Let’s start a riot

Drop the shoulder, #22/ Jeff Mackey, Metro News

Drop the shoulder, #22/ Jeff Mackey, Metro News

The Regina Riot gear up for another successful season

Who wants to play some lingerie football?! Totally kidding. That is 100 per cent not what the Regina Riot is in the slightest. These chicks are legit football players.

In fact, this past summer, the Riot had their best season to date. In regular season games, although the Riot lost to the Saskatoon Valkyries in Regina, they crushed the Valkyries in Saskatoon. So, heck yes Riot! And, suck it Valkyries! What’s a Valkyrie anyways? Whatever.

Anyways, as Riot veteran Mallory Starkey states, “We faced [the Valkyries] again in playoffs at the Prairie Conference Final. After beating them, we moved on to play in Winnipeg for the WWCFL Championship against the Edmonton Storm. We ultimately beat them and took the league championship.”

Boom. There ya have it folks. The S’toon Valkyries are no longer dominating the WWCFL, as they have for the previous four seasons.

Now, back to Starkey. This lovely lady grew up playing football and attended a Riot football day camp in 2011. She went to the camp basically just excited to have the opportunity to play some football, with no real intention of joining the team because she planned to move back to Alberta for the summer. But, according to Starkey, to her pleasant surprise, she quickly fell in love with the Riot squad and felt the need to get involved with their football program.

“The coaches and players were extremely encouraging, and some offered to help me find a place to live and a job if I came back to play,” Starkey states. “By the end of the day I had a place to stay for the next season, and I committed myself to the Riot. I haven’t been able to leave since.”

Awww, ain’t that special? I think so. With all the political garbage and drama that surrounds sports programs these days, it’s refreshing to hear that there’s a killer, genuine program out there with coaches and teammates who actually give a crap about you as a human being and who take the time to teach you the game and help you improve.

Since joining the Riot in 2011, Starkey clinched a spot on the Saskatchewan provincial team in 2012 and went on to play at the Women’s Challenge Cup in Montreal, where team SK. ended up coming in second to Quebec. Starkey explains that “from there, ninety-two players were selected to attend another round of tryouts” for Team Canada.

Starkey was one of the ninety-two players selected, played her butt off at the tryouts, made the roster for Team Canada, and travelled to Helsinki, Finland in 2013 to take part in the World Championships. After beating Spain and Finland, Starkey and the rest of Team Canada advanced to the final playoff game against the United States, where they lost. So sad. But, seriously, whatever, right?! Team Canada came in second at worlds!

“It was an incredible experience, not only for the opportunity to play in another country, but to see so many women who share the passion for football that I have,” Starkey says. “The relationships made with people across the country and around the world made everything worth it.”

Sounds like a sick experience if you ask me… or Starkey for that matter. Let’s continue.

The Riot are already in the process of gearing up for another season. They will start practicing in January/February and play their first exhibition game at the end of April. From then on, their regular season commences, with playoffs rapping up by the end of June or early July.

As for team goals for this upcoming season, Starkey states, “I think as team goals we want to continue what we started. This past season, we talked about each game and practice being rungs in a ladder; the top of the ladder was winning the championship. Next season will likely be the same. We want to be seen as an elite women’s tackle football team.”

Heck yes. You know your sportsing goals are prime when you use a ladder metaphor to describe them. Can’t go wrong with that.

As for Starkey herself, although she doesn’t use a ladder metaphor to describe her personal goals (how unfortunate) she keeps it real, saying, “Every year my goal is to get better than the year before.”

So, once again, I say boom! Here’s to another season of kick-butt Riot football to look forward to. Annnnnnd, let’s see here, if the Riot ever end up facing off against the Rams in an exhibition game, they’ll probably win… just a thought.

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