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Helena girls are playing more sports than ever.
Helena College girls are enthusiastic participants in a range of sports, including traditionally male sports of cricket and soccer. They have been encouraged and supported by our Physical and Health Education Department at the Glen Forrest Campus, led by Joe Kendall.
We asked Mr Kendall as the Head of Department to tell us more about girls and sport at Helena.
What are all the girls’ sport opportunities that you offer?
We offer a wide range of opportunities for both girls and boys within our regular PE lessons and carnivals as well as in our after-school sports programme. In regards to after-school sport, girls can choose to represent the College in AFL, frisbee, basketball, netball, AFL, soccer, hockey and cricket.
Girls’ cricket is the newest area of development for us and we look forward to building on our success in the inaugural girls’ season (2017). It is hoped that in 2018 the competition will expand to include girls from Years 7-10.
What’s the mood towards sport among Helena girls?
Extremely positive. The girls seem to have the right mix of being competitive whilst making sure they always enjoy themselves.
Have you noticed a change over the years?
The biggest change in attitude is in regards to girls playing in what were previously known as male sports. Ten years ago, girls were hesitant to play football and now the landscape has completely changed. As I have said before, it is much easier for us to fill our girls’ football teams than it is the boys. There are far fewer barriers to participation these days which is great.
Girls’ cricket is exploding at the moment and again it was easy for us to field a Years 7-8 girls cricket team last year. It is great to see girls enjoying themselves in sports that they weren’t typically participating in before now.
What do girls bring to sport that’s different to boys?
As I mentioned, the girls often find the right balance between being competitive but making sure they have fun. The girls demonstrate great sportsmanship and are often not fixated on results. Rather the emphasis is on being a part of a team and enjoying the experience. Last year’s cricket team is the best example: Mr Waterhouse and I were amazed at how the girls responded after losing the grand final having gone through the season undefeated. On the bus home, the mood was no different to the previous games and not one girl mentioned the result. Nobody blamed the umpires, another player or the weather.
What do you hope to achieve by supporting a diverse range of girls’ sport?
Our hope as a department is that we can encourage more girls to become active and participate in organised sports. We aim to demonstrate that there are no longer any barriers to participation and that if you enjoy a sport you should pursue it as far as you like. One of my proudest moments as a teacher has been seeing the Wallace girls join the first ever Women’s’ American Football team in this region (Swan City Titans). Their interest in this sport stemmed from the Year 10 American Football sports option and I encouraged them to pursue their love of the sport by joining the newly created local team.
In which girls’ sports are we strong?
Girls’ basketball is easily our number one sport in terms of success. Our NEAS teams are dominant every season and out of the nine possible championships, we have won seven over the last three years. In the Hills Basketball competition held every winter, our girls often win the championship as well which puts us through to the state finals and in 2013 our senior girls’ team progressed all the way through to the state final.
Girls’ AFL is another sport in which we are strong. We have always fielded a senior girls’ team and have had some good success along the way. Our junior girls’ teams of recent years have been our most successful even winning our region (which is the strongest in WA) back in 2015. I look forward to the day when I am watching some of those girls run onto the field as part of the AFLW. I shouldn’t have to wait too long as this could happen as early as next year.
We experienced great success in girls; cricket last year. We were the first school to nominate for the first ever after-school girls’ cricket league where we went undefeated in the regular season before losing by one wicket in the grand final. We have also been very strong over the last five years in the Milo T20 Blast competitions, often making the state finals rounds.
Girls’ soccer is another sport in which we have had a strong history. Our girls used to dominate the local scene, winning those competitions a number of years in a row. We then progressed all the way to the state quarterfinals on a number of occasions. The girls were unlucky to draw Woodvale as our opponents two years in a row which meant we were playing against pretty much the WA state team. The girls showed their talents though and only lost one game 1-0.
If you could invite any sportswoman to talk to our girls, who would it be and why?
A very tough question but I am going to go with Serena Williams. She is one of the greatest athletes of all time and is a great role model for all sports people.
If I could choose one other it would be Erin Phillips (Adelaide Crows) who is doing a great job of promoting the AFLW at the moment. Her realization of her childhood dream to be an AFL player is an inspiration to all.
Head of Department – Physical & Health Education (Glen Forrest Campus, Y6-12)