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My Daughter Plays Rugby

My husband wrote the most brilliant post over on LinkedIn I just had to share..


My daughter Kitty is eight and three quarters years old and plays for the Seaforth Buccaneers Under 9 rugby union team, on the Northern Beaches here in Sydney.

My daughter does not play touch rugby but full contact rugby that requires a gum shield, under garment padding, a head guard and also some steely resolve. She also does not play in a single-sex team but a mixed team (allowed up until the age of 12). She is the only girl on the team and to date I have seen only one other girl play on an opposing team during the last 7 games.

Why is this?

If you follow LinkedIn’s CHRO, Pat Wadors, you have certainly heard about the concept of DIBs (Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging) and the article Pat wrote(Pushing Doors Open on Diversity & Inclusion). What is my take on DIBs? It needs to start early. Furthermore, is a mindset that requires exposure to real-life experiences to truly become proficient. In fact, Pat Wadors herself experienced a very similar situation as Kitty’s as she played on an all-boys baseball team growing up.

What I've learnt from Kitty is that it starts with inclusion and belonging. These are the key ingredients. Kitty is building a ​self-​confidence and assertiveness that I hope she'll capitalize on later in life. What’s more? She’s not the only one benefiting. I also believe that the young boys on the team will be more open and inclusive people for having played with my daughter. I’m proud to know Kitty is blazing a powerful and unique trail, not only for herself but for the future of girls just like her.

Where can we change?

Coaches play a key role in the early lives of children. They set examples for what adults perceive to be fair and commendable, right, and wrong (just like parents do). While they are learning to commit to the DIBs mindset, it often stops short from the fear of offending someone.

Sometimes we get so lost in the details that we aren’t able to take action on the bigger picture We get too fixated on words and by trying to show an understanding of diversity, we create sub-groups and consequently make the differences between two diverse people more prominent.

My daughter doesn't care if she is called a guy, a gal or a lad. All she cares about is being part of a team and doing something she's passionate about.

How do I feel as a Father?


Unbelievably proud for my daughter yet saddened that she is underrepresented.

I come from a family of five boys and a father who are all die hard rugby players and fans. When I was younger it was my whole life and the teachings of the game and the camaraderie of playing, have served me well in later life and in part made me who I am.

Yes, we passed rugby balls around when my kids were younger but never did I force the sport on her. It was her choice, it was her decision, it has become her passion.

Kitty doesn't play with boys, she plays with her friends. Likewise they don't see her as a girl but someone who wants to play their beloved sport (and is good at playing it). When she plays her matches she doesn't get singled out as the only girl or given privileges, she holds her own, expects no special treatment and plays hard but fair. But most importantly, she loves it.

As adults we see it as our duty to guide and teach our children. That's true but we also need to look upon our children as those who can educate us. I truly believe prejudice is learnt, but can also be unlearnt. Sometimes it takes our children to open our adult eyes and hearts to that.

4 comments

  1. I am the only girl in my house, with 3 sons and a husband. Rugby was a huge part of my life with my husband and then eldest son.... But the last 2 years I have helped coach the girls 7s team at my work and I have become my own rugby lover in my own right. I love that girls are playing rugby and playing well and being a part of a team. I hope Kitty continues to play, grow and love this game!

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    1. How fab Sharon.. Kitty will play for a long time to come I am sure of that :)

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  2. I am sure she will keep playing rugby for long time but there are times when players get hurt while playing so you have Physiotherapy North Ryde to her and your team well soon without losing any time and let them play with their full joy.

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