Winnipeg Blue Bombers Demerio Houston and Thiadric Hansen visited Portage la Prairies Rotary Republic of Manitobah Park Tuesday to teach the communities young football players the ins and outs of being a professional athlete.
Luke Irwin, Vice President of the Portage Pitbulls, says the organization was delighted to have the opportunity to have the two Grey Cup Champions out for a practice session.
"I love to give back to the community, especially little kids. Because I was once in their shoes when I was young," says Houston.
From Shelby, North Carolina, 26-year-old Demerio Houston is a big deal in the CFL. Currently, the defensive back leads the league in interceptions and explains that while he grew up idolizing NFL players, he knows the dreams of these young football players are the same as the ones he had.
"I just want them to chase their dreams and just dream big."
45-YARD PICK 6 FOR DEMERIO HOUSTON! pic.twitter.com/aKS9jNZkKP— TSN (@TSN_Sports) August 19, 2023
Houston says mixing things up and working on his throwing arm during the practice session was a highlight for him.
"I play defence, but we ran routes with the kids. Some of them got to tackle us, and I just enjoy playing football with them because, at the end of the day, it's a kids game."
The other member of the Blue and Gold in attendance, Thiadric Hansen, a 30-year-old from Flensburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, says that he hopes these minor football players were energized from their stop in Portage.
"I've been doing coaching over the winter here and also in Europe, I'm coaching there too during the winter time, so it is definitely something I would think of doing for myself in the future."
Irwin, the Vice President of the Pitbulls for the last five years, explains that this visit was an honour.
"It's awesome that the Bombers are coming to these rural areas. It's huge for these kids to actually see the players in person, and it really gets them excited about their future in football."
Irwin notes that Houston and Hansen worked on the basics with the young athletes throughout the session, something he thinks they will remember for the rest of their football careers.
The Pitbulls will get the chance to see some pro football later this week when they attend Winnipeg's IG Field for the Bombers Thursday Night Football matchup against the Montreal Alouettes.