Ese Mrabure on the Power of Mentorship and How He Is Giving it Back
Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down with Ese Mrabure, Defensive Lineman with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. At 6’3” I’m used to feeling larger than average, sitting across from this guy though, I feel small. Just his size alone commands a certain presence, but what sets him apart really, is his work ethic, which is practically contagious. Speak to him for ten minutes and it quickly becomes clear that it isn’t just by chance that he is playing his sport at the professional level. It’s his attitude, his energy, which tipped me off that there is something we can learn from him.
Revival is invested in addressing the depression which leads to hundreds of Canadians taking their own lives, we thought, what better way to further our mission then by looking to someone whose positive mentality has taken him so far. Mrabure has faced setbacks and challenges just as we all have, however, by talking to him the hope was to uncover some of the clues to what occurs behind the scenes in the life of someone pursuing their dream.
The first question I asked Ese was how he set himself apart from the thousands of teens with professional football ambitions, who had to hang up their cleats after grade 12.
“The work ethic that my parents, mentors, and people I look up to instilled in me,” said Mrabure after a short pause.
Now this is something we are used to hearing from successful people. They are quick to share the credit with those around them. Is it possible though, that a big part of his ability to get so far has been a result of building himself such a powerful support network?
“With all my mentors, there is one aspect similar through all of them, and that’s that they are very hard working people, which is something they always preached to me.”
Mrabure went on to explain that his close family friends, Henoc @HenocMuamba and Cauchy @cauchymuamba Muamba had been there for him since day one, from high school, to the CIS, to the CFL, they had both been there before, and were able to share their knowledge with him. It’s through our mistakes we learn what works. It appears that he was able to learn from any mistakes they made, without having to make them himself. This is the beauty of having a mentor, they help provide great direction and know what works. In this case they hammered into him that hard work is a recipe for success, and answered any questions he had.
Will you ever be satisfied?
“No, and that’s all part of the process, the second you become satisfied the next person is up right behind you ready to take your job.”
How do you respond to the expression ‘There’s always going to be someone bigger, faster, and meaner than you’?
“The only way to respond to that is to tell them, that may be true, but nobody is going to outwork me. At the end of the day that’s more valuable than size speed and talent… hard work”
We all have that one thought, one thing that keeps us going when things seem the hardest, what’s yours?
“I always just think back to the off-season. During the off season there are always times where you’d wanna give up, where your training regiment is just completely insane. Especially when I was working out with coach Cannon. So I’ll look back to how tired I was then, and then think about how tired I am now. Nine times out of ten I’m thinking, ‘alright cool, well I’ve definitely been more tired before so I can definitely push through this.’”
Once again he mentioned a mentor, this time it was Coach Anthony Cannon @IDFFL, they met when Cannon coached him at Laurier, and ever since then Mrabure and Cannon work together in the off season, always striving for greatness.
With all the talk about how important mentors are it’s not surprising he is also giving back. Mrabure coaches younger players now and even has a separate Instagram account, dedicated to sharing tips and advice for young football players wanting to better their game @egawdalmighty. This makes me think of what Ray Lewis famously said,
"With all the things I've been through, the No. 1 thing that I've learned is that we're supposed to help people through this world."
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Photo Credit: Thomas Emptage