Glebe girl kicks with the boys

By Julie Delaney

Lynsey Bennett, 17, dressed in Glebe Collegiate’s blue and gold, stands on the sidelines cheering for the senior boys football team.

Her shoulder-length blond locks are held back by a red bandanna so she can keep a close eye on the game.

She’s not a fan, or a cheerleader — she’s the placekicker.

The 5-7, 120-pound OAC student has produced eight of the Gryphons 20 points this season.

The team has dubbed Bennett, “Auto”, because it’s automatic when she’s on the field — points are delivered.

Steve Snell, the Gryphons coach and also Bennett’s math teacher, says she is an exceptional field goal kicker.

“With Lynsey, if we get within 35 yards from the goal line, we have a pretty good chance of scoring,” says Snell. “Usually with high school football, field goals outside the 25-yard line are questionable.”

Bennett’s accuracy has been honed by her experience as a soccer player. She has been playing soccer for 10 years, the last eight of these competitively.

“I didn’t know a lot about men’s football when I joined the team,” confessed Bennett, “I still don’t know half the positions, but I am learning.”

Bennett can’t help but learn the game between practices every weeknight. She has a 15-year-old brother who is a placekicker for a competitive Ottawa team and a mother who held Ottawa Rough Riders season tickets since the age of 12.

Bennett’s mother, Marnie Bennett, can be found watching from the sidelines at all the Gryphons football games and most of the team’s practices.

Marnie Bennett says she was shocked when Lynsey came home and told her she was invited to try-out for the team after some of the boys on the squad dared her to kick a few field goals.

“I would’ve thought it would have been my son playing for Glebe, not my daughter,” says Marnie Bennett.
She says her heart is in her stomach every time Lynsey tries for a field goal or a convert.

“I don’t know which way to look because either the ball’s going to go through the uprights or somebody is going to hit her. So I try my best to look at the uprights.”

Bennett, who plays in soccer cleats because her feet are too tiny for football cleats, says it’s unlikely she’ll continue with contact football because there aren’t many options available for women in the sport.

Instead, she hopes to try out for the women’s soccer team at the University of Ottawa, where she wants to study human kinetics next year.

Bennett says it’s unlikely she will tryout for the Gee Gees men’s football team.

“The guys would intimidate me a little bit,” said Bennett with a laugh. “I guess that’s because they’d be even larger than the guys I play with now.”