Lee Watson (nee Furlong) is a TV sports commentator who is married to Australian cricketer Shane Watson. Lee and Shane recently teamed up with the original Yellow Wiggle, Greg Page, to create Let’s Activate, a children’s program involving music to help them improve their motor skills. The 30-year-old talks to me about where her love of sport comes from, the challenges of touring and why her lifestyle is less glamorous than it may seem.
What’s a day in the life of you?
I’ve got two beautiful children, Will and Matilda, they feature heavily in my day … Now that we’ve launched Let’s Activate, I’m really busy with that … We’ve got five locations throughout Sydney and we’re hoping to expand really quickly. So by midyear we’re going to move interstate and then, the plan is, next year focus overseas.
Tell me about Let’s Activate.
They are kids’ clinics teaching little ones [aged 2 to 6] the basic skills of sport through music, dance and movement… [Kids] learn so easily when there is music and repetition, so we’ve got the lovely Greg Page … as part of our team. He has written all the music for our program.
How did you get Greg involved?
Shane just contacted [him] through LinkedIn and we knew that he was a [cricket] fan. Greg jumped at the opportunity. He is really passionate, like we are, about children and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. He has six kids … So between us there are eight … They’re guinea pigs for our program and they’ve been able to trial and test our program over the last couple of years.
What has been the biggest challenge with setting up the business?
Finding the time for everything … And everything is new to me. I love learning along the way and every day is a new day.
Where did your sporting passion come from?
A little girl, sitting on the lounge with my dad watching the rugby league … I’ve loved sport from an early age. I used to coach little kids … I always knew I wanted to get into sport in one way or another.
What has been the biggest pinch-me moment in your career?
It would be interviewing some of my favourite tennis players, such as Roger Federer. He is an absolute gentleman on and off the field, and an amazing athlete.
Will you ever go back to sports commentating?
At the moment, no. I’m really comfortable. Probably two months before we launched Let’s Activate there was a job opportunity on TV and I thought about it for a couple of weeks. I realised that for us to get Let’s Activate up and running, we really needed to dedicate ourselves 24-7.
As a commentator, what was your favourite sport to cover?
Definitely the tennis … I travelled to Wimbledon and the US Open … I absolutely loved what I did but now my life has changed … My husband is away for six months of the year … so I want to make sure that someone is home with the kids.
What is it like to be married to an international cricket star?
The team seems to travel a lot. I would be lying if I said it was a really glamorous lifestyle … it’s not. Travelling with two kids in small hotel rooms [is hard] … However, we are welcomed everywhere we go … We can travel on the team bus and stay in the same hotel … We are on tour four months of the year and the kids love it.
Are you looking forward to Shane retiring?
I am now, with Let’s Activate, so he can be more hands-on … He will be coming to the clinic and helping us out with the program …I’m really proud of what he has been able to do with playing at the top level … and hope it continues.
What is Shane like as a dad?
He is incredible … The bond he has with his kids is amazing … I guess all athletes have a choice in how much they want to see their family on tour … From day one he has always wanted Will and Matilda there when they can be … He is perfectionist at cricket and as a dad, too.
What do you love the most about being a mum?
The mornings, because I love the cuddles and kisses you get in the morning. I feel so lucky to be a mum. It has to be one of the toughest jobs in the world … but the most rewarding … They are always happy to see you. Sometimes your partner isn’t always happy to see you [laughs].
What was it like to be a mum second time around with the birth of your daughter Matilda?
I’m more laid back; I know what I am doing and not sweating the small things.
Do you have plans to grow the family?
If you asked me a year ago, I would have said yes, we are going to have a third … At the moment, though, probably just the two … With Will and Matilda we feel our family is complete … Touring with three kids would be very challenging.
What is next?
Growing the business and expanding to Brisbane and Melbourne … We are even having some preliminary talks with people in India.
What is success to you?
Being happy and looking forward to what you are doing … even the little things!
TERM 2 BEGINS APRIL 24 AND RUNS FOR 10 WEEKS
Two to three-year-olds = $11 per session
Three to four-year-olds, four to six-year-olds = $22 per session
We went to 1821, Sydney
We ate Sesame Crusted Haloumi – Hot quince syrup, confit cherry tomatoes, dried kalamta olvives; Ouzo Cured Salmon – Skordalia, paximadia crumb, toasted almonds, mulberry & pomegranate dressing; Greekslaw Salad – cabbage, carrot, currants, mind, toasted almonds, spiced corn, graviera, buttermilk aioli.
We drank Mineral water
Lee wore Rachel Gilbert