Brisbane Heat: How players like Jonassen are influencing the younger generation

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Photo Credit: Brisbane Heat

Recently, the Brisbane Heat caught up with Amy Milgate, a nine-year-old junior player from Wilston Norths Junior Cricket Club, and her hero, Jess Jonassen.

For Amy’s English class this term, the students were asked to write a biography on someone who has created a legacy, and Amy chose to write her piece on Jess.

“I chose Jess because she’s my favourite cricket player, and she was the first ever one I’ve ever met in person.”

Amy’s favourite part of cricket is the bowling and fielding, and she wants to be a spin bowler like Jess when she grows up.

“Cricket is really entertaining to play and watch, and I’ve made lots of friends through cricket”.

In her biography Amy wrote: “Cricket might not be a popular sport for little girls, but Jess Jonassen has influenced little girls like me to play…Jess Jonassen teaches little girls to keep improving and try new things.”

In the 2023-24 season to date, Queensland has seen an overall increase of 48% in the number of girls playing cricket.

Role models play a crucial role in significantly increasing the participation, volunteerism, or engagement of women and girls in sports. Specifically, female high performance and professional athletes. These athletes provide evidence that success in an activity is attainable, help counteract negative stereotypes, and represent possible future states.

On hearing about the biography, Jess remarked that she was really chuffed, and it was the first time she’s had a biography written about her (that she knows of!).

As a kid JJ’s cricket heroes were male, as “at the time that was all I saw”.

However, as Jess’ career has progressed there has been a huge shift in the growth of women’s sport.

“I first started playing when I was 10 and was one of very few girls who played. Now the level of all girls competitions, the WBBL, the quality of competitions, the media exposure, and just the amount of fans who come to a game, its grown massively.”

On inspiring a younger generation of girls to play sport Jess expressed “It’s incredible the amount of strong female role models around the country, and even the globe at the moment. It’s something that makes me really proud to be a woman.”

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