With the Super Bowl approaching, football fever is in the air. So, why should ladies care? Aside from men loving a sports gal, football is an interesting sport to watch, and an even better way to get in shape!
The Lady Gladiators are the Capital area women’s football league. They began in 2004 along with the Saint John Storm. Since then, the Moncton Vipers and Halifax Xplosion have also joined the league. The Lady Gladiators were the first Canadian women’s tackle football team.
This upcoming season will be their eleventh year running, and anticipation is high with a new head coach taking over.
“This year, we are excited for some changes and we are pushing forward for expansion,” said team manager Hannah Hamilton.
This year, the Maritime Womens Football League’s season has moved; it will now operate from April to June. Because of these schedule changes, previous head coach Steve Drisdelle has decided to take a step down. Andrew Holleran coached with the Lady Gladiators last year and is now moving into the head coach position.
“I found for some reason that the team was not in sync for most of the season [last year], and I want to ensure we change that,” said Andrew.
Andrew says he wants to improve the team by instilling a hard working and positive attitude towards each and every play. He wants to improve the teams conditioning overall performance and abilities. He believes it is important to be in good shape while playing, especially in the heat, which is hard on the body.
“I will play to our strengths and capitalize on the oppositions weaknesses. I want to have all the players involved in the team because it is just that, a team,” he said. “We may be the champs, but we still have lots of room for improvement. I’m not saying we won’t make mistakes, because we are human, but with the right attitude and some hard work we will be champs again.”
The Lady Gladiators hold a pre-season to make sure they are in good playing condition, as well as their regular season and finals. The team is made up of different women from around the city of different ages and skill levels. Some of these women have never thrown a football in their life, while others play on a national level.
“You don’t have to try out or anything, you just come and if see if you’re interested in playing,” said Zoe Bourgeois, a long time Lady Glad. “We teach them the rules of the game. You train and whatnot before you get on the field and then you get a sense of what position you want to play. Then you go from there and each practice you learn what to do.”
Zoe has a long history in football. She began playing in the eighth grade after her stepdad passed away. She says she started playing for him, because he loved football. When she started playing, there was no woman’s league offered, so she played on men’s teams for years. Eventually the Jr. Girls Football League, offered by Football New Brunswick, began a leave for girls ages 14 to 17 to play tackle football.
“People think you need to be strong and masculine in order to play this sport when really I’m 5’1 ½ only 130 pounds and I play the game just rockin’,” said Zoe.
Aside from the physical benefits of being worked as hard as they are, female football players develop strong, supportive team bonds. It’s not all about strength – there’s a position for everyone!
“I think women need to not be so self conscious- I think they should give it a chance. It’s a whole other world once you step on the field instead of watching it,” Zoe said.
The Lady Gladiators’ pre season training starts on February 9. It will be held 7-9 pm at Gibson-Neill Memorial School Gym. Ages 18-55 are welcome. For more information visit their Facebook page.
Editor’s Note: This article was re-uploaded on February 9th to correct errors found in the original.