A league of their own

Won the 2015 Journalism Award for Best Second-Year Sports Story

(Originally published on Nov. 4 2014 in The Chronicle and online at http://chronicle.durhamcollege.ca/?p=2688)

Scan 24

The Rogers Centre seats were all empty but the stadium roared of laughter and football drills.

This wasn’t your normal football practice with men throwing around the pigskin and talking about catching a cold beer afterward. Instead around 60 women were geared up in workout wear and running drills with three Toronto Argonauts players.

The Toronto Argonauts and Gal’s Got Game partnered up for the first Football 101 in Toronto on Oct. 23.

“It’s not everyday that they open up the Rogers Centre for women to practise football,” said Lally Rementilla co-founder of Gal’s Got Game.

Football 101 is a training program and an introduction to football for women to help them advance in the business world.

Zander Robinson at Football 101
Zander Robinson at Football 101

“We really feel that sports [are] one way by which women can engage in better conversations with their colleagues and their clients and their bosses,” said Rementilla. “You can have a CEO of a company and the mailroom clerk bond over sports.”

Argos players Zander Robinson, James Yurichuk and Mike Bradwell first talked to the women about the game, the history of the Argos and themselves as professional players.

“We want to see everyone enjoying the game like we do, “ said Yurichuk.

Once everyone was on the field drills, and warm-ups started so the girls experienced the full effect of football. They started out with a ladder on the ground and one-in-the-hole exercises as they ran up the ladders. The group ran up the ladder making sure only one foot went into each rung.

“In football, the coach will get mad at us if he doesn’t see us moving our arms, kind of like a T-Rex,” said Yurichuk after the first drill.

The ladies then ran two-in-the-hole up the ladders making sure both feet went into the rungs.

Robinson started to yell “Arms, arms, arms,” as the ladies laughed doing the drills.

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After the ladder they moved to jumping jacks, an integral part of the warmup.

“If you want to be a team, you need to be in sync,” said Yurichuk, as he explained why being in unison in the jumping jacks mattered.

The women were broken up in to groups of three to run other drills. They played flag football with Yurichuk, practised kicking a field goal with Bradwell and ran throwing and catching drills with Robinson.

During the wrap-up of the event Yurichuk talked about something exciting and close to him.

“A friend of mine, his daughter she’s 16 years old and she wants to play football. Unfortunately the only opportunity for her to play football is to play with the boys at her high school team,” said Yurichuk. “What my friend, her father is done is he’s set himself on a mission to be father of the year and to start a woman’s football league. So she can play exclusively with the women”

The Central Canada Women’s Football League (CCWFL) is looking to launch its first game in 2015. The CCWFL will start with four teams in the GTA and already has 100 women signed up to play. They are still looking for players, coaches and volunteers for the upcoming season.

The night ended on a loud note with a huddle as the entire group yelled the infamous chant of “Ar-gos.”

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