Ottawa is finally a Football Town again with the return of the CFL to Ottawa in 2014 with the Ottawa REDBLACKS inaugural season. The Warriors quickly embraced the exciting news and that was made incredibly easy with the announcement that Warriors Alumni Justin Phillips would be one of the REDBLACKS inaugural season captains! Justin was a stand-out while he was with our club and continues to exemplify and represent our Club with the best of intentions and the passion for our great sport that led him to his leadership role with our new CFL team. More about Justin Phillips can be found in our post from July of 2014 (our announcement of Justin Phillips induction into the Bell Warriors Hall of Fame).
The REDBLACK’s commitment to the football community was again evident last night when the REDBLACKS D-Linemen Zack Evans (#92) and Ettore Lattanzio (#49) showed up to our Warriors Bantam and Tyke practices … to motivate our young players and get some work done with our boys!
A key point that was reinforced was to embrace every moment you get to spend time together playing our great sport. Use your opportunities in every drill, practice and game to challenge yourself, to grow and to make your new friends (your teammates) better. When pushed for messages to our older Warriors, our Bantams, two points were reinforced. Ettore Lattanzio wanted to let the boys who wanted to play football at a higher level know that ‘they need to put the same effort into their schooling that they do into their sport. This sport will expose you to some amazing people and experiences but not if you limit your options.’ Zack Evans wanted to say ‘that the one thing that distinguishes players that make it to the next level, and the same applied to those that wanted to win championships, was to not be selfish. Be a team player. Embrace team. Make your teammates work ethic better. Raise the level of competition always and instill that same sense of work ethic, respect and responsibility in your teammates.’
The two REDBLACKS’ D-Linemen had a great talk with both groups at the beginning of practice. They then moved on to witness and encourage our young tykes going through some fundamentals drills. (Note: I’m sure our shiver pads haven’t been hit that hard all year!). Our young tykes were clearly pumped to show their stuff. The two guests then went to work coaching our Bantam’s DL group giving some unforgettable one-on-one technique work. This soon expanded into a spirited OL/DL competition drill which then progressed to a full-on OL/DL/LB/RB competition that had our entire Bantam squad motivated to compete while cheering each other on. If that didn’t reinforce the importance of motivation, nothing would because this squad was engaged to show the pros that they were all players. The Warrior pride was on full display!
The night ended with a great picture/autograph session with our tykes and after that, our Bantams got to see more of the character of these two impressive young men. A thoughtful, heartfelt Q & A session left us all impressed and thankful for the spirited, unique and immensely special night.
A night to remember and a monsterous THANK YOU to the Ottawa REDBLACKS and their two amazing D-linemen Zack Evans and Nepean’s very-own Ettore Lattanzia! A night that our Warriors will never forget!!!