By now, if you are a real sports fan you have heard about Ada Hegerberg. But, you probably do not know her for her incredible football accomplishments. You probably do not know that she grew up in a tiny Norwegian town of 7,000, where both her mother and father were football coaches. Or that her sister was the captain of her all-boys football team. You probably do not know know all of the blood, sweat, and tears that Hegerberg has put into the game. Just like all of the female footballers. Just like all of the male footballers.
If you heard her name recently it is because she won the Ballon d’Or, an annual and prestigious award given out by French football. She was the first winner to be a female. GO ADA!
But when she went up to accept the trophy, the announcer tried to make a joke and asked, “Can you twerk?”
I’m sorry sir…what? Don’t you dare steal Ada Hegerberg’s moment. This is the moment, not just for her, but for all female footballers.
In an article written for The Players’ Tribune, titled Not Here to Dance, Hegerberg poured her heart out. She wrote of the excitment that she felt leading up to the ceremony, and the awe that she felt being surrounded by such amazing ballers.
Hegerberg praised her club, Olympique Lyonnais, and Jean-Michel Aulas for creating such a professional environment for both the men’s and women’s teams. They are treated one and the same. They are valued.
“We need more people in the game with the vision of Jean-Michel Aulas, who knows that investing in the women’s game is a win-win for the club and the city and the players.” – Ada Hegerberg
She wrote that this was one of the few times in her life that she felt equal. She felt equal to all of the male footballers who were in the audience. And she was not going to let this sad, pathetic joke ruin her moment. But, it was not even just her moment. It was a moment for all female athletes.
Ada Hegerberg is a pioneer for female footballers. She might be the first woman to win the Ballon d’Or but she certainly will not be the last. She encourages all young girls to never lose hope and to keep that fire inside of them.
“You can’t lose your fire. You can’t let anybody take your fire away from you. If you have big dreams, the fire is the only thing that will get you there.”
Please believe in yourself.