We caught up with Natalie Spooner, an Olympic hockey gold medallist and a spokesperson for Fuelling Women’s Champions, to chat about women and sports.
Why don’t more women get involved in organized sports?
Where it starts is that there aren’t enough younger girls playing sports, and then when we get older, we tend to think it’s too late to start. But it’s important to mention that it’s never too late, even though sometimes it can be intimidating. It takes guts to try something new, especially if you’re not very good at it at first. Keep in mind that the first objective is fun, and there are always different levels of play. Find a team, clinic or class with other beginners so you can grow as players together. I meet women now who say they started playing hockey when they were 25 or 30, which is awesome because they’re trying something new and getting themselves out there.
Aside from a good workout, what else can we expect from playing a team sport?
For younger kids, sports builds a lot of key characteristics, such as teamwork, leadership and work ethic. As we get older, it can help improve time management and build friendships in different social circles.
Any tips for how to start a new sport?
Most gyms or fitness centres have websites that feature learning clinics. If you can’t find any offerings for a particular sport near you, perhaps you can start the ball rolling in your own community: Get your friends and family involved. If it’s seasonal sports you’re interested in, give it at least one season to feel it out, make friends on the team and take advice from players who have done it for a bit longer than you. They can even suggest other teams or options that may be a better fit. If you’ve never played the sport before, learn a bit about the sport before jumping in to give yourself confidence and make you feel more comfortable.
Fuelling Women’s Champions is a three-year initiative that shines a light on women in sport. The goal is to inspire youth and young girls to stay in sports and play for a healthy lifestyle. For more information, and to learn about the Champions Fund (a total of 20 grants of $5,000 given to deserving female athletes), visit womenchampions.ca.