So proud of this Pride

Seven weeks ago when I wrote this post after the first AFLW round I had no idea just how appropriate a title I’d chosen for it.  At the conclusion of the inaugural home and away season not just the Lions AFLW team but the entire AFLW competition have truly roared their way into history.

The games themselves have attracted  great crowds and engaged TV audiences across the nation, but the impact these players have had has been far more widespread.  They have truly paved the way for the generations of female players who will follow in their footsteps, showing that girls can not only play at elite levels, they can play hard, with great skills, while also being hard working, committed, positive role models.

We’ve always believed in the adage that you can’t be what you can’t see, and committed to doing everything we can to deliver positive, visible illustrations of powerful female leaders in both business and in sport via our Epic Pharmacy Women in Sport initiative.

This season has been filled with examples of little girls who’ve been inspired by the women on the AFLW, but I had a moment today that really summed it up beautifully for me.

Photo credit Brisbane Lions

As part of our Lions AFLW support sponsorship, we’ve had the opportunity to put forward junior mascots for some of the games. Last week we had the wonderful chance to see Laura, the daughter and granddaughter of patients treated by Epic’s sister company Icon Cancer Care, lead the Lions out, and in the last home and away game of the season we again were able to offer the experience to a little girl.

Laura taking the field with captain Emma Zielke

That girl  was Milla Livingston, great grand daughter of former Fitzroy great Alan ‘Butch’ Gale, named as ruckman in Fitzroy’s Team of the Century. We and the club thought it was a really fitting way of honoring one of the Fitzroy greats, but it took on a new poignancy when Tony told me today that he’d run onto the ground at Princes Park himself as mascot as a 4 year old before one of his dads games, and that it brought a tear to his eye today that his own four year old grand daughter, wearing his dads number, was not only able to have that same opportunity but now also had the potential to follow in her great grandfathers footsteps and herself play at an elite level.

Milla ready for her big day!

The impact that these wonderful female players have had both on and off the field has just been a joy to see, and we’ve loved every minute of the season. Just about every game the Lions have played has been a complete heart starter – my heart rate has been so high in the last quarter of a few of them that my iWatch has actually been clocking exercise minutes! – and I’m sure next weekends grand final will be no different.

Clearly I’m hoping the Lions AFLW team can round out a brilliant inaugural season by holding up the premiership cup next Saturday, but win, lose or (heaven help me) draw again, they have truly roared their way into history and delivered  on every piece of inspirational leadership and role modeling we ever could have wished for.

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