Hi there! My name is Tanya, and I’m 16-years-old, but everyone in my neighbourhood knows me as “the girl who plays football with the boys”. Yes, I’m the only girl in the all-boy football team at my school. People always ask me what it’s like to be competing in sports with boys and I always tell them; “Well, girls can do many of the things that boys can do if they are just given a chance.”
Our team practices five days a week, so I spend most of my free time with the boys. While we talk a lot about our favourite football teams and players, I don’t really share anything else with them. The only one I’m kind of close to is John. He’s my neighbour and our mothers are good friends. However, there are things about me that even he doesn’t know. You know, girl stuff that he wouldn’t understand.
One day, we were practicing for a match against a rival team. I was so focused on preparing for the match that I forgot to check my calendar to see when my period was coming, and I started menstruating during practice. John saw the patch of blood and whispered in my ear, “Tanya, you are bleeding”. I was horrified, and I ran to the changing rooms. But I didn’t have a change of clothes or a pad – I was trapped. Thankfully, my female classmate Anna came into the changing room with a packet of pads and a pair of football shorts. John had sent her with the things for me.
When I finally got the courage to return to the field, I was sure John and the rest of the boys were going to make fun of me. But to my surprise, all they asked was, “Are you ready to play some ball?” Suddenly, I realised that there was nothing to tease me about because periods are normal! So, I smiled and said, “I’m ready to win!” I never got embarrassed by my period again, and neither should you.