July 4, 2013

Sam’s Scrimmage: pre-game Q&A with the Leos

Samantha Harris

You’ve seen them on the field and on TV. You’ve read their bios, skimmed their stats and maybe have even started following them on Twitter. However, as we head into the 2013 season, it’s time you learn how the Lions plan to tackle pressure, prepare for success, have some fun and bring the Grey Cup back to Vancouver.

Nick Moore, Thomas DeMarco, Courtney Taylor, and Hugh O’Neill tell you how.

Most athletes tend to be particular when it comes to the day and hours, leading up to the game. Take us through your average game day?

“I eat some breakfast and the first thing I do is call my mom. It’s always been a tradition, from college until now. Call my mom, talk with her for a little bit, say some prayers to keep me healthy, keep me safe. Then from there, go grab some lunch and hang out with my wife and my little ones for a bit. Then after that, it’s time to head to the stadium. Eat some fruit, get hydrated, coconut water, the whole nine yards, and then game time. That’s my tradition.”  – Taylor

“I am pretty easygoing. I keep loose and try not to get too stressed about the game. Day before I’ll probably relax. Hang on the beach for some hours to chill out or just keep busy.” – O’Neill

When you see the Lions on the field, it’s hard to imagine you guys doing anything else. When did you start playing?

“I started football when I was young”, recalls O’Neill. “My dad was the guy that no matter what sport I played just put the extra work in. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of football and all the friends I made along the way, in university and high school before that. I’ve just always had a bunch of fun playing football.”

“I wanted to be a basketball players, thought I was going to be a basketball player” admits Taylor. “Then I woke up my senior year and realized I wasn’t 6’6’ so, ever since then football has been my sport.”

The team is made up of a number of players from both the United States and throughout Canada, so, in coming to the best coast they’ve had to deal with some culture shock. How are you adapting to Vancouver?

“Last year, I didn’t bring my car up so I did the whole bike-around-town thing. I’m from Palm Desert so we don’t have a big city. It was kind of cool to go downtown, go to the beach, get something to eat and then you’re somewhat near buildings. I like just walking around with the guys. Also, I’m still trying to make sure 12 guys on the field looks normal to me.” – DeMarco

“Vancouver is about getting outside. I love the seawall, love the beaches, done the Grouse Grind (43 min. PB).” – O’Neill

What is your favourite moment in your football career to date?

“Grey Cup my first year was definitely an amazing experience. My university career, my second-to-last game playing in university we were down by 27 points going into the third quarter and we managed to beat U of S in their home.” – O’Neill

“Easy, without a question: senior day in college. Got a standing ovation, got announced, just to hear the crowd, to hear the field and just being out there one more time.” – DeMarco

What are you looking forward to this season?

“I’ve only played in front of 20,000 before, at my college, but I hope to get that 55 thousand sold-out atmosphere. I’ve never been to a game before like that. So that would be fun to have.” – DeMarco

“I had my first game last week and just trying to take advantage of every chance I get. Not take anything for granted while I’m here and just enjoy every part of it.” – O’Neill

A lot of players have mentioned they listen to music to workout or prep them for a game, what would we find on your iPod?

“Versace by Migos Feat Drake” – Moore
“Future by Chosen One” – Taylor
“Portugal. The Man and Daft Punk” – O’Neill

Football aside, what is your greatest weakness?

“Chips. I won’t walk down the chip aisle of the grocery story. Chips or any kind of snacks like that: snacks. I love snacks. Do not hand me a bag of chips. If it is full I will take it down.” – DeMarco
“Used to have a terrible soft spot for Golden Oreos. They will change your life. I had to cut them out completely and now I just make my own cookies instead” – O’Neill

“I’m a sucker for desserts. Every time I have dinner, especially the night before a game, I gotta have a big dessert. It’s just something I’ve done since I’ve been playing here and something I stick to.” – Moore

“Soda pop. It’s my biggest enemy. Gonna grab one right after
this!” – Taylor

Tonight marks the home opener for the BC Lions. What are your goals for the rest of the season?

“I just want to grow in the system. When I get a chance to play that I do my part. Become an asset to the team. I want to go out on the field with a smile, laughing and joking with the guys because it’s what I love to do. When it’s not fun anymore, you shouldn’t be playing.” – DeMarco