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B.C. Lions QB takes both football and life's challenges in stride

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Travis Lulay leaps into end zone on Catholicism, Popes, and how to be a role model

(Caption: B.C. Lions quarterback Travis Lulay tries to avoid Saskatchewan Roughriders linebacker Weldon Brown (#35) during the 2013 Western semi-final in Regina. The Lions lost 29-25, while the Riders have advanced to the Grey Cup vs. the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Photo credit: B.C. Lions.)

By Alistair Burns                            

The B.C. Catholic

B.C. Lions quarterback Travis Lulay had an up-and-down season. He suffered a dislocated shoulder while scoring a touchdown in August; it was the second consecutive season that a shoulder injury had felled the CFL's highest-paid player. On returning he threw for 211 yards during the Western semi-final Nov. 10 against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but still the Lions lost the playoff game 29-25.

Lulay spoke to The B.C. Catholic about growing up in a family faithful to the Church; also about his favourite Pope, professional pressure, and how men should act in life.

Alistair Burns: Travis, the Lions held a "Faith Night" in October. Did it bring a different flavour to that game?

Travis Lulay: Always, it helps you put things back into perspective. I have a 1-year-old daughter at home who doesn't know that I'm hurt and not playing. She doesn't care. When I think of my family, I think of my faith; they're one and the same.

People are kind of mopey and ask, "Are you okay? How's the shoulder?" My shoulder's been better, but I'm great! Life is good; I'm very blessed.

AB: Tell me about your faith.

TL: I was born into and raised in a strong Roman Catholic family. Both my grandparents and mom and dad are devout. I'm often asked, "Why did you stick to the faith?"

It's been reinforced by the way I've seen my family care for each other. That personifies how I want to live my life. The Catholic foundation is the root.

AB: Were you an altar boy, an usher, when you were a kid?

TL: Oh yeah, I did all that (chuckles).

AB: You had a successful college career at Montana State, but you were cut by three NFL teams before you signed with the Lions as a third-string QB. How do you keep everything in perspective?

TL: I was able to maintain a confidence level in myself, a belief that if football was my calling, it would work out. And if it didn't, I was going to be okay.

Guys who put all their eggs in one basket, sometimes the pressure (of playing) is too much and they crack. That kind of becomes their idol. Some players want to determine their worth by their success, and I guess I had a stronger foundation to never fall into that trap.

One of the ways I cope is by not paying attention; I don't listen to the sports talk radio shows or read the newspapers.

I would hate to think my play on the field is influenced by someone who's completely outside of my reality. If my coach or a teammate is telling me something, then I can correct that.

AB: What's your favourite Bible verse?

TL: Proverbs 3:5: "Trust wholeheartedly in Yahweh, put no faith in your own perception." When I was at Catholic high school, the seniors gave each of us juniors Bibles, and everyone wrote favourite verses.

Sometimes we try to be in control of everything in our lives, and it's hard to let go, but understand that the One with the higher power is really in control.

AB: When the Lions play on Sundays is there anything extra you do?

TL: The pre-game chapel is part of what I do. Because we do get so consumed by football, that's just a small way to offer up a little of my time to acknowledge God and to thank Him for this day and opportunity. I always pray for help to keep things in perspective.

AB: Who's your favourite Pope? Don't worry; I'm not expecting you to go back to 1522....

TL: Well, I'm a young guy and I liked Pope John Paul II.

AB: What drew you to him?

TL: Honestly, it's more now that he's gone. How he reached out to all faiths; he was kind of progressive thinking, as far as Popes go. To read of his charisma and how he was able to capture people's attention, that's awesome for a leader to have that type of personality.

AB: Let's say you have a chance either to win another Grey Cup, or to meet Pope Francis in person. What's your choice?

TL: Oh, man! (Laughing.) You can't ask that!

AB: Lions centre Angus Reid answered: "One's a career goal, the other the chance of a lifetime."

TL: That's a fair assessment.

AB: How do you think men of faith can be role models?

TL: I do think you have to be a strong person, physically and mentally, to stand up for what you believe in. Often people are afraid of what others will think of them.

We're probably all guilty of that to some extent. But guys do respect other guys who have strong beliefs, regardless of whether they agree with them.

It's important to live out what you believe. People look at you. I want to conduct myself in the way to make the (B.C. Lions) proud. It should be no different being a Catholic man.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 November 2013 11:14  

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