Content warning: This hoddle reflects on a Players’ Tribune article about suicide, suicidal thoughts, mental health and eating disorders
Good morning, hoddlers. I must stress that I am touching on some sensitive subjects today (see content warning). The other day I came across this Players’ Tribune article written by THFCW player Molly Bartrip (pictured in today’s header image, left, with Asmita Ale). After spending considerable time reading it, I decided it was too important to not share.
After all, Bartrip wants her story to be told.
In a little under 6,300 eloquent words, Bartrip recalls her previous years-long battles with anorexia, severe depression and anxiety. It is impossible for me to appropriately replicate her words here. No one’s voice is in this story is as powerful as Bartrip’s.
But I would like to touch on the bravery by which she contributed to this project. And not just bravery, but also humility, companionship, a love for her family, a sense of responsibility for others and a tenderness in how she recollects her actions.
How humble must a player be to so open in recounting her struggles with her illness as well as the interactions she had with her family during it. To have that kind of humility to serve others is breathtakingly courageous.
Towards the end of her story, she answers two important questions: Why write about this now? Why share it now? Her answer:
I don’t think the culture of football is fully equipped to deal with these issues among the players. We’ve made a lot of progress in the area of mental health, but there’s still more work to do.
What’s more, she recounts her own experience of not having her footballing support group when she most needed it. If Bartrip is to be believed - which she ought to - then she is not the only one to have fought these battles. And players who may be struggling with issues today are not alone.
Tottenham Hotspur in August began recruiting a Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Manager to work closely with its girls and boys academy players. Bartrip was only 13 years old during her bout with anorexia.
I find it so easy to look at footballers and see them only as a crest-emblazoned stat line, whereas this story teaches me they are so much more. It makes me appreciate the humanity that they all possess, and the respect, love and patience they deserve.
It fills me with great joy to see Bartrip smiling next to her Tottenham companion. It was a long, fraught journey, but with the support of so many and with all her strength, she triumphed. Now, she is telling her story so others may share in it.
Football is a better sport today because of Molly Bartrip.
Fitzie’s track of the day: House of Cards by Radiohead
And now for your links:
Ben Davies gives his take on the new Tottenham Hotspur signings
Kieran Trippier will miss a run of Newcastle fixtures after suffering a fracture in his left foot
UEFA will give away 10,000 tickets for free to fans whose clubs make it to this year’s Champions League final
Man City defender Joao Cancelo says robbery ‘terrorised my family’
The Athletic ($$) reports the Premier League is launching a programme to improve standard and diversity of its referees