachel Simmons, author of Odd Girl Out.
But if your daughter doesn’t seem particularly athletic, it’s still important to encourage her to stay with sport (importantly, one that she likes). Catherine Steiner-Adair, Ed.D., co-author of Full of Ourselves: A Wellness Program to Advance Girl Power, Health and Leadership , says “It’s important to help even non-athletic girls develop some physical competence and confidence when they’re young. Whether it’s through team or individual sports, girls need to form a physical relationship with their body that builds confidence.”