It should be noted that the best attendance for a women’s rugby match in Canada was recorded for the match between the Canadian team and New Zealand on July 8, with 10,092 spectators at TD Place. The best recorded attendance to watch a Quebec women’s university sporting event was in Laval, when 3,200 people watched the women’s volleyball match on Feb. 3. At the Canadian university level there was a crowd of 5,300 (rugby, 2012) and 10,092 spectators (basketball, 2015). Rouge et Or wants to surpass all these signs.
For Julie Dionne, manager of the Sports Activities Department, it’s important that Rouge et Or thinks big.
“This is a challenge we have undertaken and it aims to inspire all women’s sports. The idea came about after an article in the media (Alexandre Pratt, Press) talked about how a school can host the largest number of spectators for women’s sports. We think we have the perfect event for this, and if anyone can achieve this success, it’s us. Telus Stadium has 12,000 seats. »
Although rugby is not the easiest sport to understand, the leader of Rouge et Or believes it is an ideal opportunity to democratize the sport.
“There are outstanding athletes on the field, they are fast and explosive, we need to highlight them and remember that we are Canada’s reigning champions. This is an important message we want to send to young teenage girls who are dropping out of the sport at an alarming rate. We are working internally throughout the game to help people understand the game.” Explanations will be made by our announcer. »
Targeted university community
To put all the odds on their side, Rouge et Or invites the entire university community to come and watch the match for free. A single rate of $10 will apply to the rest of the population. Clearly the organizers have made no secret of the fact that they are asking Mother Nature for a helping hand in promoting outdoor women’s sports.
There is no doubt that this game represents a unique opportunity for third line player Anne-Frédérique Simard.
“We have an opportunity to do something big and we must take advantage of this opportunity to sell women’s sport. This is of interest to the entire population because I am sure it will inspire many young girls to see that the spotlight can be turned entirely to female athletes. I’m proud that Rouge et Or is considering us and I’m sure the public will respond positively,” explains the 24-year-old athlete, a member of the first RSEQ all-star team.
An ongoing sport
For Rosalie Charbonneau, who plays the wing position, the event came at the right time as women’s rugby is in full bloom both in the Quebec region and across the province.
“There are new programs everywhere and there are more and more enrollments across the province. The Sainte-Foy and CNDF university programs are really good and I find it really great that sports are highlighted in this way. But since I came to Laval, I feel like the sport has changed for the better. There is enthusiasm in the sport and I hope this section will attract new players,” says the kinesiology student, who also found a place in the star-studded first RSEQ team.
The message sent for Audrey Champagne touches a sensitive point. Champagne, who has experience teaching physical education in secondary schools, knows all too well the fact that young girls are dropping out of sports more and more quickly.
“Rugby is a popular sport among young girls and I think this event will make it even bigger. However, as a teacher, I want young girls to be active, no matter what sport they do. Those who come to the match will understand that women’s sports are no longer the same as they were before, they have reached another level. This is a game of rugby that goes far beyond our sport. »
The centerpiece of the first RSEQ all-star team believes now more than ever it is time for young girls to have female sporting role models.
“I used to watch hockey player Sydney Crosby a lot when I was younger. If my role model was Marie-Philip Poulin, I’d probably play hockey. It’s an honor for us to think that little girls will come to the game and their eyes will be on us. “We just want to be successful in making them dream,” concludes Champagne, stating that his entire team is excited about this great challenge.