KAMLOOPS — The B.C. Lions are making their annual trips to schools around the province, spending time in Kamloops until Wednesday to teach school kids valuable lessons about making the right choices in life.
"Really just about empowering youth, sharing stories from our lives and just to them about three simple things: setting positive goals, making the right choices and teamwork," said Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian, one of three Lions on the trip.
The Lions were at the Kamloops School of the Arts on Monday. A few lucky kids got a chance to see what it's like to put on the gear, while learning about the importance of teamwork.
"Trying to find the football and throw it into that hoop was a little harder than I thought," said student Piper Marshall, one of four kids picked to participate.
Fellow student Jesse Olson was on Marshall's team and thought "it was fun, but I fell on my arm."
Elimimian, a nine-year veteran of the Lions, told a story of his best friend who went down the opposite path as himself based on a lack of goals and poor choices.
"Growing up in Los Angeles is tough. You get enamoured by the street life, a lot of distractions, whether it's money, things like doing drugs, selling drugs," said Elimimian, who went on to earn a full scholarship to play football at the University of Hawaii.
"I had a buddy who spent five years in prison for robbery. He wasn't a bad person, isn't a bad person, but made the wrong choices that landed him in prison. On the flip side of things, I made other choices, positive choices, going to class, working out, lifting weights to help me get to where I am today."
Lions offensive lineman Antonio Johnson says he would be in a much different place if he didn't start to make positive choices.
"I wasn't making great grades at the time [in high school] and I was hanging out with the wrong crowds, and somebody had to step into my life, my high school coach had to step into my life and tell me that the choices and people you're hanging out with are not good choices you're making. He woke me up to that and I started making better choices after that," said Johnson.
The students at the Kamloops School of the Arts feel they took away some good lessons.
"I think I learned the most that choices are everything," said student Linden Marshall. "One choice could lead you down a completely different, and I'm pretty sure if they didn't make the choices they made they wouldn't be where they are."
The Lions are at Brocklehurst Middle School on Tuesday and at Skeetchestn Community School on Wednesday.
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