Friday, February 26, 2016

What Footy means to me, a former and new member of the Angels!

Aussie Rules is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a game resembling rugby that is played between two teams of 18 players on a field 180-190 yards long that has four goalposts at each end.

This definition is very general and is missing a lot of pieces and aspects to the game. Such as the leather ball is formed as an egg shape and, is smaller than a rugby ball, bigger than an american football. Or how we need to kick the ball through the two centre goalposts to earn six points. However, no matter how great a dictionary or other resource may describe the sport, there are many feelings that cannot be written down. Such as team conmadery, pride, health & fitness, and friendships that will last a lifetime. These are the things that I've missed the most on my year off from Footy.

Eastern Canadian Training Camp in Montreal, Feb. 2016
No one can best describe these feelings unless you've lived through these experiences. I was fortunate enough to take part in the IC14 as a player for the Canadian team. I will always cherish the moment I put on a Canadian jersey and played alongside the best and fittest  team mates a girl of 21 could have asked for. Being the youngest player on the team, I was able to experience what some people may only dream of. All this being said Australian Football has taught me respect, discipline and, selflessness that I have brought into my everyday life.

I was talking with a former Angel recently about how much I missed footy and the girls I've played with. I was too caught up with school and work and everyday life that football was not my first priority anymore. After this discussion I decided to commit myself to the sport again and this has been the best decision I have made in a long time.

I attended the Atlantic Division Training Camp last Saturday, and was taken aback by all the new faces and amazing athletes that were at that camp. It is inspiring and motivating to participate with such great women. The girls on the Atlantic team are strong and a force to be recon with.  Cannot wait to play alongside these exceptional girls at Canadian Nationals in Vancouver.  This is what the sport is all about.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Eastern Canadian Training Camp to be held in Montreal this weekend

Aimee Legault at the International Championships, Australia 2014
The off-season can be a difficult time for someone who plays a team sport. The lack of comradery seems to be substituted with PB (Personal Bests) in the gym or on the track. Although scheduled games and team training sessions are top priority during the season, the idea of choosing social events over scheduled workouts can seem all that more tempting. While some people are just recovering from their holiday food comas, I know that my fellow teammates on Team Canada have been working hard. From their #BeastMode posts to their work out photos, it is easy to remember that we are all in this together.

As someone who has had the privilege of being in the national program since 2010, I love this time of year. I have been training H2OMMA with my husband Ronan Shaughnessy, who is also part of the national program, on a regular and consistent basis. Just when it starts to get lonely in the gym and we start missing the game we love so much, a Team Canada training camp is on the horizon. This weekend players from Newfoundland all the way to Ottawa will be travelling to Montreal for an Eastern Canadian training camp hosted by AFL Quebec.

AFL Quebec players at the Parallel Cup
in Fort Lauderdale
The idea of early morning fitness testing and skills assessment can seem somewhat cringe worthy, but I look forward to this experience every year. It’s a chance to train with committed players and to challenge our selves. It brings together women and men who have three things in common: a passion for the sport of Australian Football, a mutual respect for one another and a genuine desire to develop the sport in Canada.

As selection is done on an annual basis, no player is guaranteed a spot on the following years squad. 2017 will mark the 3rd Women’s International Championship, and as defending Champions, the Canadian women’s team will need to be all the more stringent in its selection process.

Through these training camps you realize that selection is not the be all and end all. We don't train just to make the team, we train to be healthier, to be stronger. We strive to be better. We train for one another. The adage of one of our sponsors, 2XU Canada, rings true: Heart not Hype. We don’t do it for the glory, for the recognition, for the “fame”...we play an obscure sport that is most often confused with rugby.

Confident that my teammate who recently had a baby will most certainly beat my time in our 3 kilometer run, this is one of the examples of why I cannot wait for this weekend! Just to meet up with an amazing bunch of individuals. We all have our strengths, we all work on what we need to improve and collectively we are unstoppable!

If you are interested in trying Australian Football, check out these upcoming events. For men and women, no experience necessary in Montreal and in Ottawa

Northern Lights, Team Canada at the 2014 International Championships in Melbourne, Australia