Jackie Dawkins – Elite 1 Journey
Where were born?
Toronto, Ontario Canada
Who got you started in sports?
I got started in sports in my school-aged years. My first introduction to sports came from my grade 6 PE Teacher. My PE teacher saw my natural ability and physique and encouraged me to try out for school sports teams and after that I was hooked! My natural ability and physique came from my parents who both were top athletes on their native Island of Nevis, W. I.
In high school I was a top athlete in track and field, volleyball and basketball and in my final high school year, I was awarded Athlete of the Year. I carried my love of sports to University where I was a top performing member of the school’s varsity Track and Field Team where I was one of the top 6 female University-level sprinters in Ontario. After graduating from University with an Honours Bachelor in Physical and Heath Education, I attended a 1 year Sports Leadership College Program and played on the women’s varsity Basketball Team where I earned a role on the team as a walk-on player and ended the year with the Females Academic Athletic award.
What sports did you play?
I play/played sports for the camaraderie among teammates who share the same passion, the physical benefits, the competition, the life lessons learned, and for the glory you get from begin seen as “the best”…
What made you excel at sports?
My natural ability and physique first and foremost which really made sports come easy for me. My personality and character is one that values hard work, is goal oriented, strives for perfection, is driven by trying to better than the rest which leads to a never give up, never quit attitude.
Where did you train?
Growing up, other than trying to attend every practice that my various school, university and college sports team held, I didn’t participate in any extra training whether it was a track club or going to the gym regularly. In fact, the first time I entered a gym was at the age of 28 although my natural physique made me look like I was born in the gym! After suffering a knee injury, it was recommended that for my rehab, I spend time in the gym rehabbing my knee. When I started to go to the gym, I woke up and went to 6:00 am and worked out until 7:30 am before going to work. I trained myself from my knowledge of physical activity and I created regimented approach to my workouts. The one a day workouts turned into 2 a day workouts and within 8 weeks, my knee was strong.
At about age 37, I reinjured my knee at which time I trained with a personal trainer for the first time.
I currently train at the gym 3 times a week and attend football practice/game 2-3 times a week
I hated football growing up so I didn’t play or watch it and knew nothing about it until I met this guy. This guy played Semi-pro football, I attended his games but I didn’t understand it. Then one day, this guy started to coach a women’s football team and asked me to come try it out. Once I was in the game, I saw it from a different light and fell in love. It was a game that appealed to my strengths; speed, strength, determination, hard work, dedication, and a strong sense of team.
How did you become one of the best female flag football players of the past 2 decades?
Literally, the marriage of an exceptional coach and a determine hard-nose player. That guy that I met turned into the best sports coach I have ever had and ultimately became my husband. When you share the same passion on and off the field as your coach, I think magic happens. That magic lead to my success. My teammates contributed significantly to my success as well as we have stuck together as a team and with our coach for nearly 20 years.
What made you continue after a terrible knee injury and later becoming a mother?
My sheer determination, competitive spirit, love for football, my coach and teammates is what kept me motivated as I worked hard to get healthy. My Team is my family and when you are so tight and have that strong bond you want to be back and a part of that as soon as you can. After becoming a mother, I was back playing with the team in just 6 weeks as during y pregnancy I was still extremely active and attending and watching practices so it made the transition back very easy.
How do you maintain your level of athleticism in the off season?
What off-season? The only way to maintain athleticism is to never have an off-season. Out main season is from May to October and during the other months of the year I still play in other leagues and maintain my 3 day a week visits to the gym
How have you been able to maintaining being a mother and wife and still competing at such a high level?
The support that I get from family members and friends is what keeps me going. Having my husband as my coach helps as he understandings what it takes for me to hold everything together and as he sees both sides as a player and as a wife. Including my son and having him, there on the sideline from when he was 6 month old, has developed his love for football, sports and being active in general. We have made it a family affair which makes it easy.
What will you pass on to your son about your athlete development journey?
Make being part of a sports team part of your life. There is no better way to learn life skills than through participating on a team. Being athletic keeps you health and happy and provides you with a constant in life that it so hard to find elsewhere. When you suffer defeat or injury, the passion that you develop for sports is what helps you to get back on your feet which is something that will transfer to other areas in life.
Jackie Dawkins…You are an Elite 1!