“Inspired to respect myself again” — a return to athletics

Jessie Coatney is a rookie not only to the Centennial Tigers, but also to the sport of Australian rules football. Read her take on what it means to join a new sport later in life.

I have been a part of team sports since elementary school (with a long hiatus after high school up until now). I participated in soccer, swimming, golf, volleyball, tennis, basketball, softball, and my favorite: rugby.

My mom never pushed me to stick to one sport–or even to play sports to begin with–so I think this has given me an advantage to be able to quickly pick up new skills.

Some of my fondest memories simply involve being a part of a team. In my second season of high school rugby, our team plowed over competition left and right all season, won state, and fared pretty well at nationals. Those wins were the icing on the cake.

Some of my fondest memories simply involve being a part of a team.

I always enjoyed sports but never considered myself competitive until rugby took a hold of me. Getting my hands on a footy for the first time brought back all of those awesome memories. I can’t make any promises regarding how I will perform for the Tigers, but I will give it everything I have and maybe a little more.

Jessie Coatniey (center of middle row with her high school rugby team.

Tenacity, Integrity, Grit, Empowerment, Respect, and Sportsmanship

These are the core values of the Centennial Tigers Australian Rules Football Club that brought our us together and make each of its members successful. 2020 is my rookie season, and the Tigers’ inaugural season. So while we can’t train together during this pandemic, our determined leaders, veterans, and rookies have been hard at work finding ways to connect with and help each other.

This team has grown immensely since I joined a few months ago thanks to our founding members and their determination to grow the game, our team, our athletes, and themselves.

I voiced my concerns with playing the sport, and they knocked all of those reasons out of my head.

I have come to learn that the Tigers care and are a diverse group of women who are really good at supporting others. The encouragement I received and fun I had at the first couple events really showed me that these ladies play hard and share a passion to hone their own skills as well as others’.

I think it’s safe to say that every Tiger has faced difficult challenges in life and a wonderful product of that are women who persist and support themselves and others’ zeal for footy (and the many other things we have in common). The first time I met a few of the Tigers I was taken aback at how warmly I was welcomed. I voiced my concerns with playing the sport (I feel I’m out of shape, old, scared of injury, etc.), and they knocked all of those reasons out of my head. I left that meeting feeling so freaking excited. I still am.

This group of athletes has inspired me to respect myself again, get back on a pitch (even if it’s for a sport I have little to no knowledge about), and kick my own butt. It’s exciting Colorado now has women’s footy teams, which gives us all an opportunity to sharpen our skills and gain new ones.

This group of athletes has inspired me to respect myself again, get back on a pitch.

I am proud to be a Centennial Tiger. I am honored these ladies accept me as one and appreciate what I have to offer. I can’t wait to get out there with all of them and show the world what we’ve got!

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