One of the big things I want to do through Merry People is share stories of amazing people who bravely embarked on an adventure into the crazy unknown! I want to use our voice to celebrate the ordinary individuals who are going about their days, working hard, and pursuing what makes them happy. It is not about having thousands of Instagram followers or living a life in the spotlight -- rather it’s about doing what makes you merry!
In line with that, I am so excited to introduce you to Jordann Hickey!
Jordann is the first woman from Central Australia to be drafted into the AFLW. I briefly met Jordann when I was in Alice Springs to visit a potential stockist. I went for a workout at the local gym and she was there for her last workout before moving to Melbourne to play for the Melbourne Demons.
As a country girl myself, I know how inspiring and exciting it is to see people from your town go on to do big and wonderful things. It challenges the status quo and can ignite new ideas and pathways to dream bigger!
Despite our brief meeting, she kindly agreed to be interviewed by me! Jordann is a beautiful, down-to-earth, and hard-working girl who is thrilled to represent her Territory -- and I’m excited to share her story with you.
Dani, Founder x
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Were you always into sports as a child?
I was a very active child!
I loved being a part of sports because I made a lot of friends and it gave me something to do on the weekends. As a child, I played basketball, tennis, touch, swimming, and netball. I even gave hockey a go!
At ages 10 and 11, I represented the Northern Territory for swimming and netball. This required me to train five to six days a week - so from an early age, I was familiar with competitive sport and the level of training required to succeed in it.
Wow, so much sport! So when did you start footy?
It wasn’t until I was 19 that I went out and tried out footy!
My friend needed someone to fill in for her team and I was unsure of what to expect. Footy was never a household sport in my house. My father is from Queensland and is very much a rugby supporter and my mum, despite being from Victoria, is more of a rugby fan as well. Nevertheless, I went down to training and ended up loving it!
I feel very lucky that my parents are so supportive of me. It didn’t matter what sport I was playing, they would always come down and watch. They knew it was something I really enjoyed doing and they wanted me to have the support to succeed in whatever I set my mind on doing.
After being involved in footy for five years now my parents have seen me develop as a player and a person. They both love watching the games -- although my dad still thinks rugby is a better game for men to play! ;)
How did you go in your first game? Were you scared at all?
Going into my first game I was very nervous! I didn’t really know the rules very well and, since I was still playing netball on Saturdays, I was pretty worried I may get injured.
When I started in Alice Springs the competition was only nine players on a team and playing on 3/4 of a field. As a beginner, I found this setup very beneficial; it made it easier to learn the rules and develop your skills as you got more of the ball. With the start of AFLW, the sport has gotten more popular and is now full-field.
After a couple of games, the team asked me to keep playing for the rest of the season. I was very lucky that the team I played for was very supportive and encouraging and I think that’s one of the main reasons I kept playing; they helped me improve and I also just loved the fitness side of it.
How did your friends respond to you playing AFLW?
When I told a few of my other friends about playing footy they did laugh and question “why would you play that?!” But now they all love it too and some of them are even playing themselves!
How has footy changed you?
Football has allowed me to grow as a persona, making me a lot stronger mentally and physically. These skills have helped me become a stronger leader within my club and the greater community.
Football is a sport that needs commitment and dedication to reach your goals. My coaches, PT, and family have put a lot of time into my development and I don’t want to quit on them or myself.
It must be hard at times to stay focused. How do you stay motivated on the tough days?
The last 18 months have been a lot of hard work and I definitely had days of low motivation and questioning why I am doing this!
One thing I found difficult was self-motivating and waking up for regular 5:30am gym sessions! I was, however, fortunate to have a trainer who pushed me; not only did she give me hard workouts every day, but she also gave me advice and support to get me through those foggy days. She has a saying, which I now use, “we train to be fit for life, it’s not just a phase” -- we are capable of doing anything we set our minds to, physically and mentally.
I really think it was having her voice in my head, saying “get up and go do it as it is your overall goal we are working towards” that kept me focused on tough or foggy days.
Despite the tough times and hard training sessions, football allows me to excel in life and makes me feel the happier I have ever been. The stronger and fitter I get, the more confident I am in myself as a woman, on and off the field.
Tell me about THE phone call, the one when you were told you would be drafted.
I was watching the draft with my coaches. In the weeks leading up to the draft, they thought I may get picked up, but none of us were certain so we were all a bit nervous.
When I heard my name called out, I was both shocked and extremely happy -- I couldn’t get the smile off my face knowing that all the commitment and dedication from myself and my coaches had paid off! I then received a call from the Demons to congratulate me. It was all so surreal and wonderful.
How has the community response been?
The Alice Springs community has been incredible! Everyone has been so supportive and I think this is a great thing for myself and the town. Being drafted shows that it doesn’t matter where you come from; if you put in the effort and ask for help, you can succeed.
What do you do outside of footy?
I love to catch up and hang out with friends and family, go on adventures around Alice Spring, and take some time to relax!
What are you looking forward to most about moving to Melbourne?
I have always wanted to try living in a big city, so I am excited to see how I will go with that change. A few of my good mates have gone to university in Melbourne and still live there, so I am also pretty excited that I will now live a lot closer and see them more regularly!
Photo credit NT News