Beyond the gridiron

Two-sport star Lammerding shines bright for Valkyries

While football encompasses a lot of hard work and sacrifice among the women who grace the gridiron, Jaime Lammerding’s efforts go beyond. Giving back to the community off the field, Lammerding has the heart of a champion, setting a positive example. Having experienced the jubilation of four consecutive WWCFL championships with the Saskatoon Valkyries, she instills that same feeling among those that she helps in wheelchair basketball.

Born in Saskatoon, Lammerding is among a proud group of Valkyries that have graduated from the University of Saskatchewan. With green in her blood, she has helped transform the Valkyries into one of Canada’s greatest modern-day female sporting dynasties. As the impact of the Valkyries (and their archrivals, the Regina Riot) continue to integrate female football into the greater sporting conversation, the efforts of women like Lammerding extend beyond the gridiron. In addition to playing with the Valkyries, Lammerding also spent three years contributing as the club’s Communications Executive.

The opportunity to do so was a labour of love, as it was also an extension of a unique skill set that she possesses. Also a member of the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, she works in composing briefs about local sports stories along with statistical data entry. Being involved with the team off the field in such an effort was enjoyable. Allowing her the opportunity to contribute to the team in another unique way, it only enhanced her appreciation of the team.

“I served on the board as the Communications Executive for three years, but resigned at our last Annual General Meeting. I still serve on the Communications Committee though.
When I was on the board I had a good time.

It is great to be able to watch the Valkyries grow as an organization from the perspective of a player on the team and as someone behind the scenes. Now, as a former board member and a player, it helps to give me an understanding of what all goes in to making our season happen, and it makes me want to help out whenever I can because I know what it’s like to be that person trying to organize things.”

During Lammerding’s gridiron career, the most memorable season may have been in 2013. Not only did it mark her third straight WWCFL championship, but it was an opportunity for a special and unique career milestone. Getting the call to play for Team Canada at the 2013 edition of the IFAF Women’s World Football Championships represented unchartered territory for her. Donning the red and white Canada jersey along more than a dozen Valkyries teammates was a great achievement for sporting equality.

“I have said it before, but representing Canada in football was like having a dream I never knew I had, come true. I played football in high school with the boys, and at that time, there was not any women’s tackle football, or even talk about it in Saskatchewan.

So I figured that my Grade 12 year would be my last year to play football. I am very fortunate that women’s tackle football has become a reality in time for me to be able to play it and playing for Canada at the Worlds (and to see all of the different women from around the world playing it) made the experience even more special.”

Returning with a silver medal, the rush of representing one’s country translated into a run towards another WWCFL championship. Redemption was a recurring theme for Lammerding and her teammates. Competing on the road in the Prairie Conference championship game, it would prove to be the biggest challenge in the early franchise history of the proud Valkyries. Competing against their archrival Regina Riot, the outcome would prove to be the defining moment of the season,

“Winning the WWCFL title that year was special too as, in my opinion, it was our toughest season to date. We experienced our first loss as a team, and for the the first time we were not on home turf for the Prairie Conference final. Those factors made the championship title an even greater experience, really bringing us together as a team to focus and get the job done.”

Running parallel to her gridiron glories have included heroics on the hardcourt. Several years has seen Lammerding involved in wheelchair basketball. Although Lammerding is not allowed to compete at the national level because she is able-bodied, she can participate at the provincial level.

Competing twice for the Saskatchewan provincial team at the Canada Winter Games (2007 and 2011), earning bronze on each occasion. As a side note, she was only in her first year of playing experience when she made her appearance at the 2007 Games.

During the 2011 edition of the Games, Lammerding also contributed blogs to the Canada Winter Games site. Chronicling her experiences, her gracious efforts encapsulated what the games meant to her, while adding a profound human touch that readers could appreciate. One year later, Lammerding would compete for Saskatchewan again. Playing alongside the highly accomplished Ashley Baerg and Gabby Roberts-Winter, it was another milestone in an impressive two-sport career.

Her love of the game extended to numerous capacities. One such included serving as a Wheelchair Basketball Demonstrator. Enlightening students during her tours of various schools, her efforts conveyed a message of empowerment, showing how sport can help disabled people integrate into society.

In addition to serving as a Board Member of the Saskatchewan Wheelchair Sports Association, she is also the President for the Saskatoon-based Club’99 Wheelchair Basketball team. In her capacity as team president, Lammerding’s leadership shines to the forefront, as she deals with financials, but works tirelessly to help organize local events. Through it all, the most enjoyable aspect of her efforts in wheelchair basketball consists of the proud sense of friendship and supports that exists.

“While wheelchair basketball is one of my favourite sports that I have played, the best part about being involved with the sport is the community of wheelchair basketball. Everyone knows everyone. We have all played with each other, against each other, cheered for one another, and jokingly booed one another. I am too busy to play wheelchair basketball right now, but I am still the President of our local team, Club’99. I am (also) a member of the Saskatchewan Wheelchair Sports Association (SWSA) Board of Directors, and I love being able to see everyone at tournaments and other functions.

Playing wheelchair basketball definitely filled a gap for me sports-wise between high school and the start of Valkyries. I tell lots of people that the amount of contact allowed in wheelchair basketball held me over until I could play full-contact football again. It’s also the sport I see myself going back to once I’m done playing football.”

A remarkable sporting humanitarian, Lammerding’s efforts are testament to the feeling of pride and participation that comes with being a member of the female football community. While her competitiveness is complemented by her compassion, Lammerding represents the potential that all athletes have to set a positive example.

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

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