When it comes to physical training, Richard Pellissier-Lush might be the one to help out. Pellissier-Lush is from Lennox Island First Nation and grew up for the majority of his life in Charlottetown, PE, but was originally born in Winnipeg, MB. He has done a lot of things regarding health and fitness since his time playing football in high school.
After college, he went on to do multiple jobs, like becoming a personal trainer, working for the Jordan’s Principle program, working with the Aboriginal Sports Circle, and PEI Aboriginal Sports Circle.
But it wasn’t always that way. Pellissier-Lush says when he was a kid he was chubby and absolutely hated sports, saying every sport he tried he ended up quitting.
It was when he was in grade 10 and could have strayed either between a life of athletics or a life of crime and gangs, which some of his friends at the time were headed.
But before that could happen, football tryouts were starting up.
“I had a couple of friends that were on the football team. They encouraged me to be on the team. So I shot out of the dark. I gave it a shot and I absolutely loved it,” said Pellissier-Lush.
“It kind of created this passion for me and this passion that really strayed me to the opposite side that I wanted to be. So I was no longer even thinking about that gang of violence, that crime side.”
After playing a season in Manitoba, he moved back to Prince Edward Island with his family and joined the football team at his school there for the next few years where he became all star every single year for the PEI Tackle Football League.
Shortly after, he started thinking of a game plan to play for the Manitoba Bisons because of his past knowledge of the team and he knew the coach.
“I just kind of shot out the dark. And I sent him an email and said, ‘Coach Doby, I’m really interested in coming to play for the Manitoba Bisons, what do you think the chances are?’ And he shot right away, almost instantly back,” said Pellissier-Lush.
The coach told him they would love for him to try out and thought he would be a good fit for the team, so Pellissier-Lush went to Winnipeg, tried out, and made the cut.
But the transition for him wasn’t an easy one. He says he got into the party scene a little bit and that the academic transition was something that was difficult for him as well.
“The education kind of came front first at me. And I wasn’t doing as well as I expected. So the first year, I got through it, but I wasn’t doing the best that I could have been,” said Pellissier-Lush.
He says at the time there were a lot of distractions, including friends with different life paths and priorities than him and that he didn’t know what his priorities were for himself — he just knew he wanted to play football.
After his stint at the University of Manitoba, Pellissier-Lush decided it was more of a better fit for him to go to college. So he went to Holland College in PEI who at the time was creating a brand new football program.
Though it was an easy transition for him, Pellisier-Lush says if he were to tell himself something today it would be to utilize all the resources that the University of Manitoba had to offer him.
“It was just because I was too proud of myself. I was too proud and I didn’t think I needed the tutoring. I didn’t think I needed the mentoring, but those resources were there,” said Pellisier-Lush.
“If you need help in something, ask for it. People are always willing to be there and support you whenever you can.”
Special thanks to Jasmine Kabatay for authoring this blog post.
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