Unique opportunity

WWCFL player Fekete gets to be a Calgary Stampeder for a day

As the Western Women’s Canadian Football League continues to build the foundation and become part of Western Canada’s sporting landscape, Connie Fekete is one of its proudest players and supporters. Competing as a defensive back with the Calgary Rage, she is a strong woman inside and out, who provides confidence and leadership to the budding franchise.

On July 15, 2013, Fekete was the recipient of an unlikely opportunity that would provide her with tremendous memories. She won the chance to become a member of the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders for a day.

“Melrose Cafe in Calgary ran a contest on twitter. As I am a bit of a twitter nut, I entered and won! They also gave away several (Stamps) tickets at their 17th Avenue location.”

While the Stampeders has some famous fans (including a white-bearded man who calls himself Santa), Fekete had the opportunity to show her support on the biggest stage in Canadian football; the 100th Grey Cup. Attending the big game in Toronto, she was one of several Stampeders fans interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Perhaps the most significant part of being a Stampeder for a day was the opportunity to see a human side to the players. As camaraderie is one of the greatest aspects of being on a team, she had the chance to hear the stories of several Stampeders players.

“What I really enjoyed about the day was listening to the guys (Brandon Smith, Keon Raymond, Rob Cote and Randy Chevrier) talk about their experiences as players; how they got into playing football, what their off season is like, how it is living in Canada as an American, what it’s like to be a pro athlete with a family, to name just a few.”

While several of the Stampeders players came in on their day off to visit Fekete and make her feel like part of the team, the kind gesture was not lost on her. Having supported the team for so many seasons, she is aware of the culture of class that makes the club one of the signature franchises in the CFL.

“I was thrilled that the guys took time on their day off to come interact with fans like me, but frankly I was not at all surprised. The Stampeders are an amazing group of guys and they treat their fans extremely well. They always seem to have time to answer a question, take a picture or sign an autograph.”

As Fekete is helping to build the presence of women’s football in Calgary, it is a point of pride that many Stampeders players are supporters of the Calgary Rage.

“Because I know a lot of the players now, most of them know that I play tackle football for the Calgary Rage. There is the odd time when I meet a player who’s new to the team and I mention the Rage and that I play defensive back, and the reaction is always great.

I would have to say the majority of the team supports the Rage – we have even had a couple of them come out to training sessions and give us some tips on how to improve our techniques. That was an amazing experience and I really cannot say enough about how much the Rage appreciated it!”

While Fekete is one of several players helping the Rage franchise lay inroads, she is also hoping a relationship can be forged with the Stampeders. The two franchises certainly share common ground; both have a love of the game. Currently, Fekete and a handful of teammates have had the privilege of roaming the sidelines.

Although the task of establishing a fan base and building a strong network can be a hard one, the enthusiasm of players like Fekete promises that the fruit of success which shall be yielded are those worth reaping.

“Personally, I am hoping to help build a relationship between the Rage and the Stampeders. So far, it has meant that some of the Calgary Rage players have had the opportunity to be on the sidelines during home games and throw out mini footballs after the Stamps score a touchdown. If you look closely, you might see some of my teammates and me in our Rage jerseys during the next home game!”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Image obtained from Facebook: (Left to right): Brandon Smith, Fekete, Keon Raymond, Randy Chevrier, Rob Cote

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