For nearly my whole life England / Great Britain have mainly underperformed on the international stage especially when it comes to team sports. And usually, it results in lots of wringing of hands and cries of failure, demands for public examination of where it all went wrong and a desire to publicly chastise those who were responsible. And then, recently, that seems to have changed (I’m sure others could evidence the change in our fortunes across all types of team sports - which doesn’t mean we’ve won everything - that would be impossible but we definitely have been performing in line with our talent and occasionally winning things) and my proposal is that a significant part of that is down to our female sports teams. They have taught us the true value/s of competition and how to both make it your absolute goal but also keep it in perspective. Funny really because Rudyard Kipling, in his famous poem ‘If’ exhorts us to do this to become a ‘man’ but in reality our women have shown us how to do it.

Great example was yesterday's Women's Rugby Union World Cup Final. For weeks we have been inspired and captivated by the stories of commitment and desire of our English Roses and then yesterday immediately after the heart wrenching and oh so close loss in the final our captain Sarah Hunter showed true class and just how to ‘meet the two imposters’ of victory and loss ‘and treat them both the same’.

And not only is this important because we now have team sporting heroes who are women but, I would argue’ they are showing our men the way to go too.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the rise of women's sport in UK has also brought about a change in fortune for our men too. And further I would argue that it’s because women aren’t and haven’t been tainted by some of the previously very masculine and unhelpful beliefs associated with team sports and winning/losing. They have shown us all the weaknesses of unhealthy and unconscious ‘winning is all’ and if that doesn’t demonstrate the importance of diversity then probably nothing else will.

It’s very exciting and such a breath of fresh air. Let’s hope it continues to grow and we protect, as vigorously as we possibly can, what they bring from an off field perspective in terms of values and culture as much as the pure pleasure I'm sure we have all experienced in watching them on the pitches.

They have brought a fearlessness to our team sports and long may this continue. All of society needs to be inspired by our sports stars and this happens when talented people do not play with fear.