[url=http://cfl.ca/article/moffat-calvillo-the-fighter-stronger-than-ever]http://cfl.ca/article/moffat-calvillo-t ... -than-ever[/url]
[b]Calvillo the Fighter Stronger Than Ever[/b]
If you believe “you can’t teach speed? and “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,? you may as well give the CFL’s savvy purebred Old Dog first and goal at the one.
Anthony Calvillo has not only beaten thyroid cancer, he’s beating his personal bests in offseason training for speed, strength and power.
“I’m high maintenance like your old beater car,? AC tells me while being rubbed down by his trusty masseur Scott Suter after training in the same gym that buffs UFC’s George St-Pierre. “But my ‘beach body’ don’t look right,? the back-to-back Grey Cup champion QB confesses.
A unique entourage has Calvillo in rare form for any CFL player, let alone a battle-scarred quarterback who’ll turn 39 long before Grey Cup 2011 kicks off.
“AC has learned speed – he’s gone from 4.4 metres/second to 5.7!? raves Brian Robinson, the inventor of the Hi-Trainer and VP of Hi-Trainer Inc. “AC is a power producer. He’s beating bigger men and younger men. It’s simple. He’s changed his vector force. You run fastest when you sustain a fall.?
More CFL passing records will fall in 2011 because of it.
“Fatigue factor reduces your completion rate,? explains Robinson. “When a QB who’s completed that 10-yard out 10,000 times in his life is down on his heels and missing that toss in the fourth quarter he’s fatigued. That’s not happening to AC anymore.?
CFL defences have noticed: Four straight years completing more than 67% of his passes. Four straight seasons averaging more than 6.2 yards per carry; more than a full yard better than his career average at age 35+.
Calvillo’s quest for vintage success came after the heartbreak of Grey Cup 2008’s home turf curse. Leading at halftime, the Als’ thoroughbred tossed up a critical pick and had several more passes easily batted down in the Stampeders’ second half rally at Olympic Stadium. The thoroughbred sought a “workhorse mentality? following that game.
“We were at an NFL game a few weeks later visiting his former coach Jim Zorn in Washington,? explains Suter, co-founder of Montreal’s Quanta Performance Evolution, which rents space from the gym owned by local boxing legends Otis and Howard Grant. “AC had to know how to get past that last hurdle.?
Along with fitness expert Dev Chatterjee, they changed Calvillo’s work habits, eating habits and his on-field results when they’ve mattered most.
“It took some convincing, but we can’t keep him out of the gym now,? says Suter.
Calvillo went on a dairy-free and gluten-free diet. Eating to win in this case means more sweet potatoes, more quinoa.
If Calvillo’s throws leave opposing DB’s running in circles, D-linemen take warning – Calvillo’s been practicing running around in circles himself.
“It’s called vestibular training,? says personal trainer John Geller, who’s got the future Hall of Famer twirling on the spot then throwing passes from the athletic equivalent of a New Years hangover. “It gets the fluid in the inner ear moving and if he takes a hit in the pocket or is off-balance scrambling around, this is going to help.?
“Yeah they got me spinning around in circles and it don’t make any sense to me,? Calvillo concedes. “But somehow if it’s gonna make me a better football player I just have to believe what they tell me to do. If I have to catch a ball or throw a ball dizzy, I will.?
“As an athlete if you’ve got an inner circle you have to believe them. Before I used to say ‘me and Ben (Cahoon) are a package deal’ but now it’s ‘me and Suter’... that’s how it works.?
Suter tweaked this year’s program in consultation with Calvillo’s doctor to be sure the warhorse wasn’t pushed too hard too soon. Rather than feeling overtired, the man chasing Damon Allen’s all-time completion, yardage and touchdown marks was never getting tired because he was on “Synthroid? (a commonly prescribed hormone replacement for thyroid cancer patients).
“They wanted me closer to ‘hyper-thyroid’ and we’ve made an adjustment since then,? explains the patient. “I do get tired now, but this is no different from other years.?
“There’s no illegal juice in me,? chuckles AC, noting that CFL drug-testers are on the prowl for the first time in league history. “I have nothing to worry about.?
Emotionally, cancer threatened a déjà voodoo experience several years after his wife Alexia had been through an even more trying ordeal.
“There were times when it did get emotional speaking to the team, and then when football was over and I didn’t have that to focus on any more. But the surgery, the radioactive iodine; it’s all been manageable and I’ve had a plan set out.?
“Deep down I knew I wanted to come back, but deep down I knew there was a chance I might not come back, so that was going through my mind,? explains Calvillo.
“There’s a lot of people who’ve come up to me and shown me their scars and told me they’ve dealt with it. When you hear those positive stories, that’s what people are trying to tell us – ‘I’m going through the same thing you are.’?
“Not too many people have a chance to see my scar, but I’ve shown a few. If it can help them out, that’s the most important thing.?
Any couple inflicted with such a hardship would have to wonder: Why them?
“It crosses your mind, but it’s been almost four years now for Alexia. We just didn’t want to waste our energy on ‘why me’ and ‘why us.’ We both have faith in what’s been presented before us,? says Calvillo.
“I’d say Anthony is the most dedicated and focused athlete I’ve ever worked with,? says Robinson. “He understands that all this work is to get those vital yards in the fourth quarter. And in a leadership role he communicates that to the rest of the team. We’re starting to see the rest of the Alouettes come in and try to keep up.?
“He’s a workhorse and an inspiration to a lot of the fighters who see him. I just can’t wait to see all the success that he deserves this year,? adds Robinson.
If it is anything like the last two years, it will include flying his masseur to Grey Cup Week, but airlifting him home on game day.
“Since 2006 Anthony’s flown me to every Grey Cup,? says Suter, a former Als’ athletic therapist. “I’m like an old man, too, so now I don’t stay for the actual game, I just work on Anthony all week and then I don’t have to rough it in the cold. Now our deal is he has to fly me back home in time to watch the game on my couch.?
What Calvillo saves on airfare by flying Suter on a Sunday, he’s happy to re-invest in a victory dinner for the old dogs who want steak with their sweet potato.