How Women’s Football Saved My Life

Photo: @KLBardsley

Home alone, crying in the bathroom wondering what the hell I was doing here. I don’t think anyone ever understands that pain until they go through it. I didn’t. That feeling of being so alone despite having so many people around you, only I didn’t. I had no one to turn to in them moments. No family member to confide in, no friends to lean on. I had no one, or it felt like I didn’t at the time. ‘what’s the point?’ constantly running through my head as I sat on the cold tiles.

It was at that point I decided that the only way for me to take away all the pain, to get rid of the inner demons I was constantly battling, was to take my own life. To end the suffering I was going through. 

I decided to do it there and then, to get it over and done with. Why didn’t I do it? Truthfully, I don’t know. It was like at the last minute something had distracted me and then it was too late for me to do anything.

That day I ended up lying in bed contemplating ways of achieving what I had hoped to do in the bathroom.

The next day in school I felt hollow, numb to anything after the events of the previous day. Putting up a front pretending everything was okay in front of my friends and just hoping I could take this pain away somehow. It was that day that changed everything for me, discovering someone and something that I didn’t realise would initially save my life. 

Sitting in our IT class, not really doing my work and on YouTube I come across a football player who I had never heard of. I couldn’t tell you how I come across it, I think I had got to the point where I was just aimlessly clicking on YouTube videos this one had just popped up and I clicked on it thinking nothing of it. It was the ‘Karen Bardsley: Goalkeeping Found Me’ by FOX Soccer.

I watched the video and became intrigued by this player. Being a football fan and an admirer of goalkeepers in general I wanted to know more about who KB was, especially not having a clue about women’s football in general. Before I could find out more the lesson finished and it was time to leave. I got home after school and immediately searching up Karen Bardsley to ease my curiosity of who this player is. That’s what I spent the rest of the afternoon doing and that’s how I discovered the Manchester City women’s team. 

For the remainder of the week I spent my time after school watching highlights and videos of the team until I realised, that emptiness I had felt, well I didn’t feel so empty. I had found my outlet, something that had made me forget about the demons even if it was for a little bit. It was something that kept me breathing underwater when I felt like I was drowning.

These events essentially saved my life. I didn’t realise it at the time but looking back, if I hadn’t of come across that YouTube video I would hate to think what could have happened. Would my life have been the same as it is today? I’m not so sure, I doubt it. But I am incredibly thankful for these events that led up to my discovery of women’s football. 

I find it hard to describe why I admire women’s football and KB so much, as it’s always hard to put into words why I do, people thinking its cringey or just simply thinking it’s stupid. ‘How can a sport/ player save your life? They don’t even know you.’ well its simple isn’t it, watching the player/the team play gives you something to forget the pain even if it’s for a little while.

As poetic as it sounds, Women’s football saved my life in 2016 and without it, well I wouldn’t be this passionate about Tottenham Hotspur would I? I wouldn’t be ranting on Twitter how there have been no signings, or how Rianna Dean deserves to start more games. I also wouldn’t have made the friends I have because of the sport.  There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, it’d be a terrible tunnel if there wasn’t.

If you or anyone you know ever feel like you’re struggling then please consider reaching out to Mind.

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