Alex, 22 from Childwall

“I would encourage people to do what they want to do because they enjoy it, and never because of what other people think..”

When I was growing up in high school I loved to play netball and hockey – but I was just as likely to spend my lunchtimes getting stuck into a game of football too. I have always been sporty but I preferred to throw the javelin and play games like football with the boys.

Some of the lads didn’t like it and I got called names. To begin with it did bother me, but I tried not to let it get to me. I enjoyed playing football and I wasn’t going to let it stop that.

So I carried on and eventually more people respected me than bullied me. One teacher said I had guts for joining in and sticking at it.

Sport is a big part of my life, both socially and professionally and if I hadn’t carried on I’m not sure what I’d be doing now. At the moment I am a teaching assistant while I am training to become a physiotherapist. I also throw the javelin for Liverpool Harriers and play hockey for Mossley Hill Hockey Club. And when I’m not competing, I also love to cycle around the city and train at the gym.

It’s given me a wide circle of friends. I know so many people through the activities I do. I am a member of the hockey club committee and I love working as part of a team to achieve what I do – and what we do.

If I had listened to other people earlier in my life, I’m sure I would have been left disappointed with myself if I’d given up because, as much as anything, sport is about having resilience when there’s criticism or those times when it’s hard.

My advice to all women and girls out there is ‘don’t knock it ‘til you try it’, just go out and try something new and you will find an activity that you enjoy. There are plenty of places that you can join up with your friends, or even go by yourself and make new ones!