Katrina Krawec knows what it means to go the extra yard for the sake of her research.
A graduate student in the university’s kinesiology department, she’s studying the differences between two Canadian women’s tackle football leagues – one which requires its players to wear full uniforms, the other in which they play in bikinis.
Last year, she actually tried out for the Toronto Triumph, one of four Canadian teams in what until recently was known as the Lingerie Football League.
“I just wanted to get a better understanding of what it was like for the women who want to play in this league,” she said. "It was challenging athletically, and it was fairly clear that there were a couple of women who may have underestimated the athletic requirements for trying out for the team.”
Last Thursday Krawec was one of dozens of students displaying their research posters in the atrium of the Human Kinetics building for Kinesiology Research Day. Her poster detailed her master’s thesis proposal, essentially a comparison of the Legends Football League – formerly known as the Lingerie Football League – and the Western Women’s Canadian Football League.
This spring she’ll begin interviewing players in both leagues. Under the tutelage of professor Vicky Paraschak, she’ll be looking at how both leagues are structured, what the players’ experiences are like, and how the media frames the sport.
“I’m really interested in understanding how all of those factors interact, and ultimately how they influence what the sport looks like,” said Krawec, who never heard back from the Triumph but said she may have proceeded to better understand the experience if she was called to report.
The WWCFL began in 2011 with seven teams in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba, and is expanding to nine teams for next season. Players wear full equipment and uniforms and the league is described on its web site as “a dream come true for every female that has ever dreamt of playing football but never had the chance.” Its motto is “Breaking stereotypes, one yard, one tackle, one touchdown at a time.”
The LFL began in 2009 in the United States as the Lingerie Football League and a four-team Canadian league premiered in 2012. The league renamed and rebranded itself in in January hopes of being viewed as more legitimate, although the players still wear bikinis, in addition to their equipment.
Krawec has some of her own opinions about the LFL, but seems genuinely interested in maintaining her objectivity and gaining a better understanding of why some women would choose to play in such a league.
“There seems to be so many contradictions,” said Krawec, who earned an undergraduate degree from Western University and played intramural flag football there. “Women have come so far in sports and made so many gains, but this seems like such a backward step. Why are women playing this, when they could be playing so many other sports? I’m really interested in the women who play, and understanding why they play.”
Following is a list of winning posters at Kinesiology Research Day:
Applied Human Performance
Authors: Kelly Carr, Phillip McKeen, James Daabous, Chad Sutherland, Nadia Azar, & Sean Horton for Assessment of hand function: Testing reliability and performance in adults with autism.
Authors: Ryan McConnell, & Marijke Taks for Bell Sensplex tournaments: An evaluation of the economic significance on a midsized community
Authors: Laura Chittle, Vincenzo Liburdi, Jess Dixon, & Sean Horton for Academic timing and the relative age effect in NCAA women's basketball
Authors: Ray Mailloux, & Jess Dixon for Transfer of training: Assessing the impact of WBC participation on MLB performance.