sports | November 25, 2012

Teamwork Wins Games: Michael Pinball Clemons' Classic Pep Talk

"Every time [Michael Pinball Clemons] comes to practice, we win," Toronto Argonaut coach Scott Milanovich said in a recent interview. Perhaps then, the CFL team can attribute a part of their Grey Cup win against the Calgary Stampeders to the rousing pep-talk that Clemons, a former superstar player, coach, CEO and Vice-Chair of the team, gave before the 100th annual game this past weekend. As he has said in his powerful speeches in the past, winning is all about teamwork and working together to achieve greatness.He told the players on the field at a pre-Grey Cup practice that winning would require that they, "be a family and lean on each other in the CFL championship game." His message strongly resonated with all of the players. Quarterback Ricky Ray notes that Clemons does, "a good job of getting us focused and pumped up and ready to go," while coach Milanovich said that Clemons always has a "standing invitation to speak to the team."

Clemons played for the Argos for 12 seasons and won Grey Cups in 1991, 1996 and 1997. Standing at 5 feet 6 inches and weighing 170 pounds, he may not seem like the poster-child for football greatness. However, Clemons broke down stereotypes in his career and smashed records throughout the course of his time in the game—and inspired others to do the same. He later went on to win a fourth championship as the head coach of the team and said that winning as a coach was "like winning 42 times at once." Comments like that further cement his undying commitment to community and his belief in the power of team work. His public speeches are emotional and inspiring. He speaks to the importance of putting your whole heart into everything you do, and tells his rapt audiences that they can achieve anything they put their minds to—as long as they work hard enough. He is selfless with his time and is committed to inspiring people—especially youthe—to overcome adversity and achieve their dreams.