Being an athlete and an ageing female athlete is kind of terrifying - if we're being honest. Whether it's the pressure of your ticking fertility clock or the thought of the next young gun coming to take your spot, it's a reality we all face.
Since the news broke that Lacrosse will be included in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics I've been in a vicious thought cycle - madly calculating my age when the time comes and if my body will hold up for another six years.
I've always dreamed of being the best, playing with the best and competing against the best for an Olympic medal. I've been lucky enough to compete a handful of times on the world stage. Maybe it's me or the pressure that society puts on women: to be mothers, to be beautiful, to be fit, to have a career and all the other things that we face. But ashamedly, my brain automatically started tracking how old I would be and if it meant sacrificing my chances of having children to achieve this dream.
Here's the note I typed out on my phone just to make sure I fully understood what was ahead. I would like to preface, I do not think 30 or above is old.
2023 - 27-years-old. 2024 - 28-years-old. 2025 - 29-years-old. 2026 - 30-years-old - Women's Lacrosse World Cup 2027 - 31-years-old. 2028 - 32-years-old - LA28 Olympics.
It bothers me that my first thought was 'I will be too old:' because I have a core memory from when I was 15 years old that I thought programmed me differently. I was trialling for my first senior women's national team. We were doing a 3 x 1.5km time trial run at a training camp. I was a good runner, although I was young, I had that 'never stop' mentality that always helped me succeed in things like this.
As the whistle blew and we shot out the gates, I was quickly humbled by two insane athletes. I remember watching Alicia Moody and Stacey Morlang, both a lot older than me, a lot more experienced and a hell of a lot stronger than me absolutely dominating. The whole training camp, they lead from the front. They were true leaders, good people, and smart lacrosse players. That's when I learned there's more to being elite than just being a young, fit, go-getter and that every team needs people like this.
Since then, I've been fortunate enough to look up to women in my team who have more years under their belt, more experience, and know how to take care of their bodies better. Who has learnt what it means to be an Australian athlete but also to bear children, run families and work full-time jobs?
My now teammate, Stacey Morlang, a legend of Australian Lacrosse - will forever be my example of why. The curious journalist in me was always quizzing her on how she juggles her life, maintains her body, cares for her children and trains like a maniac. Stacey's answers
always intrigued me and her actions always impressed me. Nothing could stop her on the field, she faced adversity head on every time and she was always vulnerable and relationship-focused off the field.
So I've come full circle in this aggressive thought process of if I'll stay in the game long enough to try to be an Olympian and I'm reassured because I've watched and learned from strong, resilient women who've demonstrated that age isn't the defining factor of success. Preparation, resilience and heart is.