Community Action

MWFL:  Xplosion proudly participate in Halifax Pride Parade

As the Maritime Women’s Football League basks in the glow of a successful and remarkable tenth anniversary season, the off-season has brought with it opportunities to get involved in the community. One franchise leading the way is the Halifax Xplosion.

In a show of solidarity, members of the proud franchise participated in the 26th Annual Halifax Pride Parade. The July 27, 2013 event featured several Xplosion players including Holly Arthur, Lindsay Bennett, Niamh Bermingham, Marlene Chickness, Lyndsay Corbin, Abbi Hennigar, Ashley Howatt, Angela Howell, Sarah Ingraham, Karen Lalonde, Terri Smith-Fraser and Leah Wofsy.

Adorned in their navy blue jerseys, the players proudly marched in the parade while wearing multi-coloured knee-high socks. In many cultures throughout the world, multi-coloured (or rainbow themed) items symbolize messages of diversity, hope and inclusion.

With helmet in hand, the players marched from Barrington Street to Spring Garden Road and up to Garrison Grounds. Some players gave out miniature flags with the Xplosion logo, while others gave out candies. There were also two players that held placards. With tongue in cheek, one placard read Girl on Girl Action is All Part of the Game, while another featured Check out our Tight Ends.

In years past, bad timing prevented the franchise from participating. As women’s football represents a great example where remarkable women have broken barriers, the Pride Parade is a celebration that shows all deserve to be included and that anyone can be a hero. Holly Arthur explains how the franchise got involved,

“The Xplosion wanted to get involved in previous years and the dates just never worked out. Most of us have friends, family, coworkers or teammates that are in the LGBT community and we really wanted to show our support.

It is a great community event that embraces equality and we were honoured we could be a part of it this year.”

While the Xplosion supported a worthy cause, a key aspect of the day’s events culminated in a great feeling of fun. Strengthening the bonds of friendship and building team spirit were complemented by making new friends and showing that the Xplosion is serious about being a responsible citizen in the community.

Lindsay Bennett, a member of the Xplosion was happy to have represented her team and participated in the event. With a background in soccer, she was the recipient of the team’s Unsung Hero Award in 2012. Her enthusiasm for the game helped to represent the collective feeling of friendship and celebration that encompassed the event.

“It was such a great experience! The crowd was amazing and we got a lot of positive feedback. Being part of such a high profile event like the parade really helped to get the word out about our team.”

Although the Xplosion may be the best-kept sporting secret in Halifax, the fun and enthusiasm displayed by the players helped to personify the spirit of team-building and respect. “We had a blast! It was such a fun day to spend together and not only be able to promote equality but also get our name out there to the community. Even prepping for the event was fun. We all found as much colourful stuff as we could, made some fun signs and bought a crap load of candy to pass out to people.

It was awesome hearing people’s reactions to knowing women’s tackle football existed, let alone there being a team right here in Halifax. We even got some random twitter shout outs after the parade and possibly some new recruits; so it was a great success. It’s an amazing event and we definitely have plans on participating next year!” proclaimed Arthur.

Former MWFL All-Star selection Terri Smith-Fraser found the opportunity one that provided a sense of happiness and team building. For the seasoned veteran, she is already looking forward to next year. “This was the Xplosion’s first time participating in Halifax’s Pride Parade but will not be our last. We had a blast walking in the parade and look forward to doing it again next year!”

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the event for the Xplosion was the pleasant surprise of being named as the Best Community in the 2013 Pride Parade. Arthur commented on earning the accolade,

“We were so shocked to be named ‘Best Community Group’ in the parade. We knew there were awards, but with such a small group, and only joining at the last minute, we were not even thinking about them.

Our goal was just to show people women’s football existed and have fun doing it. We definitely accomplished both! Then to hear we had won ‘Best Community Group’ on top of that was just the icing on the cake!”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

Leave a Reply