Terri Smith-Fraser Stands Proudly as Captain of the Halifax Xplosion

Mark StaffieriContributor IIJune 30, 2013

Terri smith-Fraser at practice with coach David Bostock providing instruction (Image from Jason Quackenbush)
Terri smith-Fraser at practice with coach David Bostock providing instruction (Image from Jason Quackenbush)

Of all the team captains in the Maritime Women’s Football League, Terri-Smith Fraser could be the most inspiring. As a grandmother competing with the Halifax Xplosion, she is an inspiration for all women looking to compete in sport. Serving as the Xplosion team captain, is a great point of pride for her.

With a background in basketball, Smith-Fraser was a 42-year-old rookie when she first hit the gridiron. While her interest in the sport developed in her later years, she has blossomed into a remarkable teammate and friend. Like the ageless wonder George Blanda (who retired at 48 after a career with teams such as the Chicago Bears and the Oakland Raiders), she shows no signs of slowing down.

I guess I tried out a few sports as a kid, but was not very athletic. I never really found one that stuck. As an adult (30 years old), I started playing some basketball at my neighborhood court and found I really enjoyed it.

Later, I joined a team in the Halifax women’s league and played for the past 15 years. Basketball season would end in May and start back up in the fall, leaving me with no sport in the summer. I was not really interested in soccer and not really sure what else was out there....until leaving the gym one day.

A poster for women’s football was announcing no experience necessary. Wow, I had never thought about football. I signed up and headed out to the field without ever having watched football or any idea how to play. Once I started playing football, I was instantly in love with playing this game. I was also saddened by the fact that I did not know how great it was until then.

At 42 years old and it was the beginning of my ‘football career’. I had already missed so many years and who knows how many more I will get to play. So for now, I am going to play hard and enjoy every minute that I get on the field.

In her capacity as the team captain of the Xplosion, Smith-Fraser exemplifies her leadership role by setting a positive role. Through the effort she exerts, she works tirelessly to let her work set an encouraging tone.

“As team captain, I think I try and lead by example. Always be on time to every practice, give it 100 percent on the field. Playing where I am needed is important, along with being a team player on and off the field.

After playing for the past few years, I actually feel like I have some knowledge and advice to pass on to players coming into the sport.”

With great wisdom and alacrity, Smith-Fraser is a motherly figure who brings great presence to the team’s culture. Her maturity is helping to cultivate the patience needed for an ambitious team looking to forge a culture of winning.  

“I am also the oldest on the team. Starting my fifth season as a 47-year-old mother of three, and grandmother of five (laughs). So that gives me a little extra experience level in the leadership attempt.

It is truly an honor to be part of such a great team. My teammates, coaches and volunteers are all amazing people. I am so proud of my Xplosion family and all their dedication and hard work.”

One of her finest qualities as a leader is the ability to recognize the efforts of others on the team. While motivation is a key factor in serving as a leader, Smith-Fraser recognizes that the environment of mutual respect is beneficial to everyone.

“There are so many amazing players on the Xplosion. I think there is something about all of them that I admire and am motivated by.”

An individual in particular that helped shape her career was part of the Xplosion’s inaugural season. This individual would go on to earn the MWFL’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player in 2007 Award and the Most Outstanding Defensive Lineman nod in 2006.

“One player that I looked up to and was inspired by was former player Katie Archibald. She is a great football player as well as a great person. She is inspirational on and off the field. I learned a lot from her, and still strive to be even close to the player she was.

If I was to pick a motivator for the team, that honor would go to coach David Murray. As well as being a great coach, takes the time to keep track of all the great things the team does, including player performances during a game. He always sees the positive and tries to keep us motivated at all times!”

With the MWFL celebrating its landmark tenth anniversary season, it is a great privilege for Smith-Fraser to be part of. The growth of the game is synonymous with her development as a highly respected leader.

As an MWFL All-Star selection in 2011, the experience of participating in the landmark season is embellished by serving as team captain. As the MWFL is the longest existing women’s sports league in Canada, every game this season is an opportunity to be part of more than just football, but to be part of history.

I am very proud to be part of this league, especially during its tenth anniversary. I hope that I am around for the next 10 years (laughs). I am amazed and excited about how far women’s football has grown.

Five years ago, I had no idea that women’s football existed. I now know women’s football exists all over the world and is growing. Women that I play football with and against (in this league) are playing with the Canadian National Team, some for the second time.

Women’s football is a lot of fun (and hard work) that now provides the opportunities to play at a higher level. MWFL players come in all shapes and sizes, ages, and walks of life...there is a position for everyone. I encourage every girl and woman that is now thinking this sounds like fun to give it a try....you wont regret it!

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”