- Gareth Ellis
A Letter to Rupert and Emilia
To Rupert and Emilia (and any other child) watching England’s heroic Lionesses over the weekend, I hope you enjoyed watching a piece of history.
You may have stood in the front room with us as we cheered, shouted, and cried, overcome with the importance of what we’d just witnessed, and you may not have understood what was going on.
But let me tell you right now, that was history. Even taking it back to its most basic, this was our country winning a major footballing tournament for the first time since 1966 – that’s the top line of this achievement. Digging deeper, it means much, much more than that.
Back when I was a kid women’s football wasn’t as prevalent as it is now. There were no female referees, no female assistant referees and the thought of a female pundit would have had you laughed out of any room.
This win changes EVERYTHING. Just by listening to some of the back stories and the journeys that these incredible women went through is inspiring to me, and I hope it can inspire us to push you to be whatever you want to be – with no objections.
I’ve seen so many different views on what this win means (all positive) but the ones that stand out are those that rightfully mention that this isn’t the pinnacle of the journey but the start of something much bigger.
My football-loving girl, Emilia, and my dinosaur mad boy, Rupert, please know that this is about so much more than a game. This isn’t just about inspiring the next generation of footballers. It’s about proving that we are all equal in this world, and if either of you want to do something that is perceived as ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ then you will ALWAYS have our backing. It shows that fighting for what you think is right is so important, because who knows the changes you’ll make for the generations that follow you.
We will always teach you that discrimination in all forms is wrong, and here’s hoping this isn’t the last time we can show you how important team spirit is.
Along the way, there will inevitably be trolls, cowards who want to hide behind a keyboard and spout nonsense without thinking of the consequences. Rise above, remember you’re amazing and be kind – there’s not a lot more you can do.
I hope you never have to experience any of these prejudices, and you understand that anything in this world is open to you.
Finally, after being fans of our national team for so many years we’ve witnessed history – now it’s your time to go out, learn from this and make your own.