Jaime Lammerding adds to growing Valkyries legacy at 2017 IFAF Worlds

Perhaps one of the most underappreciated positions in all of sport, the dedicated players who dutifully stand guard on the offensive line comprise the foundation for any potent scoring attack. From basic fundamentals as footwork to the precision required to successfully execute a key offensive play, such stoic warriors bring no shortage of fascinating facets to the game, combining elements of heart, character and courage.

Among such a gathering of skilled offensive line talent for Canada’s contingent at the 2017 IFAF Women’s World Championships involved Jamie Lammerding. With a consistent devotion and powerful dignity among her most endearing qualities, such a work ethic is also exemplified by the fact that she admirably pulled double duty in 2017, also serving in the capacity as the WWCFL’s Registrar. As a side note, she also composed an article for the Saskatoon Star Phoenix on the experience of competing in the final football game at Mosaic Stadium.

Competing against the Edmonton Storm in the 2017 WWCFL Consolation Final (Photo credit: Darren Steinke)

A charter member of the Saskatoon Valkyries, she represents some of the game’s nostalgia in Western Canada, destined to one day conjure memories of a golden era for the game. Not only is the very youthful Lammerding already worthy of the moniker “living legend”, the 2017 edition of the Worlds represented her second tour with Canada. The chance to do so on “home soil” in Vancouver brought a heightened sense of importance for Lammerding, as wearing Canada’s colours affirmed her status as a tremendous ambassador for the game,

“Playing on home turf and in front of a hometown crowd is always a great feeling, no matter the sport or what team you’re playing for, but wearing that maple leaf in Canada is something extra special. There’s pride in being able to showcase your country to other teams, and being able to showcase your sport to other Canadians.”

In action against Great Britain (Photo credit: Game On Photo)

With the experience of five WWCFL championships, along with the silver medal obtained as a member of Canada in 2013, Lammerding approached the 2017 edition of the IFAF Worlds with an increased sense of self-assuredness. Considering that more than 30 members of Canada’s roster were making their debut in Vancouver, Lammerding’s maturity and acumen also transformed her into a valued leader,

“I definitely felt more confident coming into this year’s tournament because I felt that I knew a little bit more what to expect. Not only from the games and against our opponents, but in the whole structure and how the tournament worked.

Having a sense of what practices would be like and the expectations of the players for the two-week period was good and helped me to remain more calm and level headed than I had been when I was preparing for the unknown in 2013.”

Heading into the opening kickoff, there was a strong emotional component. The 2017 season marked the swan song in Jeff Yausie’s odyssey in female football. As the first head coach in Valkyries history (Pat Barry took over the reins for the 2017 WWCFL season), his imprint on club history is undisputed, garnering acclaim and renown. Such a great career on the sidelines reached its apex in Vancouver, bringing the gridiron journey full circle.

Such a presence also represented a symbolic passing of the torch. Testament to Yausie’s legacy is the ability to have developed strong leaders, such as Lammerding. The Team Canada experience in 2017 brought an even more profound meaning for her, as she shared in this journey with Marci Halseth, who joined Saadia Ashraf as the first Team Canada alums to take on coaching roles with the national team.

Having enjoyed the jubilation of multiple WWCFL titles with Halseth as a teammate, the two also shared in the Team Canada experience of 2013. Although Halseth was originally penciled into Canada’s roster for 2017, an unfortunate injury made her inactive. The chance to take on a coaching role not only represented her growth in the game, it allowed Lammerding to see her from a different perspective, appreciating her character and contributions to the game as she stoically worked past her injuries,

“I was overjoyed when she told me that she’d been asked to coach. It’s heartbreaking anytime one of your teammates receives a season-ending injury, even more so in Marci’s case because I’ve seen how hard she worked over the past four years to get back and compete for Team Canada.

I’m glad that she got the opportunity to still put her knowledge and skills that she’s gained over the last four years to use, just in a different role.”

Having enjoyed the opportunity to play for Yausie in six sensational seasons with the Valkyries, Lammerding felt a heightened sense of responsibility in Vancouver. Akin to so many of her gridiron sisters on the Valkyries on the roster, she has come to see Yausie as a mentor, representing the ideals of women in football, dedicated to constantly making him proud of their efforts.

Not only was there a tremendous sense of historic honour in gaining the opportunity to grace the gridiron in his final game, it only added motivation to what was a monumental milestone for all involved,

“Jeff has been there since the start of my career in women’s football, ever since the first Saskatchewan women’s football camp in the fall of 2010, so it was very special to be a part of his final game. I’ve learned a lot from him in terms of being a player and a coach, which I’ve applied to my own play and to coaching flag and tackle football.”

Undoubtedly, a coach like Yausie was crucial in bringing more than just championships to Prairie Canada’s sporting landscape. As Lammerding and the other wondrous women of the Valkyries added a new and exciting element to the lore of Western Canadian football, it signified a collaborative effort that helped bring an elevated importance to the potential of women in sport to emerge as heroic role models, positively weaving a profound athletic and social narrative.

The chance to share in this final chapter of such a groundbreaking coach is one destined to provide nostalgic warmth while rekindling glorious pasts. While approaching the future of the Valkyries brings with it a confident sense of anticipation, Lammerding is ready to contribute towards the creation of a new myth, one that certainly has its roots firmly entrenched after a solid performance in Vancouver.

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Photo credit: Game On Photo

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