The Fall 2019 semester marked the beginning of the female LCC Moose football team on campus. Field player, Lolita Peshcherova, junior, together with goalkeepers, Gintarė Čemerkaitė, sophomore, and Aušrinė Bagdonaitė, senior, shared their experiences as the first female players at the LCC Moose Football.
The female LCC Moose football team had been established only this year. Why did you decide to join the team?
Lolita: I wanted to be involved in as many different things as possible this semester. Even though I am also a First Year Seminar (FYS) leader, I still wanted to do something physically active. I find it challenging to force myself to go to the gym, so a good alternative for me was joining the Moose Football team.
Gintarė: Since childhood, I have been involved in individual sports, but when I came to LCC I did not have enough exercise. When I found out about the female football team, I thought it would be an interesting experience. I have never played team sports before, and have never been a goalkeeper.
Aušrinė: Joining the team was a spontaneous decision. At first, I went to practice as a newbie, who never played football before. As I started playing more and more, I noticed that it was a nice break from studies, from routine, and a way to get some exercise as well.
All of you have plenty of academic tasks and extracurricular activities. How do you manage your time with the team and other responsibilities?
Lolita: It is not a problem for me to maintain everything. Of course, studies are the top priority. If there is a need to catch up on academic aspects, you can skip some trainings, and later ask the coach or players from the male team to help you out with anything you missed.
Gintarė: For me, it was a bit difficult, as I work part-time and volunteer as well. I was somewhat overwhelmed in the beginning, but as I got used to the routine, our practices served as a good study break. After training, I feel physically tired, but my mind is relaxed.
How has your experience in the team been so far?
Lolita: At first we did not know each other at all, but as time passed, we became really close. There is still a lot to work on with our team dynamics, but we have ongoing team-building events that help. Recently we had an event where both male and female teams gathered to chat and enjoyed some snacks, getting to know each other better.
Gintarė: Just wearing a uniform and being a part of this amazing team makes me excited for our games. Every team player is nice and we get along well. The team-building activities help us bond and become closer. Sometimes not all team members come to practice, but we also have opportunities to meet and talk outside of the field.
What was the most challenging part of being on the team for you?
Aušrinė: There were two major challenges for me. When I joined the team I was not as physically fit as necessary and did not know all the rules. The theoretical part of the game was challenging to master, especially for the person who had never played before. However, I have learned a lot, realized that I enjoy football, and could not imagine being in another position on the team than as a goalkeeper. Several weeks ago I injured my arms and had to skip all trainings and games. Sitting on the bench and observing, instead of playing was a real challenge.
You mentioned that the male team helps you out with practices. Do they support you during the games as well?
Gintarė: We definitely feel support from the guys’ team. They always ask us how we feel before and after the games, congratulate, and compliment us--even when we meet in hallways and greet each other, this really means a lot.
Aušrinė: I can see that the guys really care about us. As Lolita mentioned earlier, they train with us sometimes and help us play better every time. They also always come to our games and cheer for us, and it definitely means a lot.
How does the LCC community show support for our first female football team?
Gintarė: Quite a few people showed up for our first official game, and I was happy to see the crowd cheering for us. Both students and professors always compliment our games and ask about upcoming games.
Aušrinė: I was surprised to see some of our professors at the game outside of LCC. I also noticed that the LCC community is excited about our team because it is the first time girls have an official sports team on campus. It is nice that people are willing to come to our games and support us.