After years of dedication, even sacrificing body and soul for their sport, many athletes are turning to the media when it’s time to retire. Their experience gives us a more human view of the sport that is not just about winnings, losses or stats. With the start of the football season, the Olympics are finally starting and football has found its supporters, I spoke with former players that allow us to better understand what is happening on the field.
Matthew Proulx spent his youth on the football fields. He played for four years in college football for Rouge et Or, then became a thief for the Alouettes from 2005 to 2010, the team with which he won two Gray Cups. It was quickly grabbed by the media.
“As a French-speaking player, I was often invited to comment on matches,” he recalls. When I retired I received proposals from all the media. ”
The athlete found himself destined to work in law, faced with a choice.
My grandfather was a judge. I always thought I was going to be a lawyer. At the time, I felt the need to ask for his blessing. I told myself I would keep paying my bar for five years to see where my media career had taken me. Matthew is an excellent speaker, analyst, and host at RDS.
Patrice Bernier was practically born with straps on his feet. His father, Jane, was recruited into the Quebec Pantheon Football Club as a builder. Patrice played football in the United States, for Syracuse University, before joining the Montreal Impact for the first time, then leaving for Europe. In 2011, he joined Impact again as he entered the team in MLS.
Photo courtesy Marc Dussault
Patrice Bernier will appear at CF Montreal matches on TVA Sports on July 31 at 7:30 pm, August 4 at 7 pm and August 8 at 7:30 pm.
“At the end of my career (in 2017), TVA Sports contacted me about several events,” he explains. And I found myself loving it. This year, he gave up his career as an assistant coach – to Montreal (the new name for the influence) to devote himself to match analysis at TVA Sports.
Experience for TV
Having been on the field, the former players carefully watch the matches, an experience that can only be learned through experience.
“I always take care when I use that word, but I say it brings credibility,” notes Matthew Proulx. The reliability of the experience. You understand things from the inside: the behavior of the team, the place of the players, the strategies. It is to give access to what we don’t know about the world of sports. “
“I’ve always been an analytical player,” explains Patrice Bernier. Sometimes we judge, we have an outside opinion. And being in these situations, even if every player is different, I can anticipate certain matches, certain decisions, certain reactions. “
But experience does not diminish the preparation required to deliver a good analysis. “During the week, before the match, I review stats, trends, balance of forces, characteristics that are not apparent at first glance, says Bernier. I become a researcher in your sport.”
“In preparation, some succeed and others fail,” notes Proulx, a media activist for ten years. To survive and succeed, you have to do your homework. Players and teams are different. Sports evolve. It’s not what it was five or ten years ago. The stats, game systems, philosophy, approach to young players and how to motivate them differ. “
Make it accessible and interesting
For ex-players, a regular media platform also helps set the record straight or divert the center of attention from the usual discussions.
“My sport, football, was stoned around 2010 because of a concussion problem,” says Mathieu—Proulx. Unfortunately, players are sometimes seen as reckless barbarians. We forget that the player is not only about his performance. My job is also to humanize and belittle it, to talk about a player as a whole, to make it accessible and valid, not to criticize an athlete who is revered for his performance. ”
Humanization is also a concern for Patrice Bernier, who also writes a column for TVA Sports. Because partisanship is severe sometimes.
“When fans say CF Montreal was not good, I prefer to point out where there is room for improvement and analyze encouraging iterations. There are many lessons to be learned from the loss.”
And when defeats make the masses a whore, does the function of communication become more urgent?
“We must not forget that the sports media and teams are business partners,” Mathieu says. We produce objective entertainment with a critical mind. You must be able to cover an event in a positive way. We’re not here to build a team, but we can tell what others have done well. There is a conscious effort to engage people and make them see more of the end result. I want Alouette to succeed, and I want to maintain a good relationship without ever deceiving the onlookers. “
Media field challenge
Being in front of the camera should become second nature when you dive into the world of media.
“There are a lot of things going on in my mind, and my biggest challenge is to put everything together, to focus on 2-3 items to convey, about the points that the audience should know. There is also a whole process of cameras that turns out to be a file a challenge. You have to know when to look where, but I’m used to that. I want to do well, to improve, to progress and to be the analyzer of what I was as a player, to be flexible and energetic. “
In addition to his work as an analyst, Matthieu Proulx hosts and interviews athletes at RDS. As a skilled communicator, his challenge is more about emotions as a former player receiving trust. “Separating the heart and head is hard sometimes. Especially when a player goes through a losing streak. I have a lot of sympathy. On the pitch, you are as good as your last performance. Every game is scrutinized and analyzed. It’s a lot of pressure. It has nothing to do with my role in the media. Although That I still have butterflies before the Gray Cup or the Super Bowl.”
Another sports career
Over the years, many athletes have made the leap into the media. Below are dozens of activities that are currently active.
- Dave Morissette, a former hockey player who became a pioneer in TVA and TVA Sports
- Étienne Boulay, a former football player who hosts TV, Radio (WKND) Shows and Podcasts
- latland clouds And Maxim Lapert, former hockey players analyzing Canadian matches on TVA Sports as well as creating the La pocket bleue brand (website, YouTube channel, podcast)
- Roslyn Fillion, a former diver writing for Sports on Radio (Radio Canada) as well as collecting feedback from athletes in swimming pools at the Olympics.
- Bruni Soren, a former sprinter who currently covers the Olympic Games
- Benoit HootA former Paralympian swimmer who is currently covering the Olympic Games
- Hassoun Kamara, ex-football player interviewer and commentator for Radio-Canada Sports
- Jacinthy Tylon, former synchronized swimmer, sports journalist and host on Radio Canada
- Helen Bidenolt, a former tennis player commenting on matches on RDS
- Pierre Firchfall And Bruno Hebel, ex-footballers who commented on matches on RDS
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