After the Western Women’s Canadian Football League season was cancelled back in March, it didn’t look like the Saskatoon Valkyries would get a chance to hit the gridiron this year.
But on Saturday, they hosted a fall camp — there only time on SMF Field in 2020.
Although the seats weren’t filled with spectators, no opponents filled the opposing sideline, and there was no final score, the players and coaching staff were just happy to be back doing what they love.
“As soon as the Valkyries announced that there was going to be a fall camp, I was maybe the first or second person who registered,” defensive lineman Jaime Lammerding said. “It’s something that I look forward to, I’ve always played sports and to go from (having them) every year to cold turkey, just straight done, was really hard.”
“It’s a little sad, but (also) awesome,” added fellow lineman Denise Kolosky. “We get to see each other again, and then come out and hit. We missed it so much.”
It’s not just the sport that the Valkyries missed, but the bonds of friendship forged through the hard fought battles won and lost as a team, and of course the championship seasons won with their summer family.
“It brings back all of the memories, all of the road trips and our inside jokes,” Kolosky said. “It’s just great to have the football family back together.”
“You don’t realize how much you miss these people and how much of a big part of your life they are until you don’t have them around anymore,” Lammerding added.
Head coach Pat Barry agreed.
“Just in the last few weeks, working with SMF and now with the Valkyries, it’s been so exciting just to be back on the field,” he said.
The positive impact felt by returning to the field was easily noticed by all at SMF, however for Kolosky, the day had an even bigger impact.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, she’s been unable to go and visit her family, all who live south of the border.
“I’m not like everybody here, I can’t go drive two hours to see my family, I have to drive to Toledo, Ohio, to go see my family, and I can’t,” she said. “Today meant so much, mentally for me that I get to connect with people that I know, that I’ve played football with for years. I needed this so much today. Yeah, it’s hard not being able to go home.”