October 22nd, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 41
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Ricky Ryp Foundation employee has hard-hitting experience
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Ezra Black Photo
Kirstin Nakatani, the Ricky Ryp Foundation’s events and office manager, will be tackling a whole new set of challenges in her new position.
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
Having played offensive tackle for Lethbridge Steel of the Western Women’s Canadian Football League (WWCFL), Kirstin Nakatani will be tackling a whole new set of challenges in her new position with the Ricky Ryp Foundation.
Nakatani has been named the events and office manager for the foundation, making her its first official employee.
She will be organizing many of the foundation’s activities including the annual charity golf tournament, dinner auction and school workshops.
“I’ve always been involved in my community and I love giving back,” she says. “So this opportunity is great for me.”
One can only hope that Rick Rypien, who earned a reputation as a tough and hardworking player, would approve of having a hard-hitting football player represent his foundation.
After deciding to play tackle football as a teenager, Nakatani learned football by playing with the boys.
“I played football in junior high and high school on the boys team. I was the only girl and I played rugby in high school as well,” she says.
Born and raised in Lethbridge, Nakatani played many other positions for the Steel besides offensive tackle including offensive guard, linebacker, long snapper and second-string quarterback. She was also team president.
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“It was full contact, full tackle, just like you’d see in the CFL. Exactly like the boys play,” says Nakatani.
Though she’s received some comments from chauvinistic sports fans about how unladylike it is to tackle people, she says the vast majority of people are enthusiastic about women’s football.
“When I tell people that I played football some people would think I misspoke. They would think I said rugby or soccer,” she says. “But most people are very excited by it. Many people don’t know there’s a women’s league in Western Canada.”
With eight teams in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, the WWCFL is the largest women’s football league in Canada. The league was founded in 2011 and uses similar rules to the CFL.
Nakatani moved to the Pass on Oct. 1 with her husband and daughter.
She’s now working on applications for funding from the foundation, which is a yearly process where the Ricky Ryp Foundation donates funds to local talent or those in need.
The deadline to apply for funding is Nov. 1.
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October 22nd ~ Vol. 84 No. 41
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