Ash’s rise to top started with a few small basics

Jacinta CantatoreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
The Bulls players were delighted to help open the club’s new women’s only changerooms.
Camera IconThe Bulls players were delighted to help open the club’s new women’s only changerooms.

On Saturday night, like thousands of Aussies, I sat on the edge of my seat as Ash Barty claimed victory against Karolina Pliskova to win Wimbledon.

I shouted at the TV when Pliskova came back to force a tie break in the second set.

Like the crowd at the All England Club, I shouted words of encouragement ... telling Ash she could do it.

And by golly she did it.

It was sporting history. Australian history. And it was beautiful.

Even my cynical self got “dust in my eyes” as Ash climbed the stands to hug her crew.

That win and that climb were pinnacle moments in a career that began when Barty was four years old, at the West Brisbane Tennis Centre.

Reading through her career bio, she had two great markers of success: raw talent mixed with huge support from the people around her.

Barty’s family, coach and schools did what they could to help her on her path to success.

Her junior coach Jim Joyce made an exception by agreeing to train the incredibly young Barty, her parents took her to training each week throughout her childhood, and then her family and school allowed the teenage prodigy to compete across Australia and Europe.

Behind all that support there was the basics: a uniform, the right shoes, and maybe somewhere to change. But hold that thought.

Also on Saturday, hours before Barty’s nail-biting finish, the Harvey Bulls Football Club officially opened their new women’s changerooms.

It may not have been a national event, but it’s a significant one for South West football.

Since the Bulls women’s league started in 2017 players from the men’s side had to change quickly and then get out so the women’s side could change.

It was a short-term solution that stretched into years, adding an extra hurdle during pre-match preparation.

It may not be a watershed moment, but one in a series of small turning points that are slowly but surely bringing women into sporting realms that weren’t options even five years ago.

As the AFLW strengthens each year, it makes sense regional clubs are leading the way by creating dedicated spaces for women’s leagues.

Our biggest stars all had their beginnings in local sporting clubs.

It’s not a stretch to imagine there is a girl in our community, training towards her dream, who just had an obstacle removed from her path.

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