The defining, ‘awkward’ moments on Daisy Pearce’s path to success
Women’s AFL star Daisy Pearce says the adversity she faced playing junior football in country Victoria helped her develop the resilience required to make it at the elite level of sport.
Living in Bright, Victoria, Pearce lived and breathed football, and was the only girl playing alongside boys from a young age.
But her father was forced to fend off some parents who had other ideas about having “a girl on the team.”
“I remember feeling so awkward so often but never enough for me to stop,” Pearce told PickStar’s Off-Field podcast.
PIC: Daisy Pearce with her junior footy team
“I was so aware that I was different, being the only girl, but I’m a bit of a tomboy and different to a lot of the girls that I grew up with. Never to the point where it made me consider stopping.”
Pearce credited her Dad, who was also her junior coach, for encouraging her to pursue a footy career despite the opposition.
“He really isn’t one to follow the textbook on anything whether it be social norms or gender roles or parenting,” she said.
“He really instilled that value in me that just because something hasn’t been done before or it’s different doesn’t mean don’t give it a try, so I’m really grateful that he pushed me into it.
“There were enough people around me, be it dad or other people at the footy club that were just very proud that they had this one girl in the competition that played with them and they were a great support then and they’re a great support now.”
Pearce said her junior football challenges were among a number of defining moments that she still draws on today.
“In a way that experience as a child and almost accepting the uncomfortable feeling and not letting it be something that deters me from trying or persisting I think was a really invaluable lesson and something that’s become a real asset to me is that I can withstand that awkward and uncomfortable feeling.”
Despite being one of the biggest ambassadors for the women’s game, Pearce rejects the notion that she is a pioneer of the sport.
“I understand that I’ve contributed in some way but I don’t really see myself as a pioneer, mainly because I look at people who’ve created the opportunities that I’ve gone on and taken and to me they’re the pioneers.
“I’ve come in in a real period of transition where women’s football was just starting to take some steps forward and now it’s exploded onto the scene.”
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