Grey Cup Breakfast is an opportunity to hear from players and coaches in person

Michael 'Pinball' Clemons (left), Mark Washington and Wally Buono will all be at the Grey Cup Breakfast.

Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons (left) will be MC and Wally Buono (right) will be interviewed at the Grey Cup Breakfast.

The BC Lions may not have made the playoffs, but the Grey Cup final – and the Grey Cup Breakfast – will be held in Vancouver this year. Since the late 1970s, football fans have whetted their appetite, the day before the big game, at the Athletes in Action (AIA) Grey Cup Breakfast.

This year, the breakfast will take place November 29, 8 am, at the Vancouver Conference Centre.

The unique thing about the breakfast is that those who attend will get a glimpse into the lives of men they normally see only in uniform, on the field.

wallybuono1Jarret Wall, who works with AIA, describes the breakfast as a place “where major speakers and athletes/coaches from the two teams come on the Saturday morning before the big game to speak on ‘life in the red zone’ . . . how it is being a pro athlete, balancing life and living out your faith.” Often, he adds, “there are opportunities to meet a CFL player and to get your picture with the Grey Cup.”

The speakers are not yet finalized, but over  years, they have included the likes of Henry Burris, Kenyon Rambo, Anthony Calvillo, Kerry Joseph, Wally Buono, Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons and other CFL stars.
Clemons, vice chair of the Toronto Argonauts, will be here as an MC, as will Mark Washington, who was as a defensive back for the BC Lions before becoming their defensive coordinator. (A Vancouver Sun story earlier this year pointed out that Lions assistant Mark Washington wants ‘better’ men.) BC Lions GM Wally Buono will be interviewed about his Hall of Fame career.

Marion Van Driel recently interviewed Dave Klassen of AIA (which is part of Power to Change, based in Langley) for The Light Magazine:

Many sports fans are impressed by the glory of the game and the fame it brings. In reality, professional players are under tremendous pressure to perform every time they run out onto the field. Often forgotten is the fact that, like everyone else, ‘life happens’ for these athletes.

Dave Klassen

Dave Klassen is chaplain for the BC Lions and the Vancouver Canucks.

Dave Klassen, National Pro Director and Chaplain for both the BC Lions and the Vancouver Canucks, oversees all the pro staff and chaplains in the CFL and NBA.

Klassen confirms that a chaplain is available to players at the place where “life intersects the sport . . . Where someone is injured, or sidelined by the team – how do you deal with the pressure? [It’s important] to have someone who’s unbiased. . . . You may have issues with your children or you and your spouse are not getting along. Maybe you’re working through a lack of confidence issue with your coach or teammates, or there’s been a death in the family. There’s an expectation of performance, but you’re dealing with all these things. In those cases we are someone who can walk alongside, and be neutral. We’re that intersecting point, we stand in the gap, sometimes propping up or just standing beside in support.”

Along with pressures of the job come temptations that could send both the professional and personal lives of pro team players spiraling out of control. Many of these athletes attest to the fact that their world could quickly crumble without the presence and power of Christ. While they are heroes to many, they are eager to share Jesus Christ – their hero – with the world. With support from family and friends, their chaplain, Christian peers and through AIA, they are able to bring major influence, purpose and hope through the good news of the gospel.

Tickets for the Grey Cup Breakfast can be purchased here.

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