B.C. Lions player Courtney Taylor

B.C. Lions player Courtney Taylor

Pro football players bring positivity

B.C. Lions football players Adam Bighill, Courtney Taylor and Matt McGarva visited several schools around Nanaimo this week.

Nanaimo elementary school children got a little advice from the pros.

B.C. Lions football players Adam Bighill, Courtney Taylor and Matt McGarva visited several schools around the city this week as part of a Lions in the House tour across the province.

They offered motivation, advice about decision-making and reminders about personal safety, and also engaged the students in athletic and team-building activities and signed autographs.

“Ultimately it’s the power of positive choice, the role of teamwork, never giving up and always working hard to get what you want,” said Bighill after a talk at École Quarterway Elementary School on Tuesday afternoon. “If you have a goal, that’s fine, but you’ve got to work for it. You have to make choices that reflect your goals.”

Taylor told the students about an incident from his college days, when a teammate got kicked off the football team after lighting some firecrackers off in a trash bin and drawing a police response.

“When you’re young, you’re going to make a lot of decisions, and some are going to be good and some are going to be bad,” Taylor said. “We want to encourage them to always strive to make those good choices, and that’s all I want them to take out of this today.”

McGarva urged students to pursue their areas of interest and find their passion, and then Bighill talked about train safety, a long-standing CFL initiative.

“We love sharing important messages that we feel they’ll listen to,” Bighill said. “If a kid hears the right things, sometimes it can send them in the right way, on the right path.”

Neither Bighill nor Taylor ever had the chance, as kids, to see their pro football heroes up close, and said it’s fun to generate that excitement.

“To see how those kids interact with us and how they love the B.C. Lions, the feeling you get out of it, you can’t beat it,” Taylor said.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com