A Ramble on Women's Cricket
2012 Page 2 : Previous Page 1
When I started typing this year I had not expected the name of Ellyse Perry to crop up twice in such a short time, but extensive media coverage in Australia recently has started something of a controversy down under. I repeat the links below first shown on my home page and which may be long out of date if you are reading this years after these words are typed (May 2012).
Canberra score own goal as Perry makes a stand : Two sides (?)
Other stories on this topic : from The Age : ABC1 : ABC2 : Perry quits Canberra
Perry can serve two masters : "We should be ashamed"
Club bids to secure sport's most wanted woman
MCC bid for Perry : Perry selected for Matildas
Perhaps my titling of these links will give you a clue as to my attitude to the affair. Some of the coverage (see the ABC links above) have suggested the coach of the Canberra football side is trying to make her club 'more professional'. Perhaps the right way to do that might be to give the players a 'more professional' salary. I doubt that's within her gift and I would suggest that when it is she might have a moral right to take the stance she has. However, coaches can apparently hire and fire at will, so an international player leaves the club and is replaced by - guess what - probably a similarly poorly paid but non-international player. If there's logic there it escapes me.
Now it is apparently true that this club has won all sorts of awards last season under this coach but this attitude baffles me. All sorts of metaphors flash through my mind - are the club - cutting of noses to spite their faces - too big for their boots (sorry) - shooting themselves in the foot - and I'm sure there are many more.
I have to say that should an international team - the Matildas - have made this comment I might have seen some logic in it although I would have been sad to see a young and obviously highly talented individual deprived of one sport or the other when she obviously so enjoys both, but a club - however successful?
You may like to know, if judging Perry's talents, she was also the first woman to play in the 108-year-old Men's Sydney Grade competition. Quote from "the Age"...Football Federation Australia officials were yesterday privately aghast at the ultimatum of Canberra United, which is chaired by federal sports minister Kate Lundy, as both sports have been happy to avoid that scenario given the respective positive publicity she generates for them.
Had I been wearing a hat at the time I picked up this news I'd have taken it off to Perry. If the mildest comment she made to Canberra (and I've no idea if she made any at all!)** was to tell them to shove it, then she obviously has excellent manners too. I am trying to think back to a similarly arrogant attitude from a club rather than country and remain unsuccessful. I have often made the point that women's sport is not men's. There have been times I have wished, in terms of remuneration, it was, but it simply isn't. When you pay the piper you might be able to call the tune, but hand them peanuts in comparison to their male counterparts and I suggest you not only have your priorities wrong but you've an inflated idea of your own importance. Indeed are there any men capable of playing these two most popular sports at top level? Perry is a remarkable sportsman and I was pleased to see popular comment in Australia is not unaware of that fact.
[** I learned later she is alleged to have simply said "I suppose I'll have to start looking for a new club" - It sounds like a remark made more in sadness than in anger. If this quote is true I have only admiration for her attitude].
Rather than carping at this talented individual I am surprised Canberra have not been doing their level best to hang on to her. She has not only international talent but great media pull which they are about to lose and lose in the face of some very unfavourable coverage. What were they thinking? Or indeed were they?
I find it hard to believe she will have difficulty finding somewhere else to kick a ball - good luck to her I say - she has been shabbily treated. I don't often find myself metaphorically clapping an Australian on the back and saying "Good on yer" but, England supporter as I am, I just have to on this occasion. She appears to have the support of most of her countrymen, and I am sure she has the support of many who regard her, in green and gold, as the 'old enemy'.
From the Sydney Morning Herald:
At the same time, surely Perry is justified in attempting to split her time when neither sport pays anything more than the loose change down the back of Michael Clarke and Harry Kewell's sofas.
Perry put the plight of many female athletes into context when she described herself as a professional "in the loose sense of the word". She is expected to be professional in her commitment, her performance – everywhere but at the ATM.
And now I read Perry has made her decision to try to continue playing two sports. So much interest has been generated in the story, a quick trawl of the 'Net revealed more than 160 news articles on the subject and comment from all sides. Perry herself remains stoutly polite in the face of what must be a very hurtful decision by the club to which she has patently given so much. Try this article...
Perry Quits Canberra
The relative situations of male and female athletes have not been more starkly highlighted for years. As one correspondent pointed out, a man in her position would already be set up financially for life and while it's true a man would have to chose between sports, he would not be trying to fit studying for an economics degree into the mix as Perry is currently doing. It is encouraging that at least one football club is actively seeking her services. I'd be surprised if she doesn't have several to chose from.
2012 Page 3