Listening to Radio 4 this morning, I heard the current Lord Montagu of Beaulieu talking about his grandfather who, having produced a girl as his first born, was anxious that the second child should be a boy, to take over the estate. When child number two also turned out to be a girl, his Lordship was so shocked that he had to take himself off to the Ritz for a week to recover. (Ah, those were the days!).
A story from a bygone era, maybe, but it set me thinking. Where are the ladies in local grass-roots sport? At a national level there some amazing female role-models. Jessica Ennis-Hill was a runner up for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year ; Britain’s lady footballers, cricketers and hockey players have been outshining the men recently ; the GB tennis number one , Joanna Konta, comes from just down the coast at Eastbourne , and there are medal-winners at Olympic and World Championship level in triathlon, rowing, sailing, athletics, cycling – and the list goes on.
But where are they locally? Rye and the surrounding area has over 25 clubs and organisations representing different sports, but how many actually field a ladies team? Rye has no football club at the moment, but we regularly report on the progress of nearby men’s teams – but no ladies. The same goes for cricket: we have a very active and successful cricket club whose fixture list for 2016 we have published elsewhere this week, but no ladies teams feature.
There are, of course, exceptions. The Tennis Club has a very active ladies section who regularly play matches both home and away, the Sailing Club has a dinghy section where girls compete on equal terms with the boys and the cruiser section has an annual Ladies Cup race. The Bowls Club has a ladies team and recently I presented trophies to female winners in the Boules League and I am sure (and would hope) that there must be others.
So come on, girls. If you’re out there doing something, tell us about it. We want to know and, more important, we want others to know and to be encouraged to follow your example. Sport – any sport – can be fun, exciting, stimulating, healthy and often very sociable. No one expects you to be another world champion heptathlete, swimmer, cyclist etc, and you can be good, bad or indifferent – it doesn’t matter – the important thing is that, as the Nike tag line puts it, you Just Do It.
Rye News library photos