“Students are feeling higher levels are stress”
David Ménard found an original way to spend his days during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 30-year-old accepted a position as a supervisor at Collège Notre-Dame, located in the borough of Côte-des-Neiges in Montreal.
“This is a difficult context, especially for young people. Here at Collège Notre-Dame, we can see that students are feeling higher levels of stress than usual. They want to do all their activities, but they can’t because of the pandemic. It’s clipping their wings,” says the six-foot-one, 250-pound football player.
After spending six seasons with the British Columbia Lions, the Saguenay-native signed a contract with the Alouettes last February. The defensive lineman is now part of the team he rooted for as a child. In his years as a Montreal University Carabin, he experienced success with Danny Maciocia as his coach. Menard has the opportunity to work alongside Maciocia again, but this time, the latter is sitting in the General Manager’s chair.
“Danny’s presence played an important role in my decision to join the Alouettes. I was successful under his command, and we want to leverage what we built together. He’s quite an important figure in football, and I’ve heard some great things about coach Khari Jones. I’m very excited to come play here.”
Over his four years with the Carabins, Ménard was named three times to the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec’s (RSÉQ) All-Star team, and once on the All-Canadian Team (in 2010).
Working with the youth
Ménard loves his new position and has earned the students’ respect…even though high school students can be challenging to deal with at times. “These teenagers are nice even if they cross the line sometimes. They’re young, they’re learning. Who never slipped up once or twice when they were younger?” Ménard says laughing.
At Collège Notre-Dame, a high school renowned for its excellent football program and strong team, called “Les Cactus”, nobody knows who David Ménard is. He never talks about his status as an Alouettes player. “The students sometimes give me as much attitude as they would give any other supervisor”, he adds with a smile. But let’s bet that with David’s frame, the kids hold back from giving him too much of a hard time!
Since all collective sports have been halted due to the second wave of the pandemic, Ménard will not be able to get involved with the Cactus as much he would have liked to. “It’s a shame, but there’s always next year! I wanted to use my experience to guide these young footballers. We have no control over the situation.”
Although he won’t have the opportunity to mentor high school-level athletes this year, he still gets to use his experience to teach university students. On Mondays, he gives the “football” course to undergrads majoring in physical education at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. “It’s a long drive because I have to make my way to Chicoutimi and back to teach my class, but I love the experience. These students are extremely motivated.”
Another Alouette who’s making the best out of this difficult situation.