Here is a good story about a young man who wil never become a member of the CF due to a serious allergy to peanuts. I hope to see him playing the CFL some day, but only after Laurier loses to U of S this weekend.http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Football/NCAA/2005/12/01/1332915-cp.html
Pyear has high hopes
By SHI DAVIDI
HAMILTON (CP) - Last summer Ryan Pyear's application to join the Canadian Air Force was rejected because of a peanut allergy.
They're about to learn he doesn't give up easy. The Laurier Golden Hawks quarterback has two dreams: to play in the CFL and to fly a CF-18 fighter jet. With the former not looking likely, the 23-year-old is focusing on the latter.
And given the determination he's shown throughout his football career, success is not out of the question.
"I found out (about the rejection) when I was just going to practice so I didn't get all my questions answered," Pyear said Thursday. "I'm not exactly 100 per cent sure what I have to do to appeal it. But once the season's over - I don't want to even worry about anything other than football right now - then I'm going to start researching how it is I appeal it."
Pyear's at a point in his life where he has to make some decisions.
The first team all-Canadian's university football career ends Saturday when he leads the Golden Hawks into the Vanier Cup against the Saskatchewan Huskies (TV, 3 p.m. ET).
A few weeks later he'll graduate with a kinesiology and physical education degree, and in January he'll start a five-month stint playing professional football for Thonon-les-Bains in a domestic French league.
After that things are up in the air.
"Right now my plan is to be done with football when I come back," said Pyear. "I'd love to play in the CFL, I'd love to get a shot at it, at combine or whatever, but I just don't think that's in my cards.
"I have no intention of even trying as a quarterback because I'm short, I'm Canadian, my arm's not strong. I can admit that. As far as switching position, I'd love if someone took a chance on me, but that's what it would be - a chance."
His desire to join the air force is no mere whim.
A native of Belleville, Ont., the affable and easy-going Pyear grew up near CFB Trenton, spending hours watching Canadian jets streak through the sky. Two of his uncles served in the air force. He's a fanatic for military history programs on TV.
Pyear started thinking about the air force in 2002, when he suffered a torn ACL in Laurier's fourth game of the season and asked himself, 'What do you want to do with your life?'
"The one thing that popped into my mind was being a fighter pilot. I know I can be good at it, I'm very good at making quick decisions. Being a quarterback has definitely helped me with a lot of skills that would be useful being a pilot. Since then I've kind of been pursuing it."
He started the application process last year, taking the aptitude and medical tests plus going through the interview process. Then the peanut allergy came up and halted the process in its tracks over concerns Pyear might go into anaphylactic shock while eating rations.
With good reason, too.
His allergy was discovered when he was 1 1/2 and ate some of his brother's peanut butter sandwich.
"Instantly I just blew up, that was how they found out," said Pyear. "I was rushed to the hospital, I almost died, it was a pretty big deal. The doctor actually told my mom I was going to die. Obviously I didn't. . . .
"That's not something I'm worried about. I'll take care of that on my own, making sure that I don't get into a situation where I'm going to ingest some sort of peanut."
Just as he did in his football career, Pyear doesn't plan to take no for an answer.
At five-foot-11, 175 pounds, he has a bodyframe better suited for flag football than the physical game in Canadian university. From high school on, he's had to silence critics who said he was too small.
It's made him hungrier, culminating in a tremendous 2005 season during which he completed 116-of-174 passes for 1,666 yards, with 19 touchdowns against just four interceptions.
"Size has always been kind of an issue," he said. "But it's made me stronger mentally and made me want it more than the average person."
Laurier running back Nick Cameron says no one should question his toughness.
"On the football field he's the toughest kid I've ever met," said Cameron. "I've seen that kid get absolutely killed by the biggest defensive ends ever, pop back up without taking a second, blood all in his teeth, smiling at the defensive end letting him know that it's going to take a lot more than that to keep him down.
"That's what I love about the guy."
Pyear will have football for a few more months, when he settles into scenic Thonon-les-Bains, just south of Lake Geneva and only 40 minutes west of the Swiss border.
Recruited by former Bishop Gaiters coach Larry Legault, the offensive co-ordinator at Thonon-les-Bains, Pyear will get to tour France while playing and hopes to travel to Italy, Germany and Switzerland afterwards before coming home, hopefully as an air force recruit.
"Playing in France is something that I think will be a great experience," he said. "I've always wanted to travel after I'm done school and this is just a great opportunity to do that and get a little bit of money while you do it.
"It's something I'm really looking forward to."