Members of the 2011 Grey Cup champion B.C. Lions touched down at Mount Boucherie Secondary School (MBSS) on Wednesday morning as part of the team’s Lions Pride program.
Geroy Simon, Angus Reid and J.R. LaRose were on hand to spread positive messages to a gym full of MBSS students.
“We just want to get out and inspire youth to have a positive attitude, make positive choices and have a good team around (them)—that’s something we believe in as the B.C. Lions organization,” said Simon.
“It’s a great program to get out and see as many youth as possible. It’s something we’re excited about doing.”
MBSS students got the opportunity to compete in a relay race, a push-up competition and a tug of war before listening to the players’ motivational speeches.
Simon told the students that he had no shortage of talent growing up; however, he had a poor attitude, which kept him from excelling at the NFL level.
“They see us as athletes on TV, but for us to come to the school and actually tell them a personal story of our own, it really hits home to a lot of kids.”
Reid’s message focused on the importance of teamwork. He told the students that he doesn’t get to score the touchdowns; however, his role is essential to the success of the Lions.
According to Reid, it’s important for athletes to understand that kids look up to them for advice.
“Whether athletes like it or not, we are role models—people look to us and see how we live our lives and the messages we present,” said Reid.
“I personally think it’s part of our duty to be a good role model. Some athletes argue that point, but I think it’s ridiculous.
“If you’re willing to accept these kids wanting your autograph then you should be willing to accept the role to send a positive message to them.”
He said that high school is one of the “toughest times in people’s lives.”
“There are so many opportunities to make bad decisions at this age, it’s all around you. We’re encouraging people to stay strong with what they want to be and believe in themselves.”
The Lions Pride program is sponsored by the Victim Services and Crime Prevention Division of the Ministry of Public Safety.
According to Reid, the Lions make it to approximately 120 schools throughout the offseason, with the goal of sharing various positive messages.
LaRose told the MBSS kids that making good choices in high school is very important. He explained that he had to work hard to correct a few bad decisions he made, such as taking summer school to make up for missed credits.
He went on to describe the importance of setting a goal.
“The bottom line is (working) hard and setting a goal. No matter how many times you get knocked off your goal, it’s what you do when you get yourself back up,” said LaRose.
“A lot of people throughout their time will get discourage or fall off, but it’s about getting back on that path.”