Winning sporting mums reveal challenges, joy, wise words
WITH three sporting mums in the close-knit Ipswich Flyers team, it's little wonder the defending netball grand final champions have so much dedication.
Skye Sippel, Erin Ellis and Kirsty Brennan have shared some valuable insights into juggling being a mother, playing netball and maintaining peak condition on the court.
"I seem to have the same thought before each season on how am I going to make this all work but it just does,'' Skye said.
"Between the girls' commitments and my own, I need to be super organised and although the guilts get to me I have to rely on my husband and family or it just wouldn't work.
"On top of everything I was set to coach my eldest daughter this year which included another day of training and game timeslot to squeeze in but due to COVID the season did not go ahead.''
Wing defence Skye has daughters Lori, aged seven, and Scarlet who is nearly five.
She said she couldn't manage everything without her husband Lachlan.
"I think Lachlan is most understanding and supportive because he also grew up playing sport and is an ex-Jets footy player,'' Skye said.
Preparing for the Flyers' latest match against Cornubia Park on Thursday night, Erin enjoyed being a sporting netball mum.
"I love it,'' said Erin, who plays goal defence or goal keeper.
"I think it makes me a better mum because I make time to do something I love. I have more energy for them knowing I get a break from them to go to training or to a game.''
Erin's children are Pippa, who is "knocking on five'', and Lexi, who is two.
Erin, nicknamed Ez or Ezza, said the main challenges of being a sporting mum were saying goodbye to them and having them crying at the window or door.
"I don't think I have extra pressures, I just have different pressures,'' Erin said, having been with the Flyers for six years.
Returning to the court after having her first baby this year, Kirsty was glowing with excitement.
"She is a gem. Alice is almost eight months now and keeps me on my toes crawling everywhere,'' Kirsty said.
"The main challenges so far are juggling a 4-5 day work week and trainings/games.
"My parents own a retail business and I am able to take her with me, so that helps a lot not having to do daycare.
"My partner and mum help a lot which helps me to juggle everything. Mum does a few days a week as my partner plays sport too. So far I think I'm juggling it pretty good.''
In her fifth season with the Flyers, Kirsty also appreciates all the extra help she receives.
"My partner and mum are massive helps to make this work,'' she said.
"Whenever I'm away for training or games, they will be at home with her.''
Skye agreed playing sport as a mum threw up multiple demands.
"Wearing many hats, juggling working, training, games and being a wife and mum is challenging,'' she said.
"Wanting to commit 100% to all I do, I am a very dedicated person so put a lot of pressure on myself and it can get overwhelming playing all the different roles but I am well supported by my husband Lachlan and family.
"Without their help and picking up the extra load I wouldn't be able to balance the juggle as well as I do.
"I need to be super organised and between Lachlan, my mum and mother in law they all help out with drop offs and afternoon pick-ups of the girls on my work and training days.''
Skye said her mum was an Ipswich Netball Association supporter who loves coming to all the games.
"Lachlan loves to come any chance he can so my in-laws will often come to care for the girls on game nights so he can come along,'' she said. "They all play a role and help lighten the load for me.
"My girls enjoy coming to watch and being involved they usually come to all of our early games but due to the way the draw has been this season having mostly late games and the added precautions with COVID they haven't been able to make a game yet.''
In her third season with the Flyers, Skye said an advantage of being a sporting mum was setting a fine example for her children.
"I think it helps me as a mum being an active sportsperson,'' she said.
"The girls are involved in my fitness and see positive choices that they take into their own lives. I hear them when they play their little role playing games.
"When I'm just doing my workout, or going for a run or training and I look over and they'll be squatting or pretending to do weights. It's really cute but also encouraging. They see and take in more than you think.
"But also having that competitive mentality I can pass on and offer support and encouragement to my girls when it comes to what they may be feeling before their own game, race or event.''
Skye said having her children racing onto the court when the Flyers won last year's grand final was "pretty cool''.
"Sharing that with them and the excitement was pretty special,'' she said.
"We played on the show court and my eldest just thinks it was awesome she was on the same court as the Queensland Firebirds.''
Away from netball, Skye enjoys keeping fit and spending time going on adventures with her husband and girls.
"We are an active family and don't have much down time but away from the high iced activities and hiking and bike rides, we enjoy pizza nights and board game days,'' she said.
"The girls enjoy swimming, athletics and netball so that keeps us busy as well.''
After the Flyers' much needed 63-27 win over Underwood last week, Skye will miss Thursday night's 6.30pm clash with Cornubia Park.
She's joining Lachlan and their daughters for a two-week caravan road trip.
"We had planned time off during these two weeks before COVID hit and the netball season was extended so I am disappointed I can't fulfil my commitment to the team but they are understanding given the circumstances,'' Skye said.
"Thankfully we have a bye on the 24th and I will be back the following week to take on Carina and finish off the rest of the season.''
Erin said last week's victory was fantastic after two previous losses.
"It was a full team effort of great attack and defence,'' she said.
"We kept our foot on the pedal the entire game and when there were small lulls, someone stepped up which lifted everyone.
"It was very important for our team's confidence. We have been working really hard at training and the two close losses have just fired us up.''
Away from netball, Erin likes being around friends and family doing anything outdoorsy.
"We are currently up the coast with a group of friends, who also have young children. These sorts of trips are my happy place,'' she said.
Wise words: Best advice sporting mums have received.
Skye: "Remember that no matter what, at the end of the day I have two beautiful daughters that think I'm their hero and their champion of champions. It's something quite simple but no matter your age I think you can get wrapped up in the nerves and pressures of a game so to scale it back and remember at the end of the day it is only netball, I am a mum and person and that after this game no matter win or lose I go home to my family as a champion in their eyes.
"I also like a snippet from the book Relentless: 'You don't suddenly turn 30 and have to make an announcement to sport that you're retiring. You only become old if you think you're old'.
Erin: "Keep doing what you love because it teaches your own children to be passionate and dedicated.''