Savannah Emmott – In A League Of Her Own
Although not the first girl to play football locally, it’s been a few years since Chatham-Kent saw a woman competing in the LKSSAA football ranks.
Emmott made her regular season debut this week in UCC’s 33-3 win over the St. Patrick’s Fighting Irish. She made a 2-yard reception in the 4th quarter of the game.
Initially what started as a challenge from friends, became a reality after Savannah Emmott, who had played rugby for UCC’s girls rugby team the previous Fall, but was looking for a spring sport to play.
“I didn’t have a fall sport to play so my guy friends and I would joke around saying that I should try out for football and after many conversations it became a serious consideration. My dad has always played football and for the past four years my little brother has played for the (Chatham-Kent) Cougars and my dad has coached, so I have always enjoyed watching the games and cheering them on,” explained Emmott. “My guy friends were the ones who really encouraged me to try out though and I thought it would be a great challenge and experience and keep me in shape for the upcoming rugby season.”
According to UCC Lancers head coach Jim O’Brien, Emmott’s arrival on the football roster is historic for the school.
“She is the first female player in school history,” said O’Brien. “Like other rookies to the program she is adjusting well to a steep learning curve and so far she has done well with the limited opportunities that she has had having just begun our season.”
The learning curve, and the demand to learn new rules and tactics, have been both fun and challenging according to Emmott.
“So far it has been a great experience,” said Emmott. “I have met a lot of new people and have been having a lot of fun. I started with a very basic understanding of the game so it has taken a lot of effort to learn all of the rules, positions, and plays, but I am always up for a challenge. We are also lucky to have some great coaches who put in the time and effort into making sure that we understand what is expected from us.”
While some, including Emmott, might see challenges, head coach Jim O’Brien and the rest of the Lancers have embraced Blenheim’s Savannah Emmott as a valued member of their team.
“Her teammates have welcomed her unconditionally and share in the enthusiasm of seeing her succeed,” said O’Brien.
For Emmott, that support, and the inclusive nature of her team, have made the experience worth the challenge, and continued hard work she knows is necessary.
“A lot of the guys on the team were already friends of mine and they were the ones who initially challenged me to try out for the team,” said Emmott. “They obviously have been very supportive. The rest of the teams reaction has been very positive they have been incredibly supportive, friendly, and encouraging. I feel like they treat me like one if the guys and expect just as much out of me as they do out of each other.”
Savannah Emmott and the UCC Lancers play the Northern Vikings Tuesday in Sarnia. They’re back in Chatham Thursday, October 13 against their cross town rival, the CKSS Golden Hawks.