Momentous series of milestones part of captivating time for Courtney Dawson

From a football perspective, 2017 may be the most monumental year that Courtney Dawson has experienced. From the outset, Dawson contributed towards the Calgary Rage reaching a series of elusive pinnacles. Not only did the Rage post an undefeated regular season, which saw Dawson honoured as the Special Teams Player of the Year, such momentum was seamlessly extended into the greatest playoff run in team history.

Defeating their eternal rivals, the Edmonton Storm, in the Western Conference finals, the Rage qualified for their first-ever appearance in the WWCFL championship game. Although the upstart Rage, eager to build on their momentum, were unable to bring an end to the shared dynasty between the Saskatoon Valkyries and the Regina Riot (who have won the first six WWCFL titles), falling to the Riot in a lopsided score, there was no shortage of heart.

Dawson led the way, displaying an admirable character, as the Rage defiantly worked towards spoiling the Riot’s ambitions of adding to their lead. Despite the game being out of reach on the scoreboard, the battle never seceded on the field as Dawson fuelled the charge of gridiron warriors, unconstrained by the eventual outcome.

Recognized for her efforts as the Rage’s MVP of the Game, Dawson assembled an uplifting performance. While she will have to adapt to the ascended status of star, she demonstrated the quality of sportsmanship and resilience, the hallmark of her championship game efforts.

“You always (feel) our hard work is noticed. To hear my name called was surprising and exciting. The names of all my teammates that deserved this award were running through my mind. I was so proud of our defense. We held them out in the second half and I would not have been noticed without the rest of my team doing their jobs.”

There would be other pillars of achievement for this charismatic personality, as her enthralling performance in the WWCFL championship game proved to be prologue.

As every ounce of sweat and effort exerted on the field is funneled towards giving the team a chance to compete, Dawson took one step closer towards becoming one of the game’s transcendent personalities.

Wearing the white jersey of the AFL’s Calgary Gators, it was part of a day that would emerge as both compelling and emotionally captivating. Dawson became the first woman to compete for the Gators, although there was a sense of nervous energy prior to the opening kickoff,

“Before my first game for the Gators, it was hard to control my nerves, (but) they were excited nerves. The guys were really great and by the time we were finished our team warm ups, I was part of the crew. The whistle blew for kick off and it was just another game. Once my competitiveness takes over, all I want is that ‘W’.”

Undoubtedly, Dawson’s WWCFL roots were evident on this day. Carlo Iannuzzi, the head coach of the Rage presented her with the MVP Award that she earned at the WWCFL championship game. It was the kind of recognition that only added to the sense of historic achievement on this day, as Dawson would become the first woman to score points in an AFL contest.

In reflecting on such a feat, Dawson’s humility rises to the surface. Having cultivated a strong sense of discipline on the Rage, whereby the focus always remained on the field of the play, and not by the distractions of the scoreboard, the revelation of her historic points were not evident until the first half of the contest had expired,

“Playing for the Rage, we do not look at the scoreboard, so to be honest, it was not until they announced it at halftime that I really thought about it. I went in and did my job and that in itself is an achievement. The stats reflect that I got those points, but there is much more to a kick than the kicker.”

Halftime would hold more than just the announcement of Dawson’s tremendous moment in Alberta football lore. The essence of teamwork would take on a whole new meaning during the half, as teammate Grant Potter proposed marriage to her on the field.

Cheeks filled with jubilant euphoria, bursting tears of joy, it was the perfect storybook ending to such a memorable couple of days in Dawson’s gridiron odyssey. Although Dawson would record five points by game’s end, all on converts, the delight of the captivating proposal prevailed. With the engagement ring proudly adorning Dawson’s finger in the second half, it was a moment that shall one day supply vast repositories of legend.

“That whole weekend was a whirlwind. It just seemed like one thing after another. I would not have had it any other way.

To have such an important day take place during a historic moment in its self was the cherry on top. Grant and I both love football and all of the people involved have become our family. It was so perfect for us, and will be a story to tell forever.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Image obtained from Facebook

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