Lion Phoebe Loves Football
Phoebe Schecter is one of Birmingham’s original Lions, joining the team as she did (before their formal inception in January 2014) for a quick round or two of flag football at BAFA’s inaugural Opal Series in November 2013 – even then with much less than 12 months experience under her belt you could take the girl out of tackle, but not the tackle out of the girl, and whilst it was that she played all forms of football with an indomitable spirit there was always a warm smile afterwards…as she was picking you up off the floor that is.
“Phoebe is, and has always been, a huge part of our team” commented Lions’ club captain Jo Kilby “…she has an enthusiasm for the game that’s infectious, she’s a top team-mate and her physicality and ability unquestionably mark her out as the country’s premier linebacker.” Indeed as a Great Britain representative, Schecter finished the tackling stats against Sweden last month as the game’s number one tackler, but for her, the game is about far more than just what she can do with a lid on.
“I really want to give back to football some of what it has given to me, and that’s the opportunity to play, compete and have fun” offered Schecter. Helping BAFA to develop football in the North-West, Schecter has been busy visiting teams regionally, including the Manchester Titans and the Chester Romans, to assist with coaching, running through positional drills and, where possible, trying to offer some personal experiences, insight and advice: “I’d love to help plant that seed for people, for them to think “I can do that!”, to have that opportunity and to then grow it into their own experience.”
Asked to consider some of the toughest challenges that new teams might face Schecter was quick to identify recruitment and coaching as the biggest blockers: “getting women aware of the sport is a problem, we definitely need a greater profile although appearances on the BBC and Sky Sports recently as well as some of the Lions’ girls working with the NFL for example, is a perfect start” and with regards to coaching? “I think it would be great to get some guidelines out to help coaches, it’s important that they don’t push their players too much but equally aren’t too slow moving things on either, it’s a fine balance, especially as so many women are not only new to playing but often new to American Football entirely.”
So after putting in the ground-work, what now for this hard-working PT Instructor? “Well, it’s been fantastic to get around some of these teams, I’ve met some lovely and passionate people” commented Schecter, “…but long term, it’d be great if I could help clubs with their foundation-building, as the worst thing that could happen now is that lots of little teams start up without considering how to keep themselves going.”
…and that’s how she rolls, constantly busy, constantly active…a demanding year awaits our #56, but would she want it any other way? “Oh gosh yeah, it’s non-stop right? …and with the Europeans [Women’s European Championships, Spain, August 2015] next year I’d love to make the GB squad again for that” but for now the Lions are where the affable American-born-Brit’s focus resides: “the Birmingham Lions are more than just a team to me, we have become a family – from the players to the coaching staff and across the University and wider Lions’ programme, it’s great being a Lion!” and after missing last year’s Sapphire Finals (whilst state-side at a wedding)? “…I know, was that bad timing or what?!?” joked Schecter, “but I’ve made sure to disown any non-football friends or family members in advance of the football season this year.”
Atta girl Pheebs, atta girl!
Image courtesy and with thanks to MyLonelyTreeMedia and Garry Charles Photography.