The Women’s Footy Almanac Pie Night Wrap: A night I will remember forever

 

 

Last night was an event I will remember forever.

 

The Women’s Footy Almanac Pie Night might not have been the biggest event, with around 50 people in attendance. Or the most memorable for others, but for me, it was confirmation that I really had found a place that not only supported women in sport, but were champions of it too.

 

When I took on the role of the Women’s Football Editor here at The Footy Almanac, I was humbled to be part of a team led by John Harms and Yvette Wroby to continue to promote the coverage of the women’s game along with our army of amazing Almanac writers. When it came time to think of an event we could put on in the lead up to the launch of The Women’s Footy Almanac 2018 book, and my suggestion to run a panel featuring some of my favourite women in the women’s footy media space was not only supported but embraced and entrusted in me to pull together in the way I wanted to, I knew the Footy Almanac didn’t just believe in continuing to promote the women’s game. They believed in me.

 

For everyone who came along last night to enjoy some hot pies and cold drinks at the Fitzroy Victoria Bowls and Sporting Club, I was immensely grateful. It was wonderful to meet many of the Almanackers who have contributed pieces to the soon to be released book and put faces to names after many emails, tweets and Instagram likes! Yes, I know I creep on a lot of you on social media but it’s because you’re all so awesome!

 

It was amazing to meet people like Georgina Hibberd, who came from Sydney, Verity Sanders from Adelaide, and catch up with the regulars like John Butler who drove from Ballarat and  Jen Muirden, David Wilson, Jack Banister, Gill Dite and so many others who made the effort to come and support what we do at the Almanac.

 

The support of our sponsors was incredible and we couldn’t have pulled off last night, the coverage of AFLW on the website and the printing of the book without Ethical Investments, ThinkAgri, Deakin University, and our Patron, or Patron Saint as I like to call her, the ever lovely, ever-amazing, Yvette Wroby.

 

The team at the Fitzroy Victoria Bowls and Sports Club needs a big shout too – their staff were amazing and were such a help on the night making it a relaxing, fun time for everyone.

 

And of course, the most humbling experience for me, was to hear the wonderful women on the panel talk with such passion, conviction and consideration for the game, their peers in the media space as well as on the field.

 

Kate O’Halloran, Kirby Fenwick, Kendra Heil and Lucy Watkin had me in awe all night as I had the honour to ask them questions and hear their stories and points of view.

 

The Women’s Footy Almanac Pie Night Panel.

 

One of the most poignant themes of the night for me was when Kate spoke about how women constantly need to be the champions for themselves or each other in the sports media space and I could see how each of them support each other. Though they are from different backgrounds and media outlets, we all still back each other in because we need to. I also felt immensely proud in that moment to be part of The Footy Almanac who does that for me in my role as editor.

 

Someone else who backed me in last night was media star Megan Hustwaite.

 

I wanted to mention her attendance because what she did was nothing short of amazing to me. As the panel mentioned last night, working and writing on sports can be a really tough gig for women – some of the comments Kate receives that she shared with us last night point to this and are haunting. But we rally together on social media and this community is something we all cherish. We communicate online, share ideas, give feedback, positive vibes and pull each other up when we can see things going on that are not fun.

 

Megan has been doing this for me and supporting my work for a while now without ever having met me. And she does this for a lot of other women too. When I reached out to her and invited her along she didn’t hesitate and she showed up and gave me the confidence boost I needed to get on stage and give the panel and the audience the event the deserved and I hope I pulled it off.

 

Not many people do that. Support each other without question, just because they know what it is like to be in that space, to be a woman in sport. Megan, I’ll always remember that you were there for me.

 

Megan Hustwaite. Champion of women in sport.

 

 

And I’ll always treasure the support of everyone in that room who came along to hear five women working, writing on or playing footy speak about working, writing on or playing footy. What a thrill it was.

 

The conversation was engaging and illuminating. I loved learning more about what each of these women do on and off the field, how they work and how passion plays a role in what they create. I loved how Kirby responded when I asked, ‘Do you have to manage your passion when you’re writing and be conscious of your fan bias.’ – she said, ‘I don’t even try, it’s part of who I am.’ Which was so refreshing as her work wouldn’t be half as powerful without the passion for the game she brings.

 

We talked about the stories in football and how we tell them. Kendra spoke about her favourite portrait she has done, her work of Sarah Perkins celebrating after slotting a goal, arms outspread, saying to everyone who overlooked her in the inaugural AFLW draft – ‘what do you think of me now?’ The whole room had chills.

 

Sarah “Tex” Perkins of Adelaide Women’s FC. By Kendra Heil. Autographed. Acrylic on Canvas. 20×16″ – Mar, 2017

 

Lucy mentioned a piece she wrote for The Huffington post where an editor gave her article the title ‘How the AFLW Changed My Life Forever’ and at the time she thought this was an exaggeration but has now come to realise the many ways in which it actually has.

 

And Kate’s relentless work on writing about gender equity was all around just inspiring, particularly the pieces she’s writing on the conversation around women coaches in the AFLW. She wishes she could just write about the game but right now, she knows she’s in a position where she can champion these causes as so many don’t and Kate, we’re in awe of you and are so thankful that you continue to do what you do.

 

If you weren’t able to make it, I strongly recommend you listen to the podcast that we have available thanks to Peter Holden and Women’s Australian Rules Football Radio who broadcasted the event live from the Fitzroy Bowls Club.

 

It was fantastic that we were able to share the night with so many people via this way and we have the audio as an archive and memory to continue to share with the community. Which was also an important topic  highlighted in the panel discussion, that there is such a lack of archiving in women’s sports history. This why the work of each of the panel members and the writers here at The Footy Almanac is so important. We’re contributing to the landscape, capturing moments in time and producing tangible documentation that will be part of the history of our game. Another reason I’m so proud to be part of The Footy Almanac.

 

Our next event will be the launch of The Women’s Footy Almanac 2018 which will be in late July and we’ll keep you posted on the details. We are very much looking  forward to bringing the book to you especially after the incredible response we had when we released the cover painted by Kendra Heil and designed by John Kingsmill.

 

Thank you again to everyone who came, everyone who sponsors and supports us and women’s footy and I can’t wait for the next event!

 

To become a member and support The Footy Almanac and all that we try to do CLICK HERE.

 

 

Squad. Kendra Heil, Kate O’Halloran, Kasey Symons and Kirby Fenwick – just missing the elusive Lucy Watkin!

 

 

About Kasey Symons

Kasey Symons is the Women's Football Editor here at The Footy Almanac. She is also a PhD Candidate at Victoria University where her research is focused on gendered issues in sports cultures (primarily AFL) at a fan level. Kasey is a born and raised Victorian who barracks for the West Coast Eagles and yes, she knows that is weird.

Comments

  1. Great night and great write-up Kasey! I really enjoy the opportunity to catch up with other from the Almanac and the wider women’s footy community.

    I can almost forgive you being a West Coast supporter :)

  2. Kasey Symons says:

    Haha, thanks Gill! So good to catch up with you!

  3. Georgina says:

    It was a fantastic night and so good to finally meet you Kasey, along with John, Yvette and a whole lot of other Almanackers. When I get a chance I am going to listen to the panel again.

    You said you felt you had “really had found a place that not only supported women in sport but were champions of it too”. During the panel last night I sent a text to my partner saying simply “These are my people”. I get you.

    Thanks for all your hard work organising. Looking forward to the launch!

  4. Yvette Wroby says:

    Great write up Kasey, Georgina , I hear you. The Almanac community are my people, and I am so glad others are feeling that too. It was such a good evening, I loved the conversation. And the people. And the food was great too. Loved the Fitzroy Bowls club as a venue as well.

  5. Gem Fleming says:

    This makes my heart smile as I lay here cuddling my one year old daughter to sleep because I
    Hoped, prayed, wished and willed more coverage of women’s sport in the media as a teenage girl and love that my daughter will grow up with it gathering impetus. I live that when women speak freely about what is important to us, and try hard to build one another up, we find that so many girls and women feel exactly the same. I love your passion, Kasey. Proud to be related to you.

  6. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend last night but it sounds like the night went off well. I have listened to a good part of the podcast.

    Let’s not forget that if it wasn’t for the great insight of J. Harms back in 2006 to not just bring football a bit closer to the people, but people a bit closer to football, none of this would be happening. The Almanac has given so many people a voice that would have otherwise been missed. These voices have been many and varied. As a result a community has been built. It is a community that is thoughtful (though not always in agreement), and respectful. Long may it continue. I hope that women in footy and sport continue to become an intricate part of the whole fabric.

  7. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Terrific write-up Kasey. Sorry I couldn’t be there. You have every reason to be proud of putting the night together. Kudos to JTH and the Almanackers who continue to support this unique and innovative site. Cheers

  8. Thanks Gem. We would love people to help preserve Kasey’s role, and all editors’ roles, by becoming Almanac members. The more members we have the more hours we can offer our paid editors, and the more ideas they can put in place. http://www.footyalmanac.com.au/memberships/ One thing will lead to another. Especially in the women’s sport area.

  9. Thanks Kasey, for the work you did in putting this together, along with Yvette, reaped terrific dividends last night when 50+ people got together to talk footy. I really enjoyed the panel’s anecdotes and insights and I also enjoyed meeting quite a few people – writers and readers – for the first time.

  10. Kasey Symons says:

    Oh Georg, you are my people! thank you so much for travelling so far and it was an absolute pleasure to finally meet you.

    Thanks my Patron Saint Yvette – much love and apologies in advance for my West Coast demolishing your boys this weekend :p xo

    Gem – your support means the world. It makes me so happy that lil Bonnie will grow up with such a strong role model in you as a rockstar mum – keep doing you x

    Sorry we missed you Dips – was a great night and would not have been possible without JTH. His vision for this site and the work he does to bring our community together is incredible.

    Thanks PD – looking forward to hopefully seeing you again soon to talk to you all about it!

    And JTH – your mentorship this year has been invaluable to me. Thank you!

  11. Anne Myers says:

    Sounds like a fabulous night.
    You’re amazing Kasey!
    Keep up the good work.
    X

  12. Kasey Symons says:

    Thank you lovely Anne xo

  13. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says:

    Bravo Kasey, JTH and the Almanac community. Glad to hear the night filled everyone up to the brim.
    Sydney feels like a long way away at times … x

  14. Jackie Lynch says:

    So sorry I missed this. I hope to meet you all in the flesh soon.

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