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Playing Pro Football Put Tom Pate Winner Glen Scrivener In A Position To Give Back

Glen Scrivener | Defensive Lineman | Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Alumni)

We like to say sports are good for kids because it builds character, I will also tell you that sports also exposes character. I believe I have witnessed it in its purest form and it's inspiring!

Glen Scrivener

Defensive Lineman

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Alumni)

× The interview with Glen Scrivener was conducted via a typed conversation. Editing changes were made to make it easier to read while maintaining the voice of the interview.

You had the opportunity to play under great coaches in the CFL, namely Dave Ritchie (in Winnipeg and BC) and Ron Lancaster (Edmonton). Talk about what these coaches taught you about leadership and how did they influence who you were as a player?

  • Dave Ritchie – he was old school. He believed in hard/physical training camps & practices. He felt that if he was a task master and his teams went through gruelling camps it would bring his team together.

    Dave also liked to push buttons / to motivate – he would tell you (us) about things that had been said both positive or negative to wind us up as both a team/individuals. It was much like Michael Jordan in the Last Dance – All Mike needed was the slightest bit of disrespect & he would use that to fuel himself.

    Dave blew a gasket one day & threw all of us off the practice field. I learned later it was a calculated tantrum. He felt he needed to make sure we were properly motivated to perform that week. Dave was a good coach and if you were one of his guys he was loyal to you as we were to him. I played hurt for Dave many times out of that loyalty.
  • Ron Lancaster – he was a player’s coach – He didn’t scream and yell. He didn’t have to mainly because we knew who he was (CFL ICON). Ron would talk when he felt he needed to and we listened. There were no big pregame speeches – he was a man of few words.

    Edmonton traded for me with BC and when you get to a new team it’s awkward for a while. In my first home game, he walks in right before we are to go out and the room goes quiet. While he was looking around, our eyes met. He says “Scriv you ready to go?” I affirmed my readiness with determination. He stayed totally quiet, then he smiles and says “Well then let’s go!”

    That was Ronnie – competitive but cool as a cucumber. Wish I had had more time to get to know him.

You were a Grey Cup champion with the BC Lions in 1994, which was the first to feature a Canadian team vs an American team. What did that game mean for you in terms of its impact on Canadian pride in the CFL?

​That was at a time where there was a push to do away with the Canadian ratio (10 -12 players on a team at the time). There was HUGE pressure to not go down in history as the 1st Canadian team to lose the Grey Cup on home soil at BC Place.

We had an All-Canadian D-Line that year. It included Andrew Stewart from Toronto (U of Cincinnati), Dave Chaytors from Calgary (U of Utah), Doug Petersen from Charlie Lake, BC (Simon Fraser) and myself from Winnipeg (William Jewell). We were basically a measuring stick for how Canadian’s stack up against Americans from big US programs.

I felt we were playing for every Canadian kid who had dreams of one day playing in the CFL. If we lost the US Owners/GM’s/ Coaches would have the upper hand. That there weren’t enough quality Canadian players to field competitive teams. However, I am very thankful that we won the game as it put that argument to rest. 

In ‘96 all four of us defensive lineman were split up. I knew it was the end of a very special time & went out and had my right biceps circled with a tattoo of red maple leaves to honour our time together.

I wanted there to be no doubt when I played that I was indeed a Canadian kid – from Winnipeg out there front & center. I was competing against the boys from the big US programs and excelling. I wanted the kids all over the country to see us and say if he/they can do it so can I!

You were the winner of the Tom Pate Memorial Award which is granted to a player who shows outstanding sportsmanship and has made a significant contribution to his team, community and Association. What did it mean to win this award?

I was shocked when I won this award and really didn’t see it coming.

When I was 8 my dad was able to request two Bombers to come & hand out awards at our River Heights football banquet. Lyle Woznzinski & Merv Walker – it was the coolest thing ever. Then again when I was 15 at my Fort Garry football banquet we had Bobby Thompson & Joe Poplawski hand out awards.

On the drive home I was gushing about those two and my dad said to me, “If you are ever in that position make sure you give back to your community.” I don’t think my dad knew I was going to play pro ball at that time. He was just using it as a teachable moment, and it has resonated with me to this day.

I am a dyslexic kid who struggled in the school system, I was told by my junior high guidance councillor that I wouldn’t graduate from HS. That my dream to play pro ball was a pie in the sky dream. As a result, I developed a chip on my shoulder & a huge heart – so when it comes to underdogs I understand because to this day that’s what I see when I look in the mirror.

So what does this have to do with the Tom Pate award? Well, I spend my time with kids mostly who have faced various challenges in life. These kids honestly did more for me than I think I did for them.

They are the ones who grind every day of their lives – it really puts things into perspective when you are with them. I can honestly say my favorite stories from my playing days are not the typical football stories you would expect.

To this day the best thing I have ever been a part of was a Cancer kids ski weekend in BC and Special Olympics in Winnipeg.

What is the most inspiring experience you had from your work in the community?

My #1 story from my playing days is from Special Olympics as the snowshoe racing event. There was one boy who was a man among boys. He was a stand-out during floor hockey and liked the Oilers so I nicknamed him Moose just like Mark Messier. He had a big grin.

The last event of the day is snowshoe racing, everyone is participating in their heats to qualify for nationals. The last one of the day has all the previous winners in the championship heat. Moose has already won and qualified for nationals, but he has a chance to set a provincial time record if he hustles this last race.

Kids are all at the start line and the gun goes off. Moose is flying into the first corner of the 400-meter track that’s laid out. All eyes are on him, people cheering him on and suddenly he stops dead in the second turn.

Everyone is yelling “keep going, what are you doing, keep going!”. Back on the 1st turn is a little girl who crossed her snowshoes and fell face first to the ground. Her parents are on the side of the track telling her to get back up and keep going because if they help her she is disqualified.

So there she sits crying, hurt, embarrassed and demoralized. Remember Moose? That kid stopped his record-setting pace, came back around the track and picked her up. He put her on her feet and snowshoes, took her arm under his and they finished the race together – at her pace. Not a dry eye at that event, including my own.

Moose showed all of us that day what sportsmanship and team is really all about. He gave up on his personal glory to go back and help another. It was truly outstanding. To this day it has left an indelible mark on my soul.

We like to say sports are good for kids because it builds character, I will also tell you that sports also exposes character. I believe I have witnessed it in its purest form and it’s inspiring!

How do you carry your passion for helping community with your current day work with the Winnipeg Blue Bomber Alumni Board of Directors?

I am on the Winnipeg Rifles Junior Football Team board, Blue Bomber Alumni, & coach both of my son’s flag football teams. I also coach the D-Line for both JV & Varsity High School football teams at Dakota Collegiate. So if it’s FB related I guess I’m part of it.

My dad used to say if you see something that needs to be fixed, don’t be upset and moan about it like others, do something! My dad’s voice is still in my head even though he has passed on. I have taken his words to heart and have started to improve the football infrastructure here in WPG.

Last year we built an endzone film tower at DCI to film our games. This has been very helpful from both a teaching and recruiting perspective. I can honestly say we have the best field turf and film in the WHSFL. I am currently on another committee to have the Rifles/Mustangs shared field revamped with artificial turf. The pile has been poured and is in place which will have its endzone film tower bolted in place this spring.

One of my favorite quotes is: ​“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion”. I hope our Scrivener Family examples in the community will inspire others to improve things as well.

Who are three teammates that were your biggest inspirations for displaying sportsmanship, commitment and leadership and what was it that they did that made them inspirational?

  • Kent “THE WARRIOR” Warnock – He was THE Canadian defensive lineman (Calgary Stampeders) in the CFL at one time. I was given film to watch on him when I was a rookie in Saskatchewan. I had the luck to have him as a teammate in BC, he very graciously worked with me and taught me during our season together. It changed me, made me better and I will never be able to repay him for that. I still use his examples/ moves with the kids I coach today. Proud to call him my mentor!
  • Brad Elberg – This guy is the poster boy for the ALL CANADIAN BOY! Brad is from Regina so he’s a good prairie boy like myself. He played high school in Regina then  somehow got himself to Queen’s. He turned himself into a starting running back for the Gaels, won the Vanier Cup and was the MVP of the game. He faced some adversity  after being drafted in the CFL and eventually ends up with me in Winnipeg.

    He reinvents himself as a Safety, we become fast friends and eventually he moves in with us for the rest of his career in WPG. Brad saved his cash during the season and went back to Queen’s every offseason to put himself through law school! At every turn, Brad has set goals and worked in a dogged fashion until they were achieved. Brad is a DRIVEN individual and I am proud to say one of my best friends.
  • Russ Arman – TE College Roommate – Russ is another role model in my life. He is the 3rd child in a family of 4 – but in reality, he is the big brother in his family. He stepped up and took over the family business when his father was dying. He has grown the business and even expanded it by adding financial planning. He looks after his mom, brothers & sister as well as his own family of 4. He has been my friend ever since we were rookies at Moorehead State in the fall of 1995.

    We were first together in overflow housing sleeping in a lounge in a dorm as we had no rooms of our own. We used to butt heads each day at practice & then became lifting partners and room dogs. Our love for hunting/fishing, good food & family made us instant friends. Russ & I have even passed our friendship down to our sons. We drive down each October to pheasant hunt with them in North Dakota. It is something we all look forward to each year.

Matias Bueno Matias's Final Thoughts

It was truly inspiring to speak with Winnipeg Blue Bomber Alumnus and Tom Pate Memorial Winner Glen Scrivener. He is a kind-hearted man and sets a great example of what it means to be a leader in your community through his volunteer work in Winnipeg. His stories from working with kids from different backgrounds are heartwarming. The lessons he learned from his teammates that he has instilled in his coaching today are invaluable to those who are fortunate to be coached by him. I have had the fortunate opportunity to know him through a close friend that Glen coached. The values he has learned through work in the community have translated well from being a defensive lineman. Glen shows that there is much to be learned about life through doing work in the community, and that football is a great vehicle for this. 

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