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Richard Lewis
[1968]

School: Grant

Sports Played: Football, Basketball, Baseball, Track and Field

High School Honors: Two active athletic years yielded six letters, two each in football and baseball, one each basketball and track. 1st team PIL and All-State linebacker, junior and senior. 1st team All-PIL basketball, senior.

Post High School Career: Portland State BS in Health & PE; football, All-Conference. National Football League, Houston, New York, and Buffalo; Toronto Argonauts, Canadian Football League. Worked for Toronto Parks and Recreation. Established Toronto Gospel Center. Active in Goals for Youth Program and other community based organizations. Managed Toronto Board of Trade's Client Visitation Dept., a local business network.

Commentary:

At Portland State University, I attracted the attention of the National Football League and in 1972, began an eight year career in Professional Football. As an NFL Linebacker, I occupied starting positions with the Houston Oilers, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets. In 1976, I was recruited by the Canadian Football League and continued my football career with the Toronto Argonauts until the conclusion of the 1979 season when I announced my retirement from the sport.

In 1983, post football career, I received ministerial ordination and was lead to establish the Toronto Gospel Centre where the ministry focused on spiritual training and family and youth counseling. In addition was the implementation of World Relief & Development Network to provide assistance worldwide to victims of war, famine and natural disaster. Included in my professional bio is President and Founder of Goals for Youth Canada a program teaching youth how to identify, set and work to achieve their goals. The program was inspired and introduced through the NFL Players Association.

My reflection on the inspiration of athletics in my life empowered me in many ways. Growing up in Portland, Oregon was also inspiring due to our family structure in which both of my parents had fathers who were ministers. I learned to pray, to expect things to happen by faith and to have confidence that God was with me. Prayer was a necessary ritual prior to games.

My mother played piano in the church and always encouraged our family to be confident in our ability to succeed. My father inspired confidence in my ability to play sports and was clearly the best coach and mentor any son could have. Through high school and university, I had coaches who inspired me to perform at a high level and this was demonstrated and confirmed through their support and confidence in selecting me as the starter for the position I played.

There are many people that touched my life and believed in me before I knew my potential to succeed in sports; perhaps one of my greatest motivators through their encouragement with words of confidence in me. Knowing that others recognize your gifts and talents, gives one confidence and support. I realized that I was not alone in this journey of life.

Sports became an anchor and game changer in my life. Many life lessons were experienced and learned from athletic training. To this day, I reflect with gratitude on the training that I received which in turn increased my mental and physical stamina and encouraged me to reach my goals. I was able to pass these life lessons on to my own children.

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