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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

27 year dream for Manchester City Women's keeper and JBG? patron Andie Worrall



This years elite football league FA Women's Super League kicks off in April for its fourth season boosted by a second tier for the first time along with promotion and relegation. Long term established grass roots Women's team Manchester City WFC have a squad in the top flight for the very first time and 27 years on from first keeping goal our patron Andie Worrall will be stepping out  with her team mates into the big time as a proud Mancunian.
 

Here is a bit of an insight through Andie as to what has been going on in the build up to this season kick off from a Manchester City (and FA Wales) perspective.

February 2014 saw Just a Ball Game? have our pop-up exhibition displayed at the National Football Museum in Manchester for 6 days as part of LGBT History Month 2014 celebrations. On that Wednesday evening we hosted a panel Q&A with some of our patrons and guests from within football including the Professional Footballers’ Association, Kick it Out and the FA which was open to the public to attend and was also recorded by a BBC5Live team lead by Math of the Day presenter Mark ‘Chappers’ Chapman for one of their radio specials.

 Our patron and LGBT ROLE MODEL of the YEAR 2013 winner Andie Worrall was one of the guests on that panel. As everyone took their seats for an intriguing and mature debate on Homophobia in football and the inclusion and visibility of LGBT people who play the game Andie was presented with a FA Wales cap which she had earned some 12 years earlier playing as goalkeeper and captain for the Welsh women’s team (one of 6 she gained at that time) a cap which back then had been sent to her Merseyside club and had gone missing. Very few people ever get to play international sport and representing your country at what you do is a huge honor within the women’s game, and it was sad to see that a memento from that place in  history wasn’t with it’s right full owner, so we at Just a Ball Game? decided to track it down and re-unite Andie with  the said cap. 

                                                                                   (c) Paul Prole Photography.


The Welsh FA have also been keeping tabs on Andie through the close season and her fitness, and we are proud to say that several weeks ago she was approached by the manager and coaching staff and asked back into that fold, albeit it only as a standby keeper for recent international due to full time work commitments.

As part of the build up to an intense training package for the new team mates at Manchester City which include a mixture of the existing players and the inclusion of a string of Internationals, four of whom play for England, captain Steph Houghton, Goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, Midfielder Jill Scott and Striker Toni Duggan and New Zealander Betsy Hassett the team were taken off to warmer climate of La Manga for a few days training and bonding.

We caught up with Andie a few days in to ask how things were going?
JBG?- “ What’s going on out there with you girls? What’s the winter weather like out there as we know you don’t go much for the cold? And what else have you been getting up to, is there much free time etc to see anything of the surroundings? Tell us what it’s like pre-season for an FA WSL team”

Andie, “It’s a little bit wet and windy if I am honest not the sunniest of days but not cold either although I am still wrapped up when we train, and the pitches and facilities are first class which actually make for great  pre-season training conditions after all we are here to work.”
“We have all been roomed with another player so there is quite a bit of bonding going on as we all get to know each other, and there are a few high jinx to be found when we have our relaxation time.”

“We are pretty much isolated out here miles away from anywhere really, no shops or bars,or sightseeing, but this makes a perfect place to get on with things with no distractions. We do have our down time to let our bodies recover so we are having to make our own entertainment and the girls seem to be enjoying the tunes blasting out (which are not to my cup of tea) give me Arcade Fire and Indie tunes any day as opposed to the music they have on which is very poppy and rap or R& B orientated.”

“The food is great out here the caterers are doing a great job of building up our strength with some tasty pasta, chicken and fish, and they also do a mean cake!”


                                                                                                                      (c) Paul Prole Photography.




Lindsay England   -Founder Just a Ball Game?

Thursday, March 06, 2014

JUST A BALL GAME? support -LGBT History Month 2014

        
                JUST A BALL GAME?-LGBT History Month 2014.

Well that was another hectic LGBT History Month for us all at JUST A BALL GAME?
 
Firstly our new banners which formed part of our JBG? pop-up exhibition were on display for the first week of the awareness raising  month at the National Football Museum in Manchester, the same venue then hosted our very first patrons evening, when two of our patrons Manchester City WFC’s goalkeeper Andie Worrall, and former player and PFA chairman now author and TV pundit Clarke Carlisle were joined by other invited guests to interact with members of the public in a Q&A and debate around LGBT inclusion and the effects of homophobia in football, all of which was recorded by the BBC for their news reel camera team and audio from the event hosted by Mark Chapman was put out as part of a BBC 5Live special a few days later.
One of the guests we had for the event was Liam Davis a Gainsborough Trinity player who announced publicly a few weeks earlier that he was a gay man, thus becoming the highest level (at Conference North) active player in the English game. We are very proud to say that Liam has agreed to come on board as one of our patrons, and we will  have him inducted in to our exhibition in the near future.

                                  (Liam Davis  with JBG? volunteer Carol)

Following on from this we were pleased to be able to team up with some local female footballers who are now playing in the FA Futsal 5’s league in our JBG? t-shirts under the name of JUST A BALL GAME? and  the women have got off to a great start lying in second place at the end of the month with a least a game in hand on all other teams.

We are also pleased to announce that as part of this year’s LGBT History Month our good friends and partner club AFC Rushden & Diamonds have added our campaign logo to the back of their first team shirt for the remainder of this season to showcase their support towards an LGBT community.

Our JBG? mascot ‘Castro’ and same sex partner ‘Milk’ were part of the To Russia With Love sporting event  evening in February arranged by Pride House Manchester and a number of LGBT and local businesses from Canal St  which brought together activists and the general public to show support to the LGBT community in Russia many of whom were local to the Winter Olympic Games held in Sochi, but are unable to live their lives freely and openly due to recent laws brought in by the Russian government.



     (Our JBG? mascots Castro and Milk supported by Serenity Security)




Our profile being raised once more by these events has also seen a call for us to distribute the remaining rainbow laces we had in stock and many more individuals and sports teams across the country are now supporting our campaign and raising awareness alongside us.

Monday, January 13, 2014

JUST A BALL GAME? Q&A for LGBT History Month


                                       JUST A BALL GAME? Q&A for LGBT History Month

.National Football Museum

Todd Street M4 3BG Manchester
United Kingdom

Wednesday, 5 February 2014 from 18:00 to 21:00 (GMT)


Just A Ball Game? proudly present:

This a Q&A session and debate on homophobia in football and other sports with our patrons Clarke Carlisle,( Andie) Andrea Worrall, Maria Exall and Kieron Brady and guest speaker AFC R&D chairman Ralph Burditt, and Gainsborough Trinity's Liam Davis.
.For more info on our patrons :http://www.justaballgame.co.uk/patrons
The event is in partnership with The Professional Footballers' Association and Kick It Out
The event is to be recorded by the BBC for 5Live to air a few days later and will be hosted by Mark Chapman.

The evening Q&A will take place between 6pm and 9pm on Wednesday 5th February in the Atrium of the museum close too our exhibition.The first floor of the museum  and our exhibition will be open to guests and public with tickets from 6pm-6.45pm, and refreshments will be served during the 2 recording slots.

Official reception and social at Taurus Bar no1 Canal St.from 9pm.
We will be selling raffle tickets at the event to be drawn at Taurus Bar, prizes include a signed item from MCLFC, signed Monty Panesar shirt, Harrods Wedgewood tea set used in a photo shoot  by the most decorated female tennis player of all time, Martina Navratilova!


https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/just-a-ball-game-qa-for-lgbt-history-month-tickets-9898149632

Other guests to be announced shortly.
Please print your tickets to gain entry to the events.







Lindsay England -founder.
info@justaballgame.co.uk
justaballgame@co.uk

Sunday, January 05, 2014

JUST A BALL GAME? pop-up exhibition for LGBT HISTORY MONTH 2014



                           
      
                  POP-UP EXHIBITION FOR LGBT HISTORY MONTH 2014.

We at Team Just A Ball Game? are very proud to announce that from 1st-6th February 2014 our  pop-up exhibition will be available for public viewing at the NATIONAL FOOTBALL MUSEUM housed in the Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens, Todd St, Manchester, Greater Manchester M4 3BG .tel-0161 605 8200.
As an extra to this exhibition JBG? will also host a Q&A event evening in partnership with The Professional Footballers' Association and Kick It Out on February 5th, from 6pm -9pm (the museum will open the 1st floor to visitors from 6pm-7pm) and which will be recorded for BBC5live.Tickets which are free can be ordered from here:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/just-a-ball-game-qa-for-lgbt-history-month-tickets-9898149632

Campaigns organisation Just A Ball Game? which looks at homophobia and other issues faced by Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people who participate in varying ways in football and other sports is proud to bring you this pop-up exhibition which uses a variety of visual educational boards which aim to raise awareness around LGBT issues and homophobia while at the same time being a visible insight to people who are an ‘out and proud’ part of an LGBT community.

Committee member of JBG?  Alan Mercel-Sanca  says, “Whether gay or heterosexual, it is not enough to passively absorb awareness of the many cruel and psychologically disturbing acts of homophobic bullying – this is a recipe for depression or worse. What is required to effect real change and release from such a vicious circle is that the sources of homophobia be fully identified, recognised, and seen for what they are: that those who in consequence are influenced by them and cause so much harm, are also seen for what they are – incomplete and easily influenced people.”

Sport as a whole at present only touches on diversity and inclusion for those who identify as LGBT, and although a number of LGBT people are involved in sport at grass roots level are ‘out’ to family, friends, team mates and club officials, those who participate at elite level and are ‘out’ publicly are few and far between.

Founding director of Just A Ball Game? Lindsay England says: “We hope to make use of the wonderful and dynamic exhibition as part of our on-going campaign work to raise awareness around homophobia and help mainstream sport to be more inclusive of a number of diversity issues and help create a safe space for both LGBT people and those who are perceived to be ‘LGBT’ to achieve their potential. The education element of this exhibition encourages an understanding of issued faced by LGBT people and at the same time highlights role models for a younger generation to aspire too.


The National Football Museum.


The National Football museum was founded in 2001 by Kevin Moore (Director), Rob Pratten, Mark Bushell, Hugh Hornby and Lynsey Jones (Exhibition Curators/Researchers/Exhibition Authors). The museum's first site was outside Deepdale, Preston, Lancashire. Deepdale was particularly significant as it is the oldest continuously used football league ground in the world. The museum's president is World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton.
In 2003 the museum and the University of Central Lancashire established the International Football Institute to conduct research into historical, social and cultural aspects of football. In December 2008, chairman of the Football League, Brian Mawhinney caused controversy when he suggested that the Museum should be moved from Preston to Wembley Stadium in order to attract more visitors. Founder Kevin Moore, stated that it had been an aim to have an exhibition at Wembley,but stated that the trustee's policy was to have its headquarters in Preston.
Despite critical acclaim and attracting 100,000 visitors per year, funding was repeatedly an issue. The trustees were concerned about the museum's long term future. In 2009, they approached Manchester City Council about moving the museum. The city council offered a funding package worth £2m per year for the museum to move to Manchester. The museum reopened in Manchester on 6 July 2012. It is hoped that the new museum will attract 350,000 visitors per year. It was reported in August 2012 that the new National Football Museum attracted over 100,000 visitors in the first six weeks of opening. By the end of April 2013, the museum reached its 350,000 target.


Lindsay England-founder JBG?
www.justaballgame.co.uk
contact: info@justaballgame.co.uk

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Karen Hultzer South African Champion Archer Q&A for JBG?

           
                JUST A BALL GAME? introduce our latest PATRON addition, KAREN HULTZER.



  Hi folks here is a  Q & A with World Outgames 2013 Gold Medal Winning South African Archer, and our new patron Karen Hultzer.



 Have you had an interest from an early age?
No not at all. There is not enough adrenalin in it for me to have been interested at an earlier age. I was a bit of a hell raiser and standing in one place in a field for hours and hours would not have appealed to me


Why Archery?
Well it was one of the few sports I can do and with my back injury and still be competitive ie Archery can be enjoyed by virtually anyone regardless of physical ability.

How much does it cost for equipment?
Well how long is a piece of string? It’s a bit like buying a car. It just depends on what you want to do with it. .
Entry level basic kit can cost about R2000 (£125)and a top competition kit R40 000 (£2,450) depending what bits and bobs you add on.


Competitions etc. are they regular where you come from, do you have to travel?
We have an outdoor competition once a month in summer and the odd one in winter,but Cape Town is notorious for the wind , so if I am needing a decent score I need to travel up country (+- 1500km), where the wind is not a factor, for tournament.

 Is it mainly outdoor archery you play?
I prefer shooting outdoors generally, so luckily we can shoot outdoors all year round in SA, I tend to train indoors in the winter when it gets too wet outside

What's the difference from playing indoor?
In South Africa indoor competitions tend to be limited to 18m whereas outdoors women shoot up to 70m and the men go back to a maximum of 90m. And the lack of wind and rain indoors is of course an attraction.


Q.Is it true you were a late starter in life to the sport? We think you were the oldest competitor in the Archery competition in London 2012, do you see yourself as an inspiration to others, that it’s never too late to do something you have gift for, or can work hard at if you have an interest in?

Yes. I picked up my first bow in the middle of 2007 and at the age of 47 I was 30 years older than the youngest archer at the 2012 Olympics. I do believe that amazing things are possible if you put your mind to it. I remember being completely bewildered at a reaction from a friend, I hadn’t seen in a while, when in 2010 I told her I had started archery and I was hoping to go to the Olympics. She laughed in my face thinking I was joking. What hit me was that not everyone thinks like me. I truly believed it was possible and even if everyone else thought it was ridiculous, I was going to give it a go. Nothing tried nothing gained. Who cares what they think

Q. What is it that excites you about archery?
I think it’s the tranquility of it. If you get it right there is moment in time where it is just you, and where the arrow falls is of no consequence, only the process of shooting it.


Q. How much do you train, day/week?
If I am building up to a big tournament I try to shoot at least 5 days a week for up to 4hrs a day if possible. This has to trickle down to 2-3times a week for the rest of the time due to work commitments. 


Q. Do you have a professional career outside of Archery still? If not what was your full time occupation be fore this? Did you have to take a big step to change your life to be more competitive when you started winning things?

I am a Horticulturist by training and run a small landscaping business that I started 12 years ago.To enable me to get my archery up to international standards. Considering we are competing against archers that are paid to shoot for 10years under the top coaches in the world, I had to cut back my working hours quite radically which had obvious impact on my income and my workers income. 


Q. How do you fund your competition work appearances etc, we have seen many less popular sports here in UK having there funding cut or taken away altogether since Olympics, is there funding locally/ nationally for someone like yourself as an elite athlete, or do you have to search for funds or fund yourself?
The Lotto has helped my federation to get teams to international shoots every year, but these funds do not cover income loss while training and while away. This also is not enough against countries that can catch a train once a month to shoot in another country. Africa is far away from everywhere. This certainly limits the number of archers that are able to train up to a standard that is competitive internationally. Sponsorships are non-existent. I personally am lucky that I own my own business so to a certain degree can shift my work load to accommodate my shooting. And my partner, family and friends helped keep me afloat in the 2 years leading up to London, as I could not survive on the two day working week I was reduced to.


Q. A big well done as we understand you earlier this year were crowned as a national archery champion again making a record 6 in a row. How does this feel?
Thanks! Yes 6 national titles in 6 years of shooting is something I am quite proud of.



 Q. If you stay injury free will we see you compete in RIO 2016?
I am certainly tempted by the idea. Quite a challenge, which is something I thrive on. I will be 51 J and even if I don’t make it will be fun trying



 Q You seem to have had a couple of injuries/accidents in your life and got through these, are you naturally a strong willed person?
I guess that must be true although it never feels like it at the time. There is a goal, you decide what realistically needs to be done to attain it and you go for it. There is always a way around a problem, you just have to keep at it till the path opens up.


 Q. what sort of qualities do you think make a good archer? we see you have to have strength, concentration, discipline, mental strength, control and be injury free, any other qualities?
I think patience…..lots of patience, and maybe a sense of humor. That has always helped me through as well.

Q. Is archery something a young person could take up and enjoy and become very good at?
Absolutely! I would say from the age of 8-80years. But some of the benefits of archery are that children that would not necessarily be drawn to the traditional sports like rugby, cricket or soccer can excel at archery, which builds their confidence. Another spin off is that archery seems to help build skills like concentration and discipline which in turn leads to an improvement in school grades.










Q. Do you still coach others?
Yes I am coaching privately. From this I get immense pleasure,
and recently started a test run for Recurve archery at one of the schools in Cape Town. Getting archery into the schools  is critical for the survival of the sport and I’m hoping my input can help with this.



 Q. Do you see yourself as someone who can inspire a younger generation and make this sport more accessible?
I do believe that archery is a fantastic sport and certainly hope that my passion for it can be of use to others, especially women


 Q. What was your experience of London as a city, and the UK crowds, was it your first time here?
I have been to London before, but this was something quite different. It was amazing and the most notable were the volunteers. They made it happen and they made it happen well. I felt so welcome and so safe, it was incredible!



 Q. What of the experience of playing in an iconic stadium in Lords? I have been there for the cricket, it’s a great place if you love a sporting environment even if you don't care for cricket hope the feeling of sporting history there inspired you on.

All the sacrifice was worth it, just to stand on that lawn. I’m not sure if you saw my shoot out, but I was smiling from ear to ear even though I got eliminated. The smile says it all. It was a moment in time…



 Q. What other sports have you played in younger days?
Well where do I start…….?
At the age of 5 I was crewing for my dad on his on weekends, and following him around the hockey field with a sawed off hockey stick bigger than me during the week while he coached his school team.
I went on to try most sports, but limited myself competitively to hockey, squash, sailing and softball. All of which I played at a provincial level. I also did show jumping, cycling and canoeing just for fun.


Q. Do you still play any other sports/ or watch at events?
Not really. My injuries limit me and archery has consumed my life somewhat but I quite like watching the odd game of cricket


Q. How do you chill? Do you read / travel /bake or like listening music?
 Well I am a wood sculptor and if I do have the time it is one of my favorite things to do. Second to that I am embarrassed to say that I am a bit of an Xbox addict and can get trapped in a game a little longer than I should in the name of “Chilling out”



Q. Can we ask why you decided it was the right time to be 'out' publicly at the Olympics please? Thank you for doing so.

Well technically I was never really in the closet. The issue of my sexuality had not been on my agenda at all. But when asked about it  I saw no point in avoiding the truth that yes I am a lesbian.

My focus however was on shooting arrows at the biggest competition in the world and felt that the media hype was not something I needed so told them that I would chat about it after I was finished shooting.Which I did.
I did this for several reasons:
I felt that 22 out homosexual Olympians (most after their sporting careers were over) was a statistic that reflected a sad state of affairs in the world and best we start changing that.
I feel that hate crimes go on because, as the saying goes “Good people stand back, and say nothing” This gives the haters the false impression that their behavior is acceptable. Not!!
As a South African I cannot turn my back on the atrocities happening and the war being waged on black lesbian’s day in and day out while I as a privileged white South African can freely walk in the streets holding hands with my lover.If me speaking out helps in anyway then it is worth it.

Q. How much freedom do you have personally around your sexual orientation from family and friends, we hope you have their full acceptance and support?
Absolutely! I am in a lucky position to have fabulous family and friends who are fully supportive of me in all I do (although they do shake their heads in despair sometimes when I tell them my crazy plans sometimes…..like go to the Olympics) That said I think possibly my mom would prefer if I had chosen a simpler path, purely because it would have been easier for me.


Q. What about in your sport, do you feel accepted?
Hmmmm….a difficult one. On a one to one level there is apparent “total acceptance”, but I am aware of an underlying bigotry in the structures. There were rumors of secret meetings about my “coming out” in London, and there has been not one word of congratulations sent my way for my achievements at the World Outgames in Belgium this year. Quite hurtful really considering the positive publicity I have brought to the sport here in SA.



 Q. Many LGBT people don't want special treatment or that horrid word  to be tolerated, they just want respect, first of all for being a human being, have things been easy or shall we say comfortable for you since you acknowledged yourself who you are, or have there been times you struggled, or had hang ups about who you really are?
Another hard one to answer, of course I have had hang ups. More about my weight actually than my sexuality, but yes I really struggled with peoples tainted impression of me. I would go out of my way to try please everyone, and not offend people I suspected did not approve of same sex relationships, until I realized that actually I was offended by their fear riddled hateful attitude. That is was not my job to help them feel better about their bigotry and in fact hiding was just making things worse for everyone. This was a critical shift and it got easier after that. I find that bullies and bigots tend, for the most, to be cowards and if you are quite open and unashamed about who you are they keep their drivel to themselves.This spoken of course as a white South African, protected by a very progressive constitution. I know that black South African LGBT people live a very different reality


Q. How important do you think an organisation like JBG? ( although very basic as we are unfunded) is to an LGBT community, in that we raise awareness around LGBT issues and inclusion, and challenge homophobia and gender identity, build on gay/straight alliance?
I think critical. Having just attended the World OutGames Human rights conference in Belgium, I was made uncomfortably aware of my own privilege and it is even more apparent that where one can make a statement, one must. I think we (the average Joe Soap) live in a bit of a bubble in our own worlds and forget that people are dying all around the world not just for their actions but also for just looking gay, and that  kids commit suicide because of ignorance and fear. Even if JBG? made one statement that was read by one person (suicidal teenager or murderous hater) that changed their mind, that is worth it.



Q. How important do you think it is that young LGBT people have visible role models to aspire too?
I’m not sure about aspiring to, but certainly to see that actually going out there with no fear can be done and the consequences are not so terrible and for youngsters to see that happening will always help. Will always give them courage to step out and live the life they want to.


 Q. Who are your heroes/ role models in life in general, and from a sporting arena?

Many and varied. On the sporting arena it would be icons like Billy-Jean King and Martina Navratilova but often heroes are ones that have everything to lose but still standup. It can be a kid in the school ground that doesn’t walk away in silence when a bully is tormenting someone. Or it can be a guy walking down the road in Soweto, South Africa in a dress because he wants to. The black lesbian who walks into a South African police station filled with sexist, homophobic officers and demands that they open a case against her assailants. That is bravery and it inspires me. m me want to strive harder


Thank you Karen for this amazing interview.- Team JBG?