Rage pride

Seven-year veteran Stuppard proud to suit up for Rage

As one of the veterans for the Calgary Rage, Venessa Stuppard is an integral component of the team’s offense. Having first suited up for the team in 2008, she has not only seen the game experience unprecedented growth, she is truly one of its pioneers. Her efforts contribute to a sporting legacy that is destined to endure.

Serving on the offensive line, her expertise helps provide a positive presence always giving her team a chance to win. Although offensive linemen are among the game’s quiet heroes, they remain admired.

Through it all, Stuppard remains very humble; a remarkable quality that helps set a team culture built on mutual respect. Even when Stuppard suffered from concussion woes during a difficult 2014 that saw the Rage rebuild, she tried to remain positive, cheering the team from the sidelines.

“We are all leaders on the team. I try to set a good example. I have played for the Rage for 7 years now and I have been through a lot of ups and down. If there is any do to help new players, I do my best.

I always enjoy working with new linemen. We do not get a lot of love, so I try to be encouraging and supportive. I want linemen to know that there is no more competitive spot to be than in the trenches. During games, I am pretty vocal on the side lines. I hope that rubs off on my teammates and gives them a bit of an emotional boost.”

A key component to the success of female football is the support and encouragement of friends, family and colleagues. When one of these components is not aligned with the others, it can create a constraint, making it difficult to play. Fortunately, Stuppard has not endured such obstacles, making the opportunity to grace the gridiron a very special experience.

Stuppard’s love of the game has resulted in a career transition, enriching her quality of life. The support from her new colleagues is one that she is grateful for, gracefully acknowledging their kindness. The end result is the ability to happily balance career and football very jubilantly,

“My current career is compatible with football as I work in Recreation. I would have never made the career change from Insurance had it not been for my experience with the Rage. My colleagues are encouraging, have covered shifts for me in the past when I needed to go to practice, leave early for travel, etc.

When I was concussed last season, my boss gave me all the time that I needed off and my colleagues would check in on me. When I decided to come back and play another season, everyone remained supportive.”

Although the end goal for Stuppard is the opportunity to win a league championship, her long and distinguished career with the Rage has already provided many memorable moments. Among them, she rewinds to her inaugural season with the club. Based in humble beginnings, the chance to be on the field for the first touchdown scored in franchise history remains a treasured moment,

“It was the first touchdown scored by the Rage. We had been shutout in our first two games. We were pinned in down in our end of the field. We marched the ball down the field and ate a lot of time off the clock. No passing, all run plays with no large gains. It was pretty satisfying when I saw the running back in the end zone. So much work went into that touchdown on and off the field. Even though we lost the game, we made great strides (we started the year with only 6 people in a gym) that carried over into the next year.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

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