Shelley Ware is a proud Yankunytjatjara and Wirangu woman who has passion for sport, especially AFL, and has been part of the Marngrook Football Show since 2010. Apart from her extensive media work, she also coordinates a literary intervention program at Kew primary school. In everything she does, she brings an unwavering dedication to raising awareness about women’s achievements in sport, as well as putting Indigenous voices front and centre.
She spoke with VWT volunteer, Jess Naylor, about Australia’s love of sport and why she’s excited about the launch of Club Respect, an innovative digital platform to help sporting clubs embed a culture of respect.
JESS NAYLOR: What has your time on the Marngrook Footy Show taught you about equality in sport?
SHELLEY WARE: I’ve learnt that the younger generation know much more about respecting women and diversity and differences within the community. They have a different understanding about who they are as people. It has been so amazing for me to see how much more open minded these young people are. I know that they are going to make a positive change.
Why are sporting clubs so influential in our society?
In Australia, a love of sport begins in childhood. It’s ingrained in people. For me, it is really important for my sons to be fit and healthy. I think that when people are involved with sport from the beginning, it helps make them better, more rounded people in their adult life. Sport is a way of life in Australia, it comes naturally to us.
Why is it important to tackle these issues of respect and equality within clubs?
Young people really look up to their coaches. They respect them and listen to them. As a society, we are now really focusing on respecting each other and being responsible for ourselves as well. This is seen more within clubs. I just think that these sporting groups have finally realised how much of an influence they have on children and how important it is to be doing positive things for the wider community.
What is the correlation between respectful relationships off the field, and better players on it?
If you teach someone how to be a good person, they will be a more respectful player and a more respectful member of society. What’s really important is making good, respectful, kind people. If you are making good people, then you are making good sports men and women as well.
Why do you think Club Respect as a program is so important?
Club Respect is about making whole people. We want to make people who will leave their sporting community and keep spreading that message of respect in the wider community.
It bleeds out everywhere and if you make good people then they will treat other people well and the community as a whole will be a happier place.
Register now to hear Shelley Ware speak about respect and sport at the launch of Club Respect, an innovative digital platform designed for sports clubs of all shapes and sizes to reduce violent and abusive behaviour. Happening 5:30-7pm Wed 24 Oct at AAMI Park, Melbourne. Free event!
Jess is a volunteer at the Victorian Women’s Trust, mainly focused on the communications side of things. She graduated from Monash University in 2018 with an Arts degree majoring in politics and journalism. Jess is passionate about political engagement and education especially when it comes to helping make more people aware of inequality. When she’s not doing that, she’s mostly reading romantic novels, watching romantic comedies or trying to find the best everything bagel with cream cheese.