Francesca “Bad Ass” Saville
1) Francesca, thank you for your time and for accepting to be our Member Monday. I know you have only been part of RCFBC for a short time, but I’m very interested in sharing your story with the women of our community. Before we get into all of that, lets start with a brief introduction for all.
Well, I’m 23 years old and moved to Hull about a year ago with my best friend from college. I studied psychology with a minor in forensic studies at Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts. My interests include but are not limited to music festivals, fashion and reading. I have a cat named Kitty and I’m really good at parking.
2) In high school you were captain of the varsity softball and volleyball teams of division 1 Brockton high school. You also were a member of the boys varsity wrestling team for 2 years. Can you please share your story?
Wrestling was definitely not in the game plan when I first attended Brockton High. I originally wanted to play basketball in the winter with my friends who were much taller and more athletic than I, but after freshman year it was clear that I did not have a future career in basketball. I was already a talented volleyball and softball player so I figured, you can’t win ‘em all. However, while training for volleyball the summer before my sophomore year in the weight room, a few guy friends of mine noticed I was pretty strong despite my petite stature. They asked me if I’d ever considered wrestling which made me laugh, but also made me think, maybe this is something I could do to get in better shape and put me ahead of everybody else. I eventually agreed to give it a try. The first few weeks honestly made me want to quit, but I soon learned those first few weeks are supposed to make everybody want to quit and that’s how the coaches weed out the weak ones. As you can imagine, nobody had any respect for me in the beginning. But after weeks of bleachers, push-ups, spin drills and sprints it was obvious none of those guys had anything on me and I eventually gained the coaches’ and teammates’ respect.
3) I expected that you were exposed to some immaturity with opposing athletes, but was surprised to hear you got this from coaches as well, can you talk about both?
Being a division 1 athlete, you would assume every other school instilled the sportsmanship and respect Brockton high did for their athletes, but as my coaches warned me, my patience was tested to say the least. Several of our opponents were all boys high schools and their wrestlers had never even imagined what they would do when faced with a female opponent. I almost felt sorry for them; if they won then it would be like beating up a girl but then if they lost it would be losing to a girl! It was a lose-lose situation. Some coaches even allowed my opponents to forfeit which would infuriate me after working hard to make weight and prepare for my match all week. Of course there were countless remarks about my hair, nails, makeup and choice of attire but I certainly wasn’t a tomboy and there was no way I was going to dull my sparkle because some immature guys wanted me to. I also was victim to countless inappropriate remarks but my team was the utmost respectful to me and always protective when it came to other teams trying to harass me. These struggles were inevitable but I promised myself from the beginning I wouldn’t let anybody belittle me and I would carry myself with class, which is exactly what I did. It was amusing seeing my opponents get their feathers all ruffled over having to face a girl, but what I found even more entertaining was opposing coaches arguing with officials about my eligibility. It took everything inside me to keep my mouth shut in these situations, but looking back I’m proud of the way I handled myself.
4) Your first victory after 5 defeats was a pin over an opponent in 1 minute. How did that feel for you and your fan club? Also who made up that fan club?
I know everybody says this, but i truly have the greatest friends in the world who would support me no matter what I did. My friends have always been a melting pot of different personalities and interests and I never once had a home match without a crowd of supporters male and female. Having a brother in my grade made for more protective guy friends than I would have liked to have, just waiting for someone to say the wrong thing to me. Also, if you think I’m crazy you should really meet my girlfriends. I will never forget my first victory, as there were several different emotions present afterwards. I felt a sense of relief from hard work finally paying off but I also felt extremely guilty and sorry for my opponent who’s life I just ruined. When I told my friends about this guilt they reminded me that I was pretty much the most bad-ass girl in school and I didn’t have time to feel sorry for my opponents.
5) Interesting enough your Idol is Rhonda Rousey. You sometimes sport a t-shirt that references Rhonda. Can you elaborate?
I love Rhonda for her message that not all women are built the same and that strong is attractive. She has a term for the type of women we should raise our children to NOT be, and its called a do nothing b*tch, a DNB. This catchphrase slams the kind of chick that just wants to be pretty and taken care of by someone else. Its basically the “just do it” for feminists.
6) Did that experience help when you went on to college and played volleyball for 4 years at Lasell?
Wrestling definitely gave me an advantage when it came to stamina, but what helped me most was knowing I could overcome any challenge thrown my way. And if I could overcome any challenge so couldn’t my team.
7) In your current career, you work with women overcoming a different type of battle. Can you elaborate?
I currently work with women battling eating disorders. It is an extremely delicate population because our culture tends glamorize eating disorders in television, movies and fashion by making jokes about starving yourself and commercials about losing weight fast. Also, every time I tell someone I work with eating disorders they think its funny to say “Oh, I have an eating disorder! I eat too much.” People don’t realize how insulting this is. You would never make a joke about someone in recovery from addiction or cancer, but at the level of care I work at, some of these women are on death’s doorstep if they don’t start to get better. Eating disorders are definitely overlooked and underserved. Its not all about starving yourself or binge eating. These women suffer from crippling body dysmorphia and OCD which are neurological based illnesses. I want people to understand that eating disorders aren’t learned behaviors but rather a sickness originated in the brain.
8) Can you talk about your first exposure to CrossFit here at Bare Cove and the emotions that followed?
I started at the end of December in hopes that I would beat the rush of new years resolution-ers, but interestingly enough my first WOD was the 12 days of Christmas which made me hate Christmas a little bit. Just kidding, but it definitely made me question my abilities. Thankfully I was assured that it was challenging for everybody even the coaches so I was able to have a little more confidence in myself. Since then the community here has been amazing. Everybody is friendly, funny, encouraging and respectful.
9) Lastly you have a very cool and interesting tattoo, what is the meaning?
The meaning is from a cherokee proverb that there is a battle of two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, lies, inferiority and ego. The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy and truth. What wolf wins? The one you feed.