'Here for a fight': Loud, proud Canadian goalball team hunting for Paralympic spot in Chile
The Canadian women's goalball team is putting their opponents on notice at the 2023 Parapan Am Games in Santiago, Chile — they are here, they are loud and they are proud.
To make sure their presence is felt, the Canadian team has decided to make some serious noise. And it's quite something.
To begin each game and after every timeout or stoppage, longtime national team member Amy Burk lets out a scream.
"Team," she yells.
"Canada," the rest of the team responds.
It's jarring if you're hearing it for the first time.
GOAL CANADA! <br><br>Back and forth action and then Amy Burk zips home a goal for the Canadians. <br><br>It’s 1-0 Canada leading Peru in this women’s goalball game. <a href="https://t.co/7YEvovhaFM">pic.twitter.com/7YEvovhaFM</a>
Goalball is played in an eerily quiet venue. That's because the athletes have visual impairments. The teams of three have to track a ball thrown by their opponents that has bells inside of it and keep it from going into their net.
The Canadian opponents definitely feel the weight of the passion in their voices.
"It started at our world championships last year. We wanted to change our whole team identity and show everyone we are Team Canada and we are here for a fight," Burk said.
"I think we threw a lot of nations off in Portugal last year. It just wasn't what people expected. We're polite, quiet Canadians but now we're just super loud and we're proud of it. We're proud to be Canadian and proud to be here."
When watching goalball for the first time there's a wave of amazement, fascination and interest that washes over you. It's a sport centered around ear-hand coordination and spatial awareness.
"When you try to explain it people are kind of like, huh? And then they see it and it's