I found this photo recently and it reminded me of a time when I made a decision to conform to the expectation of society, not so much because it was the right thing to do but more for preservation.
When I was 12, I won the Sportsman of the Year trophy at Rangeview Intermediate, West Auckland (and Top of The Class). There was no award for a Sportswoman, so there was no differentiation between the sexes and I was the first girl ever to win it.
I loved sports; netball, swimming, tennis, athletics, and long distance running – I loved to run.
When I received the award I was not congratulated by my fellow students. I was told it should have gone to Ian Burrows, because he was better, and no one would talk to me for a while.
I realised at this point that it was different for girls…and that in order to survive and be liked I would need to button down and get a little more lady-like – especially if I ever wanted a boyfriend.
I left that Sportsman of the Year girl behind and lost interest in competitive sport (as well as this, I tried to act dumb so people would stop calling me ‘The Professor’).
The reason I wanted to call this album ‘Sportsman of the Year’ is because I am calling my pre-pubescent self back. She was strong and fearless. This girl would climb trees and tackle the boys in the neighbourhood without a moment’s thought. She also holds the record at Freyberg Memorial Primary School for the most rotations around the maypole without flying off the rope - 38, if I recall (and believe me, if you fell off mid-flight off you would indeed fly and land with a painful thud) and she held the record until the practice was banned the year she graduated.
As I head into the next stage of my life, I don’t want to care about how I look to society. I want to be known for the work I have done and what I am doing now. And I want to be fearless again.
‘Sportsman of the Year’ is a statement about getting my power back. Shouting out to the world that woman do not disappear once they head past 40 and 50. That they are very much alive and kicking and probably better equipped to handle this crazy, hard good life because they stop worrying about trying to smile and please all the time.
I have worked on the craft of writing songs all my life. Now I believe I am just reaching the area of proficiency I would like to be at.
I can’t stop with music; it is my essence and my being I can’t conceive of life without making it.
And I make it for the audience.
I really appreciate your belief in me. This album is dedicated to you.
Sportsman of the Year