In the Western Women’s Canadian Football League, defensive back Pauline Olynik is a strong presence in the defensive backfield of the Manitoba Fearless. Entering her sixth season with the Fearless, her experience and dedication set an example for the younger players on the squad.
Extolling all the qualities of leadership, her strong skills will be needed for a defense looking to improve against the pass. With the club having qualified for their first WWCFL postseason during 2012 (they would fall to the eventual league champion Saskatoon Valkyries), Olynik will be vital to any aspirations of contending.
Having been named to the Canadian National Team (which will compete in the Women’s Tackle Football Championships in Finland at the end of June), it is a dream come true for the defensive stalwart from St. Claude, Manitoba. “It was an honor to be considered and now it feels amazing to be chosen to represent Canada in rapidly growing sport in our country. I still feel like I'm dreaming and I am anxious to get to camp and meet my fellow teammates.”
A member of the Fearless since 2008 (prior to the forming of the WWCFL), there is a particular moment that stands out as her favorite. “Although the WWCFL wasn't created until three years ago, I'd have to say my first game with the Fearless stands out the most (in 2008). I was the second string quarterback, therefore I knew my time on the field could be minimal.”
“A week before flying out to Edmonton, one of our halfbacks got injured. Knowing this, I asked our head coach if I can play in another position than quarterback so I could maximize my playing time. We had one practice before the game so the defensive backs coach pulled me aside and taught me the basics. After my first hit, I fell in love with the defensive back position and have been there since.”
As the league enters its third season, the level of familiarity and competition has gradually evolved. With an expansion franchise in Grande Prairie, Alberta (known as the Northern Anarchy), the interest in the WWCFL has grown. Olynik believes that the quality of play will continue to improve in 2013.
“Yes I believe it will improve. As more and more people find out about our sport we will be able to increase the number of teams in the WWCFL. We already have two teams in the city of Winnipeg therefore I expect other cities to do the same. The level of play has already increased and as women's tackle football expands, the amount of professional athletes will grow as well.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”