Equality FC My Story: Katie Rood
Written by Katie Rood
For the 2017/18 season, Lewes Football Club became the first pro or semi-pro club in the world to pay its women’s team the same as its men – both teams will have the same playing budget with no discrimination. Her Move is delighted to work in partnership with Equality FC to tell the stories of the team that is pushing for fair recognition & pay for women’s football.
The second article in the series is the story of Lewes Midfielder & New Zealand international player Katie Rood.
The tap of my feet is in time with nature’s beat.
As my lungs begin to blow, inspiration soon flows.
My heart is pounding as I take in my surroundings.
Plants and trees, the birds and bees, the grin on my face widens with everything that I see.
The dirt path guides my way as I skip and weave over rocks and roots – my favourite kind of play when not in my football boots.
The energy inside me builds with every move I make,
I’m in the present, the here and now with every single breath I take.
I recently read a book called ‘Born To Run’ which highlights the fact that not so long ago in human history we were gatherers and hunters who lived off the land and everyone was constantly on the move.
We were at one with nature and understood the ebb and flow of the seasons. The biggest take-away I got from this book was that we as humans are made to move. Everything about the human body and how we have evolved enables us to run, not fast like a lion or springy like an antelope, but with the endurance of a human.
I used to hate running. It felt forced, uncomfortable and to be quite frank, it was really hard.
I loved sports and could play all day without a second thought but the moment I was told to run, I struggled immensely. Looking back now I was overcome with anxiety and the fear of failure.
When we had to do ‘fitness’ as a team I was always the last one, hiding at the back, hoping no one noticed me. Was it because I was unfit? No. Was it because I didn’t care? No. Was it because I was lazy? No. It was partially to do with a lack of belief in myself, but more than that, I actually just hated it.
I played sports for the freedom of the game, the way you can express yourself by linking with your teammates within 90 minutes of football, charging up the wing in a rugby match or weaving your way through the opposition on the hockey turf.
When it came to running a fitness test I failed miserably every single time. Put a ball in front of me and I chase it all day, tell me to do the ‘yoyo test’ and I’d be the first one out. This is not the ideal outcome when you’re trying to become a professional athlete, and it became a self-perpetuating cycle that I couldn’t seem to break.
And then I got injured.
Being injured taught me many things, but the two major learnings were; 1. how much I took my ability to simply move for granted, and 2. how connected exercise is with mental health.
Six months of being restricted in how I could move, and often being in pain, was one of the toughest things I’ve had to face - and I’m so grateful for the experience because it put my life into perspective.
When I was finally able to move again freely it was an absolute blessing. I realised that there are so many people out there who are trapped within their bodies and unable to do the basic things that I took for granted every single day.
It was also enlightening for me to discover that I actually love to run. It was the conditions of the running and the mind-set I had that had made it so awful in the past.
Through my life experiences I’ve come to the understanding that many people don’t exercise because they think they have to run or go to the gym: and those can both be quite intimidating ideas, especially if you have been sold the notion from a young age that you aren’t athletic.
Exercise and movement are not restricted to lifting heavy things and pacing on a treadmill, and you don’t have to push yourself to exhaustion to feel the benefits either!
As a human you have the ability to move your body in any way that appeals to you. For me, I reignited my love for running by getting outside and immersed in nature and soaking up the gratitude of simply being.
I would encourage anyone to explore what limiting beliefs are holding you back from being able to express yourself through movement and redefine them in a way that suits you.
Get involved with different things and I can almost guarantee that eventually you’ll fall in love with an activity or a sport that captivates you, and you’ll be moving so effortlessly and freely that you’ll be able to say, “Yep, this movement thing’s for me”.