Like everyone else this year, I was hoping my summer would include some CFL action.
When the league announced that the CFL season was cancelled, my heart sank. We all might have seen this coming because of the other sporting cancellations due to COVID-19, but this one hit home.
When I was a young girl, my parents would take me to see the Riders play as a family at what was once Taylor Field. Being a young athlete — and future football player — attending those games meant a lot to me. My dad always told me that I could be as great as any athlete and pursue whatever I wanted in sports. Therefore, watching these athletes perform was, and still is, a great source of motivation in my life.
When I watch CFL games I love watching players progress throughout the season. As an athlete, I look up to other athletes to motivate me in the pursuit of my own goals and the CFL was one of my first motivating influences in this regard. These are some of the hardest-working athletes you will come across and getting to know them personally was and remains a big reason why I chased my dream of playing football — especially as a female athlete.
I miss the rush of the crowd I feel at CFL games — the highs and the lows you share with every single person in attendance. I’ve been fortunate enough to feel that rush both as a spectator and as a player.
I miss the sense of community the CFL brings across borders. It has been a great opportunity for athletes from the United States to come play the game they love in Canada. They are excited to continue playing and working on the game they love, and with that, they become fan favourites in our communities.
The journey of being an athlete is about the impact of who you influence along the way. Competing at a high level in football in the United Sates and for Team Canada, my career and passion for the sport was inspired by watching the CFL.
We are experiencing a fundamental shift in the sports world as we all try to adapt to this new life of competition without fans and without a CFL season. In the future when we have football again, I know I will appreciate the cheers, the sense of community spirit, and watching the players grind day-in and day-out a little bit more.
When football does return, I will be in the stands cheering loud and enjoying the spirit of our league. I can’t wait.