Two cricketers walk onto a school oval. One is Australian captain Steve Smith. The other is Australian player Ellyse Perry. Guess which player the kids crowd around for autographs?
The answer is both of them. A few years ago, women’s cricket was not on the public radar. Much has happened to change that, including proactive programs by broadcasters and Cricket Australia to give women’s cricket more publicity.
But nothing works to fire up public interest like star power and Ellyse Perry has got that by the bucketload. Perry, 25, plays both cricket and football for Australia. She has won a cricket World Cup final and scored goals at the football World Cup finals. Ellyse is athleticism and versatility personified. She’s also great fun to chat with.
The Huffington Post Australia did exactly that with Ellyse at the launch of the 2016 CommBank Cricket Club Sponsorship program, of which she is an ambassador. We started by asking a very important question:
HuffPost: On the baggy green cap which you proudly wear for Australia, there is the Australian coat of arms which features a kangaroo and an emu. Our question is this. Who would win a fight between a kangaroo and an emu?
Ellyse: Oooh, I’d say a kangaroo. I’ve run past a few and they always scare the berjerkers out of me. So yeah, I think a kangaroo.
Huffpost: Hang on. Kangaroos scare you?
Ellyse: Yeah, they do. They’re so powerful with those big long claws.
HuffPost: Emus are scary too. Ever been up close to an emu?
Ellyse: I have in a zoo.
HuffPost: I’ve had one steal a chop off a barbecue when I was camping once
Ellyse: That’s not cool.
HuffPost: No, but I was kind of like, hey, you can have it.
Ellyse: But I’m still angry at you.
HuffPost: Right. I was angry at the emu. Didn’t help, though.
HuffPost: What about you Ellyse? What makes you angry? I know you got beaten in a cricket match the other day. In fact South Australia bet you in the final of the Women's National Cricket League, Right?
Ellyse: Right, and they broke our winning streak which is a bit of a bummer. They played really well and they were the better team on the day.
HuffPost: So is losing a thing that makes you angry?
Ellyse: It’s never really enjoyable, but like making mistakes in the workplace. You always want to learn and get better and I think if you always won, you probably wouldn’t go very far.
HuffPost: Good point. Can you give me an example of a time you made a mistake and you went 'OK Ellyse, go home and never do that again'?
Ellyse: Oh I think every time I get out in cricket. You never want to get out twice the same way, it’s always nice that you can go home and practice those things after a bad day in the office.
HuffPost: We love how you call the sporting field "the office". But what about your home life? When you get up in the morning is it kale smoothies all the way?
Ellyse: No kale smoothies, I’m a muesli fan in the morning.
HuffPost: Definitely not kale?
Ellyse: Definitely not kale.
Huffpost: What’s the best green vegetable in the world?
HuffPost: Do you ever eat unhealthy food? We know you go to cafes a lot because we were cyberstalking you before this interview.
Ellyse: That's fine.
HuffPost: Phew. So do you ever lash out on a big bacon and egg roll?
Ellyse: Not really, no. It doesn’t really appeal to me I guess. I think that’s probably a bit more of a lifestyle choice than anything.
HuffPost to some kid wandering by: Hi, what’s your name?
Kid wandering by: Elliott.
HuffPost: Why do you like Ellyse, Elliott?
Elliott: Because she plays soccer and cricket.
Ellyse: Thanks Elliott.
HuffPost: So you like the fact she doubles up.
HuffPost: Which one’s she better at?
Ellyse: I’ll get you your ice block later, Elliott.
HuffPost: A lot of people in my current workplace, and many other workplaces I've worked in, go to the gym but don't play a team sport. I think this is especially true for my female colleagues. What would you say to those women? Why should they join a team?
Ellyse: I think from a female point of view, it’s a really really great social opportunity. I know in a lot of cases women don’t really enjoy the hugely competitive and egotistical environments that some sports can offer, but I think joining local teams and clubs is are really great way for women to stay connected with other people their age or people with common interests.
HuffPost: So it's a social thing as well as a fitness thing.
Ellyse: Yeah, team sports can be a really great social hub when you spend a lot of time in the office each day, just to get away and relax and enjoy other people’s company.
HuffPost: Life balance is something we all struggle to master. How do you balance the commitments of two sports and everything else going on in your life?
Ellyse: I always really like to make time for family and friends. I guess when things get really hectic it’s always nice to find a spot to slow down a bit and see the people that mean the most to you.
HuffPost: Which is especially important when you travel so much, right?
HuffPost: Been anywhere interesting lately?
Ellyse: Well, sport sort of takes you all over the place. Most recently I was in the UK and the USA which was really cool, but yeah, I guess I’ve been all over.
HuffPost: Sorry to use a men’s cricket example, but former Aussie captain Steve Waugh famously took the team to Gallipoli en route to The Ashes, and always tried to make the most of where he was while on tour. Do you try to do the same?
Ellyse: Oh absolutely. I think it’s really important to take note of the environment that you're in. Australia’s a really wonderful culture but we’re sort of really isolated down here. There are so many different cultures in the world that are really worth seeing and experiencing. I’ve had a lot of wonderful opportunities through sport to explore the world and all different facets of life. It’s been great.