Martlet rugby’s third-year fullback Dana Silerova is certainly not one for staying in one place. Silerova, who intends to continue studying geology after she graduates in 2021, spent last semester studying abroad in Glasgow and has travelled to Nevada and France for fieldwork classes.
“I’m not quite tired of school yet, so I think I’m going to keep going until I am tired,” Silerova said.
No matter where she ends up, she is confident that rugby will remain a part of her life. In addition to the weekly skill, strategy, and conditioning practices with the Martlets, she plays on a local club team in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue over the summer and found a team to play on while in Glasgow.
“[Playing in Glasgow] was a really fun way to get to know […] people who are actually from Scotland, as opposed to just hanging out with the [other] exchange people,” Silerova said.
Community has always been a key part of Silerova’s rugby experience, From joining her school’s team in grade nine because of friends’ encouragement to pushing herself while training with her teammates.
“It helps when you’re on the team, and you know that everyone else on the team has the same sort of [academic] stress,” Silerova said. “They’re also trying to balance everything, so sometimes we get together before practice [and] really take advantage of all the small chunks of time [we] have.”
Her teammates are a source of both camaraderie and motivation when she trains.
“I like pushing myself just to get better as a player, but I also like it when I have my teammates beside me, and it gets a bit competitive,” Silerova said. “We try to get competitive at practice so that it increases the intensity [.…] You’re trying to beat your friend in whatever you’re doing.”
Silerova noted the competitive aspect of McGill varsity rugby compared to the club teams she has played with.
“The varsity team is definitely more intense,” Silerova said. “It’s a much shorter season [….] I feel like there’s definitely more pressure there. You feel like every game counts.”
Although McGill women’s rugby has not had a great deal of success in the past few years, Silerova has always been a key player. This year, she scored 15 points in their season opener against Bishop’s University on Sept. 1, earning her the RSEQ Athlete of the Week award.
Silerova also takes pride in the accomplishments of the Canadian national women’s rugby team, currently ranked fourth in the world behind New Zealand, England, and France. Their recent success is encouraging North Americans to follow rugby.
“I think a lot more people are starting to watch [rugby] and realize that it’s […] an exciting game to watch too, a lot of hitting and fast running,” Silerova said.
With only two games left in McGill’s season, Silerova can certainly be expected to give her all to lead her team to victory.