As a child, Anthony Calvillo absorbed himself in sport. Whether it be baseball, basketball, track and field or football, sport provided Anthony with an escape from a troubling home environment that was plagued by domestic violence and alcoholism.
He grew up in a tough neighborhood about 20-minutes from central Los Angeles and knew that choosing sport over a life of street gang crime was his only way out.
The natural gifts and abilities that Anthony possessed allowed him to thrive in sport, giving him the confidence needed to think bigger and have a dream of playing football at the college level. Through the support of important mentors in his life, Anthony knew that playing elite level sport was a way that he could have a better life.
The path he took led him to be the starting quarterback at Utah State. It was here at Utah State, where Anthony was mentored by his quarterback coach, Jim Zorn, the well-known left-handed QB who led the Seattle Seahawk offense for 8 seasons in the NFL. The outstanding success he had at Utah State led directly to a career in the CFL. Little did Anthony know it at the time but he would go on to play 20 seasons in the Canadian football League to become the league’s all-time leader in passing yardage at 79,816 yards, all-time leader in touchdowns thrown with 455 TD passes, He won Grey Cup championship 3 times and was voted the CFL’s most outstanding player 3 times which ties him for second behind Doug Flutie.
As you listen to this episode, you will hear firsthand from Anthony, the way he approached the game and the physical and mental preparation he committed himself to throughout his career to improve and get better each season. Anthony admits that at certain points in his career, he had to hold the mirror up to himself in order to identify exactly what he needed to focus on to continue to show up and be the best version of himself possible to help guide and lead the Montreal Alouettes to greatness in the CFL.
What defines Anthony the most in my opinion is not the records he holds, his Grey Cup wins, or his MVP awards, but more so his resilient spirit and his ability to overcome hardship and adversity in his life to carve out his own path of greatness. What we don’t talk about in this episode is the struggles that both he and his wife battled in overcoming cancer. This experience helped Anthony and his family to recognize what is most important in life- love, connection, and living with authenticity and purpose. The work that Anthony has done raising awareness about domestic violence is hugely important and he’s using his voice and platform to shed light on this issue in order to make a difference.
It’s rare that we can get such a glimpse into the mindset of a champion. So many lessons shared in this episode. I hope you enjoy it.
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