As the 2013 edition of the Calgary Rage featured many new faces, one that showed great promise on the offensive side of the ball was wide receiver Pam Buccini. While the 2013 Western Women’s Canadian Football League season ended with the Rage posting a .500 record, an extra year of experience for Buccini could hold the key to a postseason berth in 2014.
Donning No. 88 (made famous by football players such as Michael Irvin, Lynn Swann and Marvin Harrison), Buccini attended Rage training camp at the urging of a friend. This friend would also emerge as another rookie on the Rage roster, running back Esther Hong.
“Esther Hong was joining the team this year and convinced me to come join her; she thought I would be good at it for some reason. I don't know why she thought that (laughs). I have always had an interest in sports. When I was younger, I played lots of sports; gymnastics, swimming, volleyball and softball.”
While the two were novices in football, both quickly enjoyed their new athletic endeavor. Buccini’s first WWCFL match resulted in a 33-0 blanking of the Okotoks Lady Outlawz on May 11. She quickly learned that part of being a receiver is taking hits. Proving that she was tough and durable, receiving a hit from an opposing player was far from intimidating for the ambitious rookie, “It was a rush, so awesome!”
With two members of the Calgary Rage (Erin Walton and Annie Tremblay) competing for Canada at the 2013 IFAF Women’s Worlds, Buccini is proud to call them teammates. With some of the team making the trip to host Finland to cheer on Canada at the IFAF Worlds, the display of team spirit is a point of pride for her.
“Most definitely I am! I think we would have all gone if we could. I have learned so much from these women in just a short period of time. All of them are so supportive and encouraging. I am lucky to have such great teammates.”
During the tragic flooding that occurred in mid-June in Calgary and other parts of Southern Alberta, Buccini learned the true essence of teamwork. Utilizing social media, Buccini emphasized that her residence was available as a necessary shelter, while advising others which areas were badly flooded.
A common thread throughout the season for Buccini was the fact that she was one of many mothers on the team. While juggling the responsibilities of parenting and the commitment to football makes for a unique balance, the youthful-looking Buccini found many new friends in her rookie season.
“Being able to play full-on contact football is my favorite part of playing with the Rage. Taking hits. Making hits. The whole experience and the people have just been amazing! It has been such a pleasant experience to become part of the Rage team.”
Although her rookie season resulted in missing the playoffs, Buccini was part of a breakthrough season for the franchise. Having posted losing records in 2011 and 2012, the .500 season was their first. For an ambitious franchise looking to make a playoff run, Buccini is ready to contribute and ensure that the team breaks on through toward their postseason dreams.
“We just need to stay confident and work together. I think we have the dedication and skills. We will get there. “
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”