Monday, May 20, 2019

NOT JUST A BLOKE’S DOMAIN

NOT JUST A BLOKE’S DOMAIN

 

By Nick Brown

With the recent recognition of Womens’ Round in the EFL, it is a well-known fact that feScreen Shot 2012-12-07 at 1.26.06 PMmales are an important part of the fabric of football. At Chirnside Park, trainer Lauren Mowat is living proof that football clubs, whilst male-dominant, certainly aren’t exclusive.  Mowat is far from the first female to fly the flag in football for women, but there is something that stands out about her.

While most other 20-year-old girls are playing netball or shopping on a Saturday afternoon, she’s giving rubdowns, strapping players and volunteering her whole day to football.  But it isn’t just weekends that Lauren gives up, as you’ll also find the young trainer down at the club working hard on Tuesday and Thursday nights.  It might seem a bit ‘rare’ that a 20-year-old is volunteering as a trainer for a football club, though Mowat admitted it is a passion of hers, and explained how it all came about.

“Growing up, I loved sport and whatever form it came in really. I do still play netball and still enjoy shopping though,” she admitted.  “But due to my father's influence (Lauren’s father Rob is the club secretary this year) I have always been involved with the Chirnside Park Football Club including years of service as a volunteer with my father on the club BBQ.  “My dad would always take my brother and I to go and watch Chirnside play on a Saturday or Sunday, and through my dad’s heavy involvement I heard about a position available for a trainer.”

At first, the thought of being a medical trainer for the club was something Mowat was unsure about, but she gave it some thought and hasn’t looked back since.  “After much consideration I thought it would be great practical experience, in a familiar environment, with people I was already partially associated with,” she added.  Taking on a new role is always daunting to begin with and it was no different, perhaps even more daunting for Mowat as she was a young female working in a male-dominated sport.  While having the football rooms as a working environment may seem far from ideal for a female, Lauren said that while it was tough at start, now it feels like home.

“At first it was confronting being in an environment with so many blokes, but I was quick to adapt to their culture and I must give credit to the boys as they are very respectful of us female trainers,” she said.  “They will usually apologize for any swearing. Boys are boys and they aren’t always modest but they try.  “We have a great relationship with the player’s which is very important because the players need to be able to trust us especially on game days with any injuries and so forth.”  Having toughed out the initial honeymoon period in her role as a medical trainer, Mowat has since gone ahead in leaps and bounds and it seems accepting the offer from Chirnside Park has been the right decision.  Mowat hasn’t just turned up and got the job done at the club, she has taken all before her and is continuing to do so, recognized with a number of awards.

Her biggest accolade of 2011 was being named the AFL Sportsready Trainee of the Year. Sportsready trainees spend a year working in sport for a year after fi nishing high school.  Lauren is also in the running to take out yet another AFL award, but will have to wait until the end of the month to find if she will go past the finalist stage.  “At the end of April this year I won the AFL Sportsready Trainee of the Year award,” she said.  “Also at the start of April I was a finalist in the Casey Apprentice/Trainee of the Year award and the AFL has further nominated me for the Skills Hub SPARTS (Sport and Arts) awards where I have recently been told I am a finalist.”  Even though Mowat appears to have a promising career ahead of her as a medical trainer, the 20-year-old doesn’t have any real aspirations of taking her training career beyond the Eastern Football League.

When she isn’t down at the club, Mowat is spending her time slaving away over the books as she tries to finish her Bachelor of Applied Science; a career in which she wishes to pursue most.  Although choosing teaching over training, Mowat said being a trainer hasn’t been a waste of time and that in fact it has provided her with invaluable experience.  “I am currently studying a Bachelor of Applied Science (Physical Education) at university which ultimately will lead me down the path of becoming a teacher.  “However, I have always had an interest in exercise science, especially rehabilitation. Being a medical trainer is definitely giving me heaps of experience in a field of work that I love.  

“My dream or plan for the future in term of the line of work I want to do is still debatable, but there is no doubt that I see sport playing an important role.”  Racking up awards and being in the spotlight as a young female in football is great, but Mowat said she hopes what she has done and continues to do can encourage other females.  She may not be flying the flag for females in football like some more high-profile women but she is trying to send out the message to other aspiring female footy lovers.   “Being a young female in a male dominated sport really helps make me feel like I can make a difference because every week I am challenged to work with a lot of strong minded, prideful males,” she said.   “Being able to get along so well with them shows me that I have the will power and strength to many things. I don’t look at myself as flying the flag for females in sport.  “But I do feel that it is important especially in today’s culture to make sure that females are getting involved in sport even football.  “Whether it’s as a trainer, volunteer, being a committee member or even a player, this way we are ensuring that the art of football can still be appealing to females.” empowering health esteem.