Halifax Pride support

Halifax Xplosion proudly marches for pride

For the second consecutive year, players from the Halifax Xplosion participated in a great civic gesture by participating in the annual Halifax Pride Parade. Staged in the downtown core, the route began on Lower Water Street towards Barrington Street, heading to Spring Garden Road and South Park Street, while ending on Sackville Street.

Terri Smith-Fraser, one of the team’s leaders helped to organize the squad’s participation for the 2014 edition of the Pride Parade. Among the Xplosion players that were involved this year included the likes of defensive rookie of the year Brittney Atkins, Lindsay Corbin, Dianne Ikeda, Angela Howell, Danyelle Kernan, Tasha McMaster (preparations) and defensive stalwart Samantha Nowlan.

Of note, Nowlan was injured early on in the season. Requiring surgery to repair two major injuries to her leg, her presence at the parade was a source of great inspiration for the club. Riding in the back of the truck during the parade, former players and excited fans were among the onlookers showing their support.

According to Angela Howell, who marched in 2013, the support of the crowd served as one of her favorite moments in her participation this year. “I enjoyed the very large, supportive crowd! You could tell that there were more folks out supporting Pride than ever before, and the atmosphere was amazing.”

The key aspect for the Xplosion is to ensure that it is a fun experience. Last year, players gave out candy, while others sported homemade signs. Smith-Fraser discussed the impact of the signs and how it became part of the fun of getting involved for this year’s event, “One of the most fun things about getting ready is always our signs. Natasha McMaster made the first signs (in 2013)….and they were a huge hit. So this year, a group of us got together and came up with a few more signs, as well as preparing the candy. People really seem to get a kick out of them.”

A growing sign of the Xplosion’s prominence with the Pride Parade was their involvement in a softball game that is part of the week-long festivities. Of note, the Xplosion were also invited to attend the Dykes vs. Divas annual softball game and warm up the players. Many Xplosion players branched out on social media and expressed their appreciation in being invited to one of the most unique events of the Halifax social calendar in the summer.

Merely two years ago, the Xplosion took part from a spectator’s perspective. Within the space of a handful of years, the team has embarked on a path of friendship, admiration and solidarity. Smith-Fraser reflected on the Xplosion’s early involvement with the Parade,

“The Xplosion kind of got involved with the Pride Parade indirectly in 2012. Until that time, we were still playing football. Yet, with changes to the season’s time frame, we were finished our season for Pride 2012. A group of Xplosion players, working with The Coast, attended the Parade.

In 2013, we were invited by the parade committee to submit a group. We did and we had a great time. So this year we once again submitted our team and had an amazing time.”

With sights already set for 2015, Smith-Fraser could not contain her enthusiasm. “We are already planning for next year. We all enjoyed being a part of Halifax Pride week, such a great event. We look forward to future events”

Quickly emerging as one of the Xplosion’s signature events, it sets a positive example for the Maritime Women’s Football League, a true collaboration in community spirit and empowerment. Such values are what make it an enjoyable experience for Howell, who praised the team’s efforts, “I am very proud of my team’s involvement in the community! I love that my team has had the opportunity to walk in the parade the past two years.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Special thanks to Terri Smith-Fraser

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