Why I love this game—insight from a Tiger

Essay provided by Founding Member Kimberley Dickey

I am not young. Challenges ebb and flow, advance and retreat, but age only goes in one direction. However, experience, knowledge and practice also only go one direction. You do not lose them once you have them.

At my age, I can still fight. There is no lack of determination. Sports were never a great interest of mine; I never often followed or watched. After a short stint of mediocre basketball teamsmanship in middle school, I never played sports again. That is, until I was 41 years old.

I didn’t expect footy to be any different than basketball had been almost 30 years before it. I thought it might be interesting to see what it was all about, but was pretty convinced I’d find it as boring as NFL football. How wrong I was. Now, two years in, even in what feels like a terribly lengthy off season, all I want to do is play. All I want to do is play footy. It’s a constant theme.

I play like a girl, like a woman. I wear my footy fight like a badge of honor–I am so proud. I wear the badge of the wins and losses, and it’s reflected in my work, my relationships off the field, my family, how I raise my daughter, how I walk, how I vote, how I choose my lunch.

“[I] was pretty convinced I’d find it as boring as NFL football. How wrong I was.”

It’s reflected in how I respond to that person on the bus who has given the last seat to their backpack while I stand over them. Except I don’t stand over them; I take my determination, my confidence, the spirit of the powerful women on my team and this sport, and I look at that person and I ask, “Is this seat taken?” And then I take it.

Playing footy grows my skills, confidence and experience; it doesn’t mean I suddenly begin winning at life–playing footy means I show up and fight. I show up and fight for my team. Playing means I give my all, playing means giving up on only doing things that come easily to me and dedication to a game that makes no promises or guarantees. Playing means learning a whole new language and even at my age. Playing means I fight.

My age may be going in only one direction, but this game can go any direction and I am not giving up on it until the clock runs out.

“My playing may not make any difference to footy, but what the game does for me is immeasurable.”

Playing gives me something to love. My playing may not make any difference to footy, but what the game does for me is immeasurable. And you know what’s great about learning the game? That knowledge gets to go in another direction: I get to pass it onto new players, friends, and to my daughter.

I love this game.

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