By Jess Caire
Conversations with Erin Phillips
When I think of role models for my children, I cannot look past Erin Phillips. She’s the inaugural winner of the Best and Fairest AFLW, Adelaide Crows co-captain, and a WNBA champion. She is quite simply a superstar. Oh, I forgot to mention she is a mummy to twin sixteen-month old babies, Brooklyn and Blake, and a devoted wife to Tracy Gahan (a former professional basketballer herself). Getting the chance to interview her for Adelady is a career highlight!
JC: When I see the turnout growing at my little girls training each week, my heart swells that she can play a sport she loves and can do whatever her heart desires, how does it feel to be a key player in such a movement?
EP: It’s an incredible feeling, knowing that you’re a part of changing the lives of so many girls and being part of something that is breaking barriers. I definitely feel a lot of responsibility to be a positive role model not only to my kids, but to other young kids as well. It is a responsibility that I love and means more to me than winning and losing.
JC: You and Tracy have become poster girls for same-sex relationships and obviously so much has changed in the last 6 months did you ever imagine you would be in a position where you could put same-sex marriage on the agenda?
EP: Being thrown into the spot light like we were was never our intention. We were just being ourselves and living our lives and didn’t expect that one single kiss would go viral. Looking back, we know now how significant it was, especially the timing of it all. The same sex marriage discussion really took off and we were happy to be a couple who people could look up to. We were so taken back and moved by the amount of thanks we received from people who were once upon a time afraid to be who they were, but now had the courage to be themselves.
JC: You’ve always loved footy – and you come from a football family (Erin’s dad is Port Adelaide legend Greg Phillips), it must be amazing to finally realise a life long dream, how pumped is your Dad to see you play?
EP: Yeah Dad was really excited to see me play. Like me, he never thought I would get this opportunity. He obviously knows first hand just how much I love the game and that growing up all I wanted to do was to play footy like him.
JC: You’ve reached elite level, in not one, but two sports (clearly an overachiever!!), and your list of achievements is beyond impressive, when you were a kid was this the plan?
EP: I just loved sport. I loved to compete and I loved challenging myself. I grew up in a sporting family so it was pretty much in my DNA. I have 2 older sisters who were great netballers and loved sport as well. I was that kid who you knew was going to be something sporty because every moment spare I had, I would have a ball or bat in my hand. I always say if you love something so much, you will do it well.
JC: With such a stellar career, there has no doubt been challenges, set backs and disappointments, what is your advice to anyone who is suffering from the setbacks? And what advice do you give all those young sport star hopefuls out there?
EP: A lot of people don’t realize that set backs and disappointments are all part of being an athlete. There would be NO single athlete out there that hasn’t gone through some rough times. The true test of character is through the most adverse of times. You have to keep believing in yourself and don’t listen to any negativity. Never give up!!! EVER!
JC: We all know SA is the home of the best wine in the world, so no surprises you are Wolf Blass’s ambassador! Other than the beautiful Barossa what else do you love about SA?
EP: I love SA and I do love a sneaky glass of Wolf Blass wine. Wolf Blass has always been a favourite of mine and I love to support local brands. I grew up in Adelaide but spent a lot of time holidaying in Port Lincoln on the Eyre Peninsula. There are so many cool beaches and National Parks. Our kids love the outdoors and animals and being around nature. There is no better place in the world than Port Lincoln; it definitely is my happy place.
JC: Erin, you are one inspirational Adelady, thank you so much for being such a fierce leader, and for showing all the kids out there (girls and boys) that if you want something bad enough you can make it happen xx