By: Giulia Barile
The Lanceher women’s football team is one of the best teams you never heard of – particularly if you take into account the athlete experience. They are preparing for their upcoming season and making some lifelong friendships in the process.
Powderpuff football is similar to flag football but includes full contact blocking. The Lanceher team has been competing for seven years and each year they grow a little bit more.
Between twenty and thirty women are members of the team and they do not play in any type of sanctioned league. Instead, they play two or three-weekend tournaments per year for an opportunity to showcase their talents against other Ontario universities and colleges.
A lot of hard work is put into making a successful team. The Lancehers have many fundraisers, practice a minimum of twice a week, and began preparing for the season’s first tournament (which is at the end of January) in mid-October.
First-year head coach, Randall Beardy, is excited for the upcoming year and has already begun making goals for his team.
“My main goal through powderpuff is to offer these women an opportunity to learn the game and also fall in love with it the same way I did,” Beardy said. “Winning is a secondary aspect but, to see how much fun everyone has at the tournaments and the bonds created is the most important part.”
Beardy, who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 Canadian Football League (CFL) Draft, has plenty of football experience as he was a member of the Windsor Lancers men’s football team for five seasons and won the Grey Cup with the Ottawa Redblacks in 2016.
With this football knowledge, Beardy is preparing his team for what looks to be a positive and successful year.
“We expect to be pretty good. We have many players returning, so I think we can build on that core group with a couple key recruits,” Beardy explained.
The most important thing is that women get an opportunity to learn and thrive in such a male-dominated sport.
The team’s running back, Kenya Pinnock, is a fierce competitor on the field, but the relationships and friendships made within this group are what matters to her the most.
“I love being on this team. While we are competitive, we have fun. Everyone looks out for each other and treats each other equally. I remember at one of our tournaments last year, there was some hatred amongst team members on the opposing teams every time someone messed up. For the Lancehers it’s the opposite, all love,” Pinnock explained.
The Lancehers began setting goals for the season and they wanted to aim high, as they know they are capable of attaining it. Team quarterback, Jade Parent, is confident in her team’s abilities and is ready for the challenges ahead.
“We got second last year out of all the teams, so I am hoping to beat Toronto (last year’s champions) and take the championship title this season,” Parent said.
Regardless of the amount of attention they get, the relationship both on and off the field could not be stronger for this group of girls. The strength of the team is in each individual member, but the strength of each member is in the team.
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