Monday, May 31, 2010

Wilson Fearless about future - Winnipeg Free Press

Wilson Fearless about future - Winnipeg Free Press

Tannis Wilson has dreamt of playing tackle football all her life.
Now, after playing only one home game, her career is over.

Four years ago Wilson began building the Manitoba Fearless women's tackle football team. Although the Fearless have played numerous games outside Manitoba, Wilson and her team had never played in Winnipeg, until Saturday, when they took the field in front of a moderate gathering of rain-soaked home-town fans at the East Side Eagles Field.

Ironically, the game, a 26-8 loss to the Edmonton Storm, was Wilson's first home game and last game as a player.

"I have dreamt of playing tackle football all my life, but I truly never believed that I would have the opportunity to play the game I love in front of my friends and family," Wilson, 42, said Saturday.

"After three years of regular practice and a few games, I have decided to hang up my cleats, but I will continue with the team as general manager."

Christina Goulet scored three times for the Storm on runs of 25, 20 and 30 yards while Kora-Lea Hooker returned a punt for the other Edmonton major.

Charlene Mash-Hadlow scored Manitoba's lone touchdown with a one-handed grab of a 20-yard pass from Jana Taylor. Manitoba got two points on a conceded safety touch.

The score was not indicative of the Fearless' calibre of play said Wilson, who pointed to nine teammates who will be part of Team Canada at the World championship tournament this June in Stockholm. "Defensive lineman Katherine Calancia broke her leg at the tryout camp, but she still made the team, but eventually ended up getting a blood clot in her leg after that, and that took her out of the running."

Fearless players who will join Wilson with the national team in Sweden are: Mash-Hadlow, receiver; Amy Mohr, receiver; Andrea Weichel, linebacker; Jessica McCreary, offensive line; Carol Whitman, defensive line; Taylor, quarterback; Christine O'Donnell, offensive line.
"I will be coaching the defensive line for the national team in Sweden," said Wilson, who coached minor football for six years with the St. Vital Mustangs.

"This wasn't the outcome that we wanted," Wilson said of their loss, "but we went out there, we played hard, and we had an injury in the first quarter which had a direct impact on the game. This is only the beginning for women's football in Manitoba."

Wilson said that the tournament in Sweden is the World Championship of Women's Tackle Football, and is part of the International Federation of American Football.

"Sweden and Finland often play each other, but Sweden is the stronger of the teams," she said. "Austria and Germany play against each other too, and then there is the U.S."

Wilson said Team Canada will spend four days in St. John's, Nfld, at a training camp so that they can get used to American football rules, which will be in effect.

"We're ranked No. 2 going into the tournament, but the way that they rank it is they go by the number of people in the country playing football," she explained. "The Americans have, like, 51 semi pro-teams.

"We play our first game against Sweden, then Germany on Canada Day, and when we win our pool, we will play the United States on Independence Day."
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 31, 2010 C8