Mail Covering the foothills of the Yarra Ranges & Murrindindi Shires
5 Tuesday, 30 April, 2019
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Footy club’s pride By Jed Lanyon Yarra Glen Football Netball Club will be hosting the sixth annual Yarra Valley Pride Cup against Seville on Sunday 5 May at Yarra Glen Showground Reserve. The Pride Cup promotes LGBTIQ+ inclusion and acceptance in community sporting clubs, to make sure that no player, official or fan has to choose between being themselves or the game that they love. The initiative began when Jason Ball publicly came out as gay in 2012, his teammates from the Yarra Glen Football Netball Club wanted to show him they had his back. What started as a powerful gesture of mateship has now grown into a national movement for change that aims to unite communities. Clubs embrace the event by wearing their own custom designed pride guernsey. The lines on the field as well as the umpire's flags and goalpost wraps feature rainbow colours. Jason Ball's father David Ball is happy to see how far the Pride Cup has come in its sixth year. "The Pride Cup is about the mental health of the LGBTI community. Because statistically, they are six times more likely to commit selfharm than the average person," he said. "I think there were 15 Pride Cups run last year, and they were all inspired by what we did here. "The AFL, St Kilda and Sydney are now playing a pride game that was inspired by what we did. So the AFL has followed little local Yarra Glen's initiative," Mr Ball said. Yarra Glen's seniors have won all five Pride Cups they have competed in, while the netballers have won four out of five over the years. The club attempts to choose an opponent that they share a rivalry with or one that poses a significant challenge to them. "This year will be exceptionally challenging because we're playing Seville, who played off in the grand final. They beat us quite easily in the qualifying final last year," he said. "We typically attract a crowd that is three to four times what our average crowd is." Mr Ball said that the club takes in a number of other factors when deciding who they will play in the Pride Cup such as wanting to play those clubs who are also having a positive contribution to the LGBTIQ+ community.
David Ball and Graham Ely with the Pride Cup. The club attempts to play a different club each year to help spread the Pride Cup's message to towns all around the Yarra Valley. "Our community has been very supportive ... When they had the plebiscite, the Yarra
Picture: JED LANYON Ranges region had one of the highest 'Yes' votes in Australia and we think that's partly because of what we've been able to do with the messaging of the Pride Cup," Mr Ball said. "Ultimately what we want is for there to be
no need for it ... We're quite happy for it to be a celebration each year, but we want it to be at a point where everybody is going to the football everywhere because they feel safe, happy and welcome.
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