Second Women’s World Football Games enjoyable for Storm’s Mackie

The chance for Steph Mackie to attend the second annual Women’s World Football Games was one she could not refuse. Joined by Edmonton Storm teammate Tanya Henderson, both players are integral components for the franchise’s ambitious future. During the 2014 campaign, Mackie (who wears number 88) helped the Storm achieve an undefeated record in the regular season.

Well educated in Occupational Health and Safety, part of Mackie’s career involves travels throughout the province of Alberta. Employed as a Safety Co-ordinator, the demands of her job reflect a difficult reality for so many female athletes.

While so many women enjoy the love of sporting competition, real world obligations paint a much different picture. With the ominous possibility that she may not be able to suit up for the Storm this season, the WWFG were a very welcome event on her sporting calendar.

“I have spent a total of two weeks in my own bed this year, as I work out of town at power generating stations. I will also work 21 days straight, consisting of 12 hour shifts. I probably will not get to play my season because of work, so I am just happy that I had the opportunity to go to the WWFG’s for the second time.”

The element of the event that intrigued Mackie was the effort that women made from the world over to attend the event in Tampa. Hosting players from England, Germany, Italy, Japan and Norway, among others, the event truly consisted of a global flavour, inspiring Mackie in the process.

“It is unreal to see how many women traveled around the globe to play this game. The sacrifices some women had to make to be there are astonishing.”

Among the Canadians involved in the WWFG, one that definitely made an impression on Mackie was Samantha (Sam) Rapoport. A former quarterback with the Montreal Blitz, she currently serves as a Director for Football Development with USA Football. The recipient of the 2009 NFL Commissioner’s Award for Innovation, Rapoport is definitely the heartbeat of the WWFG. An opportunity for Mackie to meet her was definitely a treasured moment.

Portland Shockwave veteran Liani Reyna was another individual that Mackie had the chance to meet. Among the instructors sharing their knowledge of the game, Reyna was a mentor to a group of players that included Mackie. Having competed with the club since 2010, Reyna (who also works as a police officer) is known affectionately as “German Shepard”. The chance to be surrounded by such positive and empowering women like Rapoport and Reyna only enhances the experience of the event for Mackie,

“I have attended the Women’s World Football Games in both years it has been hosted, and the experience is just absolutely unfathomable.
I try to explain it to everyone and hype it up. Yet, there are honestly no words. It is cliché to say, but there are honestly no words.”

During the inaugural edition of the WWFG (in 2014), she was one of only four Canadians in attendance. To see 15 Canadians involved this year was a great point of pride for Mackie, although time to meet all was limited,

“At the first event last year, there were only four Canadians; Tanya Henderson (my Edmonton Storm teammate), Alex Black, Stephanie Bosse and myself. It was cool to come back and see the progress the other girls had made and the confidence they brought back with them.”

In addition to getting to do an interview with ESPN, one of the world’s leaders in sports coverage, Mackie experienced the chance to compete for the Black Team in the competitive game which highlights the fourth and final day. Suiting up for the Black Team, Mackie was part of a 28-14 victory. Having also played for the winning team at the 2014 WWFG, she hopes that the momentum of winning can carry over to the Storm in the 2015 WWCFL regular season.

Considering that the four-time champion Saskatoon Valkyries are the only league champions in WWCFL history, two of their members were among the 15 Canadian players in attendance. While their attendance added to Mackie’s strong sense of Canadian patriotism, she certainly hopes that the Storm can snap their championship streak this year.

“I met two other Canadian Defensive Backs from Saskatchewan this time around. We play in the same league (they play for the Saskatoon Valkyries) and although they are rivals of sorts, I still felt a great sense of camaraderie out on the field in Tampa. I guess we will just have to wait and see how close we remain when Edmonton and Saskatoon face each other in the WWCFL Championship Game.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Photo description: Sam Rapoport (left) and Steph Mackie at the 2015 WWFG (Obtained from Facebook)

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