Ms Amy Woodgate | Director of Girls’ Boarding and Head of Middle School
Like millions of other Australians, I have found myself transfixed by the FIFA World Cup and the winning run of the Matildas. Whether you describe it as jumping on the bandwagon or being a true fan… I am well and truly a supporter of the Tillies. You can’t turn on the news, scroll through your news feed or pick up an actual paper without being bombarded with images of the Matildas. The statistics are pretty mind blowing.
And countless others at venues across the nation tuning in… including those of us on a Boarder Excursion to the EKKA watching via our phones while sitting in the Main Arena.
The phrase ‘you need to see it to be it’ rings true with the Matildas. We see it in the young boys and girls playing ‘penalty shoot out’ at lunchtime in the playground and arguing over who gets to be Sam Kerr or Mackenzie Arnold. We see it in the 12-year-old girl being told she can only play in the boys’ team but thinking her dream of playing for her country might still be possible. And we see it in the young new mum being inspired by someone like Katrina Gorry and seeing that maybe she can have a family and also continue doing what she loves. We need role models like the Matildas to inspire us, to tell their stories, to demonstrate that it’s not impossible and that it’s ok to dream big.
The largest Australian television audience ever, as well as the thousands via steaming platforms, tuned in on Saturday night to watch the incredible match and nail biting finish. The fact that this was for a women’s sporting match is important. Just a few weeks ago both the Women’s Ashes and Women’s State of Origin were broadcast live on free to air television. The winning run of the Australian Diamonds at the Netball World Cup was live on tv. The NRLW and AFLW both have games played every week that are televised live. This would not have been the case that many years ago and is something that should be acknowledged. Women’s sport is now not something that sits off to the side, it is just sport and is now a genuine part of the Australian sporting landscape, whether it being their live, or watching from your lounge room at home .
When we look to inspire our young people at SCOTS and connect them to our College values we often look to real life examples, examples like the Matildas.
It goes without saying that they embody Excellence. They are at the peak of their careers, playing not only for high performing international clubs but more importantly for their country on the biggest world stage that there is at the FIFA World Cup. They demand excellence from each other every day on and off the pitch.
Their Tenacity is evident. They are women who quite often have had to move overseas at a young age to pursue their dream. They have to balance their commitments as elite athletes with living a long way from family and friends, travelling extensively to do what they love and be able to bounce back and respond when the days are hard, they have an injury to rehab or simply miss home. The motto of the team during the World Cup is ‘til it’s done’… a true embodiment of tenacity in itself. And don’t get me started in the tenacity needed to deal with the pressure of a penalty shoot out on Saturday night or the intense media coverage Sam Kerr and her calf have received.
Spirit is at the core of the Matildas. As described in our Values statement at SCOTS PGC… spirit is what unites us. One look at the Matildas team and you can see how united they are. They also have that incredible ability to unite the general public to be 100% behind them… the millions of us who have become armchair experts in the World Cup over recent weeks are a testament to that.
In listening to any interviews with the team, Respect is at the core of what they do. From the outside looking in, they seem to wholeheartedly respect their sport, each other, their role as an inspiration for young boys and girls, the jersey they are wearing and the standard they are setting for all those who come after them.
When we look for role models for our young people, I do believe that it is those who are genuine and true to themselves that rise to the top and set the example. The Authenticity shown by the Matildas has been written or talked about in news stories or in their documentary series on Disney+. They are who they are. They share who they are with each other and with the public in a time where it would be often easier to shy away from the line light that this can bring.
As examples of our values, what better role models could we ask for?
I don’t know about you, but I know exactly where I will be on Wednesday night when they take the field against the English Lionesses… even as a fan, I’ll be there ‘til it’s done’.