Debbie Tippett – March 2022 – #IWD

In November 2021, This Girl Can UK released a story about Debbie and her playing football at a later age.  It was totally inspiring and Debbie shared how it helped with her mental health.

What Debbie doesn’t realise is how inspiring she is and how she helps others, too.  She makes us laugh, breaks the bias that football isn’t just for those who are younger and has shown that she has courage in abundance, not to mention a great sense of humour!

Debbie is breaking the bias and here is her story….

I have two boys, who like most, try lots of after school clubs before they find their niche.  The boys got into football late and I was in my element, every Sunday, rain or shine was football day.  Everyday after school we would be kicking the ball about in the garden.  Christmas and birthdays were the best because they would always get something football related, the best was the little plastic men that we’d stick in the ground and practice our dribbling and passing.  I loved it and often wished there was some sort of womens football for me to get into, every club I looked at I was too old! I hadnt even hit 40!

I couldn’t believe it when my old boss messaged me 7 years ago and told me about a football club which was being set up by a friend of hers.  It was for the older generation and was open for everyone, whether you had kicked a ball or not.  It sounded perfect!  I plucked up the courage to message Carol, she prompty replied with all the details of where and when, it sounded amazing and she was so inviting.  I couldnt, the usual questions and thoughts going around inside my head.  “I won’t know anyone” “What if I make myself look stupid?” “What if I can’t do it?” What if. What if.  To this day I kick myself for never going along.

Roll on to the year 2020.  After being persuaded by a friend to go along to a beginners session with the COGS I have not looked back since.  All my worries disappeared the minute I walked through the gate, everyone was so friendly, there was laughing and joking.  It really didnt matter whether you could kick a ball or not.  The ethos was about having fun, and fun was most definitely what I had.  For me, COGS isnt just a football club, it really is like a football family.  I suffer with my mental health and “my COGS family” have been with me through it all.  When I havent been able to get to football because….well just because, I have received caring messsages of support, asking if I’m ok, asking if I need picking up to help me get there, they really have been amazing.  They keep me going.  Lockdown was a especially tough one, but we had COGS online quizzes, online catch ups via zoom, it really gave me something to look forward to.  And when lockdown eased a little we would meet up in groups of 6.  Knowing that gradually things were slowly going back to normal helped me.  The best thing is knowing that as much as I struggle, sometimes I won’t go for a long period of time because my head has taken over, I know that as soon as I walk through those gates I will be a COG and nothing will have changed.  I just have to thank my best friend for dragging me along and for Carol for creating “My COG family”  My love for football has grown, I have completed online courses through the FA, I am part of the COGS committee, and I continue to look forward to all the exciting new things that being a COG will bring to me.

I urge anyone to give it a go because believe me, you will not leave that pitch without a smile on your face.

You can read Debbie’s story on the This Girl Can website.  Keep breaking the bias, Debbie!