How does he keep doing it? Every year, the demise of Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo is predicted by someone, somewhere. Every year, he keeps proving the pundits wrong.
Not many athletes his age can lead their teams, or the league they play in, the way Calvillo does. After seven games in 2012, he’s on top of the CFL passing standings with 2,328 yards. That’s 153 yards ahead of the man he faces on Thursday, Henry Burris of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Add to that 17 touchdowns (second in the league) against only six interceptions and that’s the performance of a master.
Thursday is also the day Calvillo turns 40 years old. He’s not as distracted by it as you would think.
“Turning 30 was the milestone for me,” Calvillo said in an interview. “It bugged me. I felt like I was getting so much older and it bothered me. Turning 40 is no issue. Looking at the big picture, playing at 40’s pretty amazing.”
Especially if you’re still at the height of your powers as Calvillo appears to be. After 19 years in the league, the last 15 of those in Montreal, he manages to maintain an air of confidence and inclusion that permeates the locker room and beyond.
“I’m so truly appreciative to be hanging around him. He’s helped me grow as a person and as a coach because of my association with him,” said Marc Trestman, who has been the Alouettes’ head coach for the past four seasons. “He’s created an environment in the locker room that players would very much like to be a part of. We’re just trying to appreciate every minute of it.”
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Just this week, he was fined by the league for attempting to trip Eskimos cornerback Rod Williams during an interception runback last week; the league did not disclose the fine publicly, but it was believed to be around $500.
It isn’t much of a present for a guy who has brought so much to his team and to the league, but the important part was that Montreal ended up beating Edmonton 38-25 and extended their winning streak to a modest two games. They’ll stretch it to three if they can beat the Ticats on Thursday.
Win or lose, though, one thing is certain: Calvillo still loves to play a game he’s been involved with since the age of five. That’s enough of a victory for a formerly skinny kid from east Los Angeles who is becoming a legend north of the border.