Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rookie of the Year

As the lopsided 50 to 9 score suggests, the season-opener didn't go so well, but I can tell you McGill's sophomore quarterback won't take "no" for an answer. Jonathan Collin struck me as a supremely confident fellow. The 6 foot 5 inch, 235 pound Greenfield Park native told me in an interview last week, McGill knew going in, the game Sunday afternoon would be an important test. After all, the Rouge et Or are the number-two ranked football team in the nation and the Redmen were meeting them on their home field  in Quebec City.

We taped the interview Thursday afternoon and it aired on Saturday evening. I had also expected it to air Saturday morning but, for the first time in several weeks, our morning slot had, inexplicably, been spoken for. It makes it hard to attract viewers when they are unable to find the show in the same time slot where they initially found it. Oh, well.

On the program we taped Thursday, I also did an interview with the people from Beyond the Rack.com. This is a Montreal-based internet shopping company that offers members limited time sales on brand names at up to 70 per cent off. Lori Krebs, the site's Public Relations Manager and Yona Shtern, the CEO, came in for the interview. Their company had been selected to provide "swag bags" to Emmy Award nominees and presenters, which I thought was pretty cool. Lori came in to the studio during the commercial break and began setting up samples of their stock. About five minutes into the interview, Lori began to show us some of the stuff that had been in the swag bag. The gifts included a $500 Beyond the Rack shopping credit, a few other items and a pair of Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses, which she tried on while on-camera. Cool shades. During the second commercial break, when the interview had ended, she began packing stuff up. Jonathan was already in the studio, waiting to have his microphone put on. Lori started to move toward the studio door, but the Ray-Bans were still sitting on the desk in front of me. I  looked down and debated with myself. After a few seconds, I said, "Here, Lori, don't forget the glasses." Jonathan just smiled, knowingly.

Once Lori and Yona had left, we both jokingly admitted a pair of Ray-Bans would have been a sweet addition to our wardrobes. We came out of commercial and began our interview. He is only the 5th true freshman in the 125 year history of Redmen football to start at quarterback. As a rookie, he led the league in touchdowns scored and the education major was fourth among league leaders, with an average of 191.1 passing yards per game. He was named Rookie of the Year in the Quebec University Football League and recently won a  Montreal Alouettes scholarship. During the interview, he calmly outlined his goals for the new season, 2700 yards passing and 300 yards rushing! Yikes! While he admits "big plays" are the high point and his approach to football involves having fun, Jonathan makes it crystal clear wins are goal number one.

Before we started taping, I had taken him in the studio to show him where we would be talking. He spotted the script in the teleprompter and wryly asked whether he'd get to read it. He was the last guest on the show, so when I heard the 30 second cue in my ear, I told Jonathan to go ahead and read the "outro" off the prompter. Without missing a beat, he read it, smooth as silk.

No sweat.

It was a tough first game, but the Rouge et Or have consistely been a championship-calibre team. My athletic career at McGill may have been limited to intramural touchfootball, but after meeting him, it's pretty safe to say, he'll be back. First and foremost, I wish him good health throughout his playing career; I'm pretty sure he'll do my alma mater proud. If Jonathan ends up teaching high school geography and history, judging by his reaction to the Ray-Ban dilemma, I'm pretty sure he'll do himself proud.

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