Before we start, quite of you said you were interested/excited about this post. I just want to thank you for that. I was considering scrapping this post because I didn’t think anyone would read it, but due to your comments, I decided to keep it. I’m proud of this post. I love this book, and I hope the rest of you do too.
I’ve never been a lover of sport. In fact, before this year I’d never even been to a sporting event. I never felt like I had access to sport. I remember in Year 8, we got to sign up for the sports we wanted—I was excited because there was a netball team and the sport was at its height of popularity with my friends and I that year. My friend and I made the lowest team, and we were out of our minds with excitement. Then a teacher pulled me aside and asked if I was allowed to do sport.
I remember feeling so embarrassed. So disheartened. I got medically cleared to play at school, and I did but the next term when we selected our Winter sport, all my excitement was gone. I let myself be excluded in the competition that term and got a new doctor’s note to say I could no longer participate in P.E class.
I never participated in sports events after that, and no one questioned it after a look at my leg.
2017: The Year of Change
I don’t know what it was, but I started this year will a new interest in sport. I accepted that there is very little I can do with my leg—some days walking around the house is hard enough, but I wanted to try. As I get older, I know that my leg is going to get worse and I told myself I had to try something. I’ve yet to actually do anything, but that’s a story for another time.
I suddenly had a new interest in watching sport. More specifically, ice hockey. As you might have seen, Michelle and I went to an ice hockey game this year. I loved it. The atmosphere was incredible, and it was just a lot of fun. I definitely want to go back. But I’d never had this interest before. Sport was always my dad’s thing. Just as video games were my brother’s, and reading was mine and mum’s. But I wanted to have new experiences this year, and try different things! Sport seemed like a viable option.
I walked away from that ice hockey match feeling energised and enthused about sport in a way that I hadn’t before. I wanted more of it.
Eat Sweat Play
Here’s where Eat Sweat Play by Anna Kessel comes in. I’ve had my eye out for this book for ages, but I never found a copy. I finally managed to get my hands on one from the library, and the day it came in, I picked it up and read half of it in one go.
I was messaging Michelle throughout saying ‘this book!’ and ‘my life is changing’, and all that sort of stuff. With us doing our Adventures with T&T posts, we’ve both been thinking a lot about new things we can try and places we can go. This book made me want to throw on some workout clothes and join a sport immediately.
A lot of the book is about women’s place in sport, both watching and playing. I’d never really thought about how we get shaped into believing sport isn’t for us. And that made me angry, because I wholeheartedly believe that we, as women, can do whatever we choose to do. It made me want to attend every sporting event possible just to prove I could.
I’ve read a few books about feminism that I enjoyed, but ultimately couldn’t find myself in. Disability is often missing from discussions of feminism, and I hate it. So as much as I was enjoying this book, I had that in the back of mind the whole time. Lo and behold, we got disability. I honestly could have cried when Kessel starting talking about disabled women’s places in sport. I felt like I was standing up to that teacher who pulled me aside. I was saying ‘no, I can do this. You can’t stop me’. I felt euphoric.
How it’s changed
I bought myself my first pair of workout clothes the day after I started this book. I’ve yet to use them, but I now own a pair of leggings for the first time. I’ve looked out sports that I can join, even with my limited abilities and I just have to decide which one to try first. I’m finally ready to get back out there and be active having given that up at 13.
I owe that to this book.
Please read it.