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Paula Chance – My #WSW16

Paula Chance, a Women’s Sport Network member tells us all about her Women’s Sport Week.

It’s Women’s Sport Week! And I am celebrating by cramming everything I can in. Yesterday (not technically WSW but I’m going to include it anyway) I was part of a team coaching a roller derby bootcamp; today I went to Sport for Success, run by Women In Sport; Wednesday I’m going to see Chelsea Ladies take on Wolfsberg at Stamford Bridge; Saturday I’m bench coaching at a roller derby 7s tournament in Birmingham and on Sunday I have 3 hours of roller derby training, followed by 2 hours of coaching. Each of these events is so exciting, humbling, inspiring and emotional.

I’ve been playing roller derby with Croydon Roller Derby for 3.5 years and although I enjoyed playing and was involved in the league it’s only been the last year or so that a fire has taken over me. I have training twice a week and coach once a week, but when I’m not there I’m making myself fitter and stronger so that I’ll be better at training; I’m doing more and more in my spare time so that CRD can keep growing. I live and breathe roller derby. It’s not a glamourous sport – we’re often covered in bruises, it’s expensive to play, we give blood, sweat and tears and rarely get recognition for it. But we do it because we love it. Roller derby has changed my life and if you ask any of the girls who play it, they will say the same.

This is why I think it’s so important to get women and girls involved in sport. For most of my adult life I went to the gym so that I could keep fit or look a certain way. I didn’t particularly find a joy in it. At school I wasn’t particularly athletic – I was left with shot put during sports day because our PE teachers didn’t spend the time encouraging us or finding out what we enjoyed. Even the more athletically inclined girls weren’t given many options. Netball or rounders… that was it. This sort of thing makes girls think that sport “isn’t for them”.

Women and girls need to know that there are so many sports out there that they can do and love. This is why Women’s Sport Week is imperative.

It gives a platform to sports and teams that the public don’t often get to see, giving options to women and girls while also promoting women’s sport.