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Published on Thursday, December 14, 2017

Declan Cross visits with Grey Cup

Holy Trinity alum brings the Grey Cup to town to share the joy

Declan Cross visits with Grey Cup
Photo by Nikki Wesley — Oakville Beaver
Oakville mayor Rob Burton was among the people who stopped by to congratulate Declan Cross as he brought the Grey Cup to Holy Trinity Wednesday morning
By Herb Garbutt, Oakville Beaver

Declan Cross was scheduled to pick up the Grey Cup Wednesday morning, but when the Toronto Argo fullback found out the trophy was going to be sitting in the team office overnight, he made his way into the city.

When team president and CEO Michael Copeland brought the Grey Cup out of a meeting, Cross was there waiting. He had a full day’s worth of activities planned with the Grey Cup Wednesday, but he wasn’t about to pass up a minute with the century-old trophy.

So Tuesday afternoon, he rode home to Oakville on the GO Train with the Grey Cup in tow. It sat on the table as he ate dinner and it was perched next to him as he watched a movie — fittingly, Friday Night Lights.

The next morning, after listening to him speak to students at Holy Trinity, where he was a two-way force on the football team as well as the class valedictorian, it became clear that Cross’ forethought to check on the Cup’s availability wasn’t just a one-time thing.

“You always have to be prepared,” he the students. “The worst thing you can do is not prepare. You never know when an opportunity is going to come your way, and when it does, you have to be prepared.”

His extended time with the Grey Cup allowed him to take the Grey Cup to Tiercon, an auto parts manufacturer in Stoney Creek where his dad works, before visiting Holy Trinity.

“They’re all die hard Ticat fans,” Paul Cross said. “I’m sure it killed them to see an Argo with the Grey Cup.”

Maybe, but not enough to temporarily halt production while they took pictures. Cross also stopped by a local vet clinic, visited Santa at Oakville Place before wrapping up the day with a celebration with family and friends at Jack Astor's.

Though Cross didn’t decide on pursuing a pro football career until his third year at McMaster, he had been preparing for it since he arrived at Holy Trinity as a scrawny 105-pound Grade 9. When he got pushed around in his first year of football, he sought out advice on what he needed to do to get better.

Whatever tips he got, he took them to heart. When he was told hydration was important, he started carrying around a three-litre water jug wherever he went.

He started an off-season training group with friends before coaches even required them.

By his final year of high school, Cross tipped the scales at 210 and was the one pushing people around on the field. He was the team’s top rusher on offence and led the team in sacks on defence.

Declan Cross of the Toronto Argos brought the Grey Cup back to his former high school, Holy Trinity, where he posed for a picture with football coaches (from left) Domenic Ragonetti, Gino Camilletti and Coach Joe Moscato.

Photo by Nikki Wesley — Oakville Beaver

“He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached,” said Holy Trinity coach Joe Moscato. “Coming here and sharing his success and some great words of wisdom, he can inspire these kids to do something great.”

“It’s good to see our school sending people to the CFL,” said Kristian Milford, a linebacker on Trinity's senior football team. “I’m still not sure what I want to do after high school, but hearing him, it gives me hope that I can do it too.”

Though Cross wasn’t planning on being a pro football player, he said his preparation allowed him to play in his first season with McMaster. He was also ready when the opportunity arrived to play in the East-West Bowl and to show his skills at the CFL combine.

He made enough of an impression that the Argos drafted him in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. Again, his training helped him earn a spot on the Argos roster right away.

“In high school, I didn’t know I wanted to be a professional football player, but I prepared as if I was. I just wanted to be the best at whatever I did,” Cross told the students. “The habits you need to build, you start them here. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to be a doctor or play football. This is the training ground for what’s next.”

And though the Argos faced long odds against the Calgary Stampeders in the Grey Cup, their preparation paid off with a 27-24 win. Wednesday, Cross got to savour every minute of the reward for always being ready for the next challenge.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News

Tags: Oakville Town Council

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