Image credit: Marina Dodis
Q&A: Geroy Simon
We’re about the same height and weight, yet your hands are way bigger than mine. Do you need big hands to catch a football?
No. It’s about total concentration, being relaxed when you receive the ball, not being afraid of getting hit.
Do you do anything special to care for your hands?
Just manicures. And I like to keep my palms calloused up, lifting weights. People who want to squeeze my hand, or slap it, or give me hard high fives, I don’t like that.
Do you do weights year round?
Except for maybe a month after the season. I do hot yoga, too, to get a good sweat going and improve my flexibility.
You and Dave Dickenson have been a great pair. He’s not big, fast, quick, doesn’t have a strong arm—what makes him so good?
He’s smart and he’s tough—a quarterback who’ll take a hard hit to get you the ball. That makes you want to do the same for him. He’s a leader.
What’s your favourite spot to eat?
I’d say Memphis Blues. I love barbecue. At my place I got the barbecue on six or seven times a week.
You live in Cloverdale—why there?
It’s family-oriented where we are, lots of kids, nice house with a yard. My kids feel safe there. And it’s close to the border. I go to Seattle quite a bit.
Was Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a tough place to grow up?
There’s no jobs since they shut the steel mills, and people turn to other things. I witnessed people getting shot. I almost got shot three times, not for anything I did—just home from college, or whatever. When I first came to Vancouver people said, “Don’t go live in Surrey.? First place I lived was Whalley, and I’m like, man, if you think this is bad. . .
Is your 13-year-old son in Johnstown a good ball player?
Very good. Plays quarterback and linebacker.
Do you miss the racial mix of Pennsylvania?
Yeah, it’s weird here. Don’t get me wrong, I love Vancouver, it’s the nicest place I’ve ever been, and the people are great to me. I love going into the stadium and seeing that “Geroy’s Corner? banner. But my kids are mixed, and they only see the white side of their heritage here. I want them to see the black side, too. That’s why I like to spend time in the States.
How have you survived 11 years of pro ball, when the average is only three or four?
Never had a bad injury. Couple of shoulders, a knee, but nothing to end a career. Been knocked out a few times, but I’ve never had a concussion.
What are you most proud of?
I’m proud that I have a beautiful family. I’m proud to be a football player—a lot of guys would give anything to be in my shoes. I’m proud we won the Grey Cup.
When I was a kid I dreamed of the NFL, but I wouldn’t change anything or I might not be the person I am today. I’m happy with my life.
—Gary Stephen Ross