You’ve inspired the world
BY ELLA GAUCI, IMAGE VIA INSTAGRAM (@LIONESSES)
Four years ago I wouldn’t have been able to name anyone on the England women’s football team. Perhaps this was down to my lack of sporting prowess, but I was still able to tell apart my Rooneys from Ronaldos.
But yesterday morning, along with millions of others, I screamed “Nice save Earps” and “Beautiful work Carter” like I had been born wearing a Lioness shirt. I watched as openly LGBTQIA players were splashed onto Billboards, social media, and my local pub’s TV screen. I saw little girls who had been slathered in England face paint and grannies who donned their red and white scarves in 25-degree heat.
While the trophy may be going back to Spanish soil, nothing can beat the impact that the Lionesses have had on the world of women’s sport in this country. For so many years, women in sport have been pushed to play on sub-par fields with little to no funding. Watching our team walk onto that pitch to a world screaming their name was enough to give anyone goosebumps.
After the silence surrounding LGBTQIA rights at the men’s World Cup last year in Qatar, to see such a brazen display of queer players on the pitch from countries across the world was truly awe-inspiring. Not only have the Lionesses given people everywhere role models to look up to, but they have given so many queer kids the validation and support they need.
As the whistle blew yesterday, of course, I felt a pang of sadness as Mary Earps wept for the trophy they didn’t get to hold this time. But that was soon replaced by the overwhelming joy in the knowledge that we are watching history take place right in front of our eyes. This spectacular team of women have shown that women’s football not only deserves recognition but respect.
Despite never having much interest in footie before, after watching the game together my friend turned and asked if maybe we could kick a ball about in the park. Lionesses, you haven’t just inspired a generation to start playing football. You’ve inspired the world.
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