December 6, 2015

The Rookie Diaries: Giving Back with Greg McGhee

Michiko Araki

When you’re a pro, giving back is a way to instill hope into aspiring superstars – and for first year Lion Greg McGhee, that’s something that comes quite naturally.

If there’s one thing that stands out about the first year Lion, it’s his willingness to make a difference in other people’s lives and take part in BC Lions community initiatives, especially the Punt, Pass & Kick program. As part of the program, Greg gets a chance to work with young amateur football players in the local community as they showcase their punting, passing, and kicking abilities in a competition offered to all associations at the flag to junior bantam levels.

Greg’s giving nature is no surprise to those that know him. During his collegiate football career at Howard University, Greg spent his free time giving back to the community in several different ways.

“When I was in college, I was big in the community,” he explains. “I did some volunteer work at a rec centre, I was a 10 and under head coach for a basketball team, and I love kids. When I came here, I was talking to Manny Arceneaux and he was telling me about all the camps that we do. Once I found out, I asked to be more involved. Since then, I’ve done quite a few Punt, Pass & Kicks. Whenever I get a chance to do a camp, I’m all for it. Any chance I can get to meet new people, possibly help someone, encourage someone, and influence someone in a positive way, I’m willing to do so.”

 

Even with a busy schedule, Greg takes time into supporting community programs because he understands that people like him could play an important part in someone else’s life. Even if it’s just for a day, Greg understands the impact that him and other players could make on youth.

“It really carries a lot of weight being a professional football player or a professional athlete in general. We’re the kind of people younger kids look up to,” he explains. “Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces makes me smile. You sit back and think about how privileged and honoured you are to be a professional, and it’s a blessing.”

For Greg, his Lions journey began back in February when Coach Tedford personally flew out to give the pivot a work out.

“I was training for the NFL combine, and Coach Tedford got in contact with me. He told me he was going to fly out to the facility I was working out at. He flew out, put me through a workout, and a week or two later, there was a contract on the table. After that, I sat down with my family, my coaches, and mentors, and we talked about it. A week after graduation, I was on the plane heading to camp. It was really exciting.”

Since those days, Greg is now feeling at home in Vancouver and is grateful for the opportunities he’s been given to play and also make a positive contribution to the local community.

“It’s been great so far. I love the city, and I love my teammates. Like I said, I’m truly blessed to take advantage of the opportunity I’ve been given. Most importantly, I’m doing something that I love to do.”

Greg will have the chance to see several of the amateur football players he has met through the Punt, Pass & Kick program in action this Saturday, October 10th at 4pm as the finalists take part in the pre-game festivities before the BC Lions host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the annual ’Salute to Amateur Football’ night.     

Community Football Visits:

Tuesday October 6

 

Players: Richie Leone & Jason Foster
Association: South Delta Minor Football
Time 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: Dennison Park (755 – 53 Street, Delta)

Players: Anthony Fera & Boseko Lokombo
Association: Mission Minor Football
Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: Mission Sports Park (8020 Oyama Street, Mission)

Players: Casey Chin & Cody Husband
Association: Cloverdale Minor Football
Time 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: Cloverdale Athletic Park (6410 – 168 Street, Surrey)

Players: Josh Aladenoye & Greg McGhee
Association: North Surrey Minor Football
Time: 6:00 pm-7:30 pm
Location: Bear Creek Park (13750 – 88 Avenue, Surrey)

Players: David Menard & T-Dre Player
Association: Meadow Ridge Minor Football
Time 6:00 pm-7:30 pm
Location: Samuel Robertson Technical Secondary (10445 – 245 Street, Maple Ridge)

WednesdayOctober 7th 

Players: Dean Valli & Mike Benson
Association: North Langley Football Association
Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: McLeod Stadium (58 Avenue and 214A Street, Langley)

ThursdayOctober 8th 

Players: Zach Minter & Craig Roh
Association: White Rock Minor Football
Time 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: South Surrey Athletic Park (148 Street and 20 Avenue (Field 4), White Rock)

Players: Alex Hoffman-Ellis & Stephen Adekolu
Association: GSL Football
Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Location: Confederation Park (2145 Jones Avenue, North Vancouver)

Players: Ronnie Yell & T.J. Lee
Association: Coquitlam Minor Football
Time 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: Coquitlam Town Centre (New North Field) (299 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam)

Players: Steven Clarke & Keynan Parker
Association: North Delta Minor Football
Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: John Oliver (11590 Ladner Road, Delta)

Players: Josh Johnson & Adrian Clarke
Association: Royal City Football Club
Time 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: Mercer Stadium (6th Street and 10th Avenue, New Westminster)

Players: Emmanuel Arceneaux & Maxx Forde
Association: Westside Minor Football
Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Location: Vancouver College – 5400 Cartier Street