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At school they have recently just started cricket as a sporting option for the girls, and having joined the team, in the 8 weeks of the summer term every single one us (the team) including myself have experienced countless displays of sexism.
Firstly, the boys 1st XI at school- I will start by saying this doesn’t apply to every member of the boys 1st team (and a handful of them have been extremely supportive, encouraging and helpful, giving tips and advice aswell as running some drills for us in training. Which I know all of us really appreciate) but as my friends and I have counted 3/4 them (and this is only the boys 1st team not including some of the other boys, and even teachers) have made many, *MANY* digs, comments about the idea of having ‘GIRLS plays CRICKET?!’ “You do realise the ball is actually hard” “Why don’t you stick to rounders” “the idea of the girls cricket team is an embarrassment to both the school and the sport” “they only did it to get the kit”. Besides all the comments, there are also the glares, the sniggers, the laughs, when they walk past us training aswell as every time the sport cricket, or girls sports options come up in lessons, where not just the boys first team, but many boys (and even the odd girl) dropping their sexist comments.
I do realise we arnt yet amazing, or ready to step into lords cricket ground for a game any time soon. But for everyone of us this of us this is the first time we have ever played the sport, we are still learning the rules, and techniques, it goes without saying we arnt amazing, not because we are ‘girls’ but because we have only just started. Who says some of the boys who play in the first team, or any team for that matter were the next Fred Trueman upon there first ever attempt at bowling?
BUT, we all LOVE the sport so far, and not a single person on the team isn’t super enthusiastic or excited for next training session and anything cricket (despite the constant sexism we seem to be facing) but it’s now lead to some of the team feeling embarrassed and nervous to play, some are now afraid they will drop the ball and people will see and judge them, that they are happy to be put as one of the last to bat as they don’t want people to laugh if they miss. The other day our ball bag went missing and 2 of the team were asked to go to the next pitch to ask the head cricket coach (who was coaching many of sexist 1st XI) for some of their balls. The 2 girls were too worried the boys were going to make digs, and after being told they were silly for thinking this from the girls coach, the entire team said they would feel the same had they been asked to fetch the balls. After they did go to get the balls they had received 3 comments from the boys aswell as many laughs and sniggers.
I personally think this is so outrageous, and unacceptable, not just that one incident, (and it was one of many, I won’t list them all) but the whole all of it, Is it REALLY that big of a deal? Girls playing cricket? Girls playing sport? NO! And I must say we appreciate that the head of sport has now had some stern words with some of them (however the boys havnt taken much notice) and the head of cricket is just as genuinely enthusiastic and excited about the girls cricket team as we are.
Also, my own uncle said to me “why are you playing cricket, it’s bit of a manly sport for a girl like you” when he saw me wearing my kit after training. This filled me with anger. Also, when playing in a cricket match and I was off, sitting and watching a grandad spectator I was talking to said when I was called on to play ” watch you don’t chip a nail” before slapping my bum. (?!?!?!?!?!?!?) It honestly makes me sick in this day and age such sexism is still going on! I do realise people are victims of far worse sexist offences, but just simply girls playing some cricket has sparked THIS much? It also really highlights it’s just as big of an issue amongst the young as the old, and isn’t just an ‘generation difference’ as those my age and younger are part of the problem so blaming the old guy that slapped my bum aswell as my uncle, the ‘generation difference’ is NOT an excuse as it’s clearly having a MASSIVE impact on the younger/my generation.
I won’t name the other and main sport I participate in. But it’s a sport society labels a ‘girls’ sport, but if I found out if they were making a boys team I would be so happy and excited that more people are participating in it, and not once would it cross my mind that ‘BOYS are doing a GIRLS sport?!?’, as I really HATE accosiating or labelling genders with sports. Even if someone, regardless of their sex wasn’t very good the sport I do, seeing their passion and enthusiasm would make me equally excited and enthusiastic and I would be eager to help if they ever wanted it. Why is it any different with GIRLS doing ‘BOYS sports’ it’s not fair. I do appologise for the long story, but sport is somthing that should NOT have any gender boundaries, and something that can bring so much happiness and joy to everyone who wishes to take part. So if a girl is playing football, or a boy playing netball, please courage them, and say good on them as its no different to boys playing football or girls playing netball.