Toronto Argonauts' safety Matt Black made a triumphant return to his alma mater Northern SS recently and brought along a good friend. The hometown favourite had the Grey Cup with him as he visited his old stomping grounds.
"This is where my dreams of playing pro football started," said Black. "I wanted to bring the Grey Cup back, first to thank all the coaches and teachers that supported, encouraged, and pushed me to set ambitious goals, and gave me the tools to achieve them, and second, to show the students that if you dream big and work your butt off dreams really do come true.”
Black attended Northern from 1999 and graduated in 2005. He was a multi-sport athlete, playing football, rugby, track and field, baseball and was also a member of the school's Boys' Athletic Association (BAA). In 2004, he was selected the Male athlete of the year. He also received the Harry Jerome Award for excellence in Athletics. After Northern, he went to Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan, where he was a gridiron standout and was subsequently drafted by the Toronto Argonauts in 2008.
In a way, it was a homecoming for the Grey Cup too. Since it has become the symbol of Canadian football supremacy, the championship game for the cup has been played in Toronto 46 times. And the Toronto Argonauts team has won the cup more than any other team.
Black showed off the Grey Cup and talked to students about motivation, an important character trait that can help young people succeed in whatever they endeavour. He also spoke to students about the power of sport, the importance of dreams, the value of goal setting, and lessons that come from making mistakes and remaining focussed.
Principal Ron Felsen said it was a powerful message to students. "His accomplishments have come as a result of a commitment to values such as education, family and hard work."
The 2012 edition of the Northern Red Knights did Black and all current and former students proud. The senior boys won the TDSB city championship while the juniors made it to the finals.