Stephanie Tirrell, Sport Lecturer and Course Manager, talks about her experiences in sports, being a female sport lead and making your voice heard.
The landscape of female sport is ever changing, and the opportunities now afforded to females across all levels are becoming more prevalent. At the 1900 Olympic games in Paris, only 2.2% of the events permitted female participation. At Los Angeles in 1984, this had grown to 23%. In comparison, the upcoming Tokyo games are due to have the highest percentage of opportunities for female athletes, with 48.8% of the events including a female champion.
Throughout both my educational and sporting life, I have been lucky to have strong female role models who’ve encouraged and facilitated my development, as well as being continually surrounded by inspirational teammates and colleagues who’ve continually pushed me to be better. Whilst at secondary school my PE teacher developed my love and passion of hockey and then, upon moving to my local FE college, again I was supported by strong female role models who ignited my passion within education. Both of these experiences inspired me to pursuit a career within the sporting industry, ultimately resulting within education and my role here at Moulton College.
Alongside my commitments as a lecturer and course manager across level 1, 2 & 3 sport, I am also part of the Buckingham Hockey Club 1st XI squad who currently compete within the Vitality Women’s National Premier Division, the highest domestic league within the country. In 2020 we were crowned the Jaffa Super 6s Indoor National Champions and were due to the representing England in the EuroHockey Women’s Trophy in Lithuania this February just gone. This has as you can imagine fallen foul of the pandemic, however we’re hopeful of getting our chance to represent English Hockey in 2022. During the summer months, I swap to Cricket playing for Rothley Park Leicestershire who, pre-pandemic, went unbeaten for an entire season and were named as the Midlands Premier Division Champions in 2019.
Acting as a role model for our learners, even more so from a female sporting perspective, in my opinion is key and this is something that I am now trying to implement at Moulton College with the inception of our own female athlete support programme which supplements the fantastic work we’re doing within our own academies. The support is there to encourage all young female athletes to continue to forge their own path forwards, enjoying and excelling in both their sport and education whilst going on to become to next generation of leaders.
Women’s sport has come a long way in the last number of years. With professional sport now offering clear pathways for young girls to aspire towards, now more than ever is the time to champion and encourage this. Sport has given me so much from lifelong friends, sporting highs and even a career. Females are now in a position where our voices are as loud as the rest and for our learners going forwards within their sporting and educational endeavours, they should never fear being heard.