Paul Childs is grateful for a second chance.
Whether that opportunity comes with the Okanagan Sun or Vancouver Island Raiders is entirely up to him.
The highly sought-after 6-foot-4, 234-pound receiver from Winnipeg attended the spring camps of both BCFC teams over the last two weekends and now has a decision to make.
“I’m really torn right now,” said Childs, 21. “At one point I was 80 per cent sure I was going to V.I., but now I’m not sure. The environment here (Sun) is absolutely phenomenal. Coach (Shane) Beatty is an all-out, upbeat coach who wears his heart on his sleeve and I’m that type of guy, too. I’m torn, but I’d like to make a decision soon and not leave anyone hanging.”
There were times when Childs wondered if he’d ever play football again.
In 2009, during his last season of high school at Churchill in Winnipeg, Childs’ family home burned to the ground. At the time, he was considered one of the top high school prospects in Manitoba.
But he stopped playing football and, from there, his life took some unexpected and unfortunate turns.
While riding his motorcycle at high speeds in Winnipeg in June 2011, Childs was charged with flight from police and dangerous driving.
He would spend six months in jail, where Childs made a concerted decision to turn his life around.
“That’s where I found myself, both mentally and physically,” Childs said. “I made some bad decisions and wrong turns without football, and it was time to correct that. I came out not as a loser anymore. I went in at 302 pounds and came out at 228. I matured as a person, left that old one behind. I dug myself out and I’m grateful to be where I am right now.”
Sun coach Shane Beatty would like nothing more than to see Childs’ in orange and brown for the 2013 BCFC season.
“Everybody deserves a second chance,” Beatty said. “Paul came in here and showed leadership, he was physical, he went out and got the ball, but he was also energetic and positive.
“His physicality is off the charts,” added Beatty, “and we could play him in multiple positions.”
Childs hopes to make a decision on his summer destination within the next week.