Mt. A was “the best decision of my life”.
Eric Lapointe has a full resumé of records, awards, and trophies to his name, but you probably wouldn’t know it if you bumped into him on Bridge Street. Sporting a fresh Mount Allison Athletics pullover and a Boston Red Sox hat, Lapointe looks like he could still return to the gridiron and take a couple of snaps for the Montreal Alouettes. A true Mountie, The Argosy was able to talk to Lapointe about his time at Mt. A and in the Canadian Football League (CFL).
So why would someone of Lapointe’s calibre decide to attend Mt. A in tiny Sackville, New Brunswick to play football anyway?
“Football has changed quite a bit since then, there was no football program at Laval, Sherbrooke, we had to go somewhere else. A lot of Francophone’s were going to the Maritimes. Marc Loranger was the head coach here, and he was a francophone, and because I couldn’t say one word in English, I decided to go to a place where I could understand the head coach. When I came for a visit I fell in love with the place, it was the best decision of my life.”
Sporting his gigantic Montreal Alouettes Grey Cup ring from 2002, Lapointe said his time with the team wasn’t always enjoyable.
“I heard my coach say the only weakness we have is (Eric) Lapointe. It was a conversation I wasn’t suppose to hear. I wanted to quit, but my teammates wouldn’t let me. I came back and I started running after practice. I lost my job (as a) running back, but I was still on special teams. The Eastern Final, the starting running back got hurt and I took his spot. I ran for 115 yards and scored three times and we won. When I looked at that coach that told me that I was the weakness, he didn’t say anything. It was all worth it. It’s when you go through something that’s really bad and you don’t give up, it’s when you really enjoy it.”
Lapointe also talked about the differences between playing in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) and the CFL.
“Speed,” he said, “Everybody’s better, but blocking-wise I thought it was a lot better. The (defensive backs) are a lot faster, you go through the line and think you’re going (to run for) fifty yards, and you only get ten.”
In the interview, it was pretty obvious that Lapointe is a “all for one, one for all” kind of guy.
“I would have loved (to win) the Vanier Cup. The Hec Crighton was nice, but it was just you by yourself in Toronto. You’re alone,” Lapointe said. Winning the Hec Crighton was of course an individual accomplishment, so he wasn’t with his teammates.
“I was so jealous watching the teams playing in the Vanier Cup. I would have traded that trophy for a Vanier Cup any time and play that game with my teammates because they all deserve to be on the same podium.”
Now member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, as a Mt. A Mountie Lapointe spoke for over fifteen minutes about how much he enjoyed living in Sackville. The patrons talked about his touchdown celebrations by kneeling in the end zone and letting kids hug him when he scored. There wasn’t one bad thing said about Lapointe the entire Homecoming weekend. He is certainly one of Mount Allison’s favourite alumni, and will always be remembered by the new number five banner hanging above MacAulay Field.