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Montreal Alouettes' Anthony Calvillo's defining moment

We wanted to give you a sneak peak of our next writing challenge, launching this week. Defining Moments is an Olympics-inspired challenge that takes a look at life's turning points, including the moments that marked the personal lives and careers of some of our favourite Canadian athletes and celebrities. 

Veteran Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo has just announced his retirement from the games after 20 seasons in the CFL. This is his Defining Moment. 
“My Pivotal Year”

My defining moment came in 1998, after my last season with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. I had just been released, and my career was at its absolute bottom at that point. I didn’t know what direction things were going to go in. I had a couple of opportunities to sign contracts with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes, and I really felt that I wanted to come and learn with a winning organization. I chose the Montreal Alouettes. 

At that time the Alouettes had a wonderful quarterback named Tracy Ham. Coming from Hamilton, I was a very sporadic player and it was important to me that when I got to Montreal, I earned the confidence of my teammates. I had to prove that I could be a consistent winning quarterback, and the biggest thing for me was learning from Tracy. He would show up three hours before practice and watch tape, work out, and really go the extra mile. I just followed in his footsteps. He was a proven winner, a championship quarterback, and I figured that if I watched him and did what he did, studied properly, I’d gain my own confidence back, then become a consistent quarterback, and maybe even a championship quarterback. 

That year in 1998, Tracy was the starter, not me. But he was hurt quite often, so I was able to start six games that year. And in that first game, I remember telling myself how important it was to go out there and prove to my teammates that I could help this team win. I had played against these guys when I was with Hamilton, and I played well at times, but there were other times that I really did not play well at all. So I needed to gain their confidence and their respect, and that’s why my defining moment was that particular year in 1998. In six games that year, I was four and two as a starter. I started to regain the trust in the locker room. 

When Tracey retired, I was able to take the starting job over for him. And slowly but surely, I’d have my teammates come up to me and tell me, “We believe in you. When you step out on the field we don’t have to worry about who our quarterback is now that Tracey’s gone.” And it was occurring week in and week out when I was starting. They believed I could get the job done. And that was just so huge for me. 


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Get ready to share your defining moment with us. The project launches this week on Canada Writes so stay tuned.



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