A man on the move

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:07 AM ET

Every Monday, a Sun staffer gets to know a local sports figure a little better in Up Close. This week, Kirk Penton steps up to the line of scrimmage with Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive end Tom Canada.

The Sun: You just finished running after practice. Does this mean there's a new Tom Canada this year?

TC: There's nothing really super new. I have some different goals for this season, as far as my off-the-field, um, work. I want to try to spend a little more time in the weight room and a little less time chasing ... around the town.

TS: Chasing ... around the town? Was there a noun missing in that sentence?

TC: Chasing ladies around the town.

TS: You like the social life, and you like pro football. How tough is it to juggle the two?

TC: It's not. They kinda help each other out (laughs).

TS: Tell us about your upbringing?

TC: I was born into a military family. My dad, when he retired, was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army. So I grew up on base until I was about 12. We moved around. By the time I was 12 years old I had lived in nine different cities in eight different states. We lived on base in officer's quarters first, and then once my dad kind of moved up the ranks we started living wherever, but always close to base. It wasn't difficult for me. We enjoyed it, my family. It was cool for me, because every three years I could start over. So no matter how much I wrecked the town in three years, I always could kind of leave and start over. It taught me a lot of things. There were a lot of positives from it, and there were some negatives. When I finally settled down, a lot of the guys that I was hanging out with were friends since they were one year old. So playing sports and just going to school, you'd have these cliques of kids that knew each other for their whole lives, and I was the new kid. But I was used to it. I learned to be yourself in a new place, and hopefully it all works out.

TS: If you could play any other position, what would it be?

TC: Snapper.

TS: Why?

TC: Because I have a friend who plays snapper in the NFL, and he's frickin' rich, and he doesn't do s--- other than snap a football between his legs.

TS: You never had a buzz cut, even though you grew up in a military family?

TC: No.

TS: That's kind of odd.

TC: Well, they always say if you grew up in the military you turn into a liberal. My dad was a military man, but we didn't really have that kind of family. He was definitely stern and there was definitely some of that influence, but as far as the way we were brought up, I wasn't like ... you know. I'd say the only thing that the military transferred over would maybe be my work ethic. My dad, that's where I got my work ethic from.

TS: What is his name?

TC: Richard Canada. Actually it's Dr. Canada. Or when he was a captain, it was Captain Canada.

TS: How many sacks are you going to have this year?

TC: I don't know. My goal every year is 10. I always want to get to 10. So we'll see where it goes from there.

TS: You were a white water rafting guide in Honduras again this off-season. How close did you come to drowning?

TC: I didn't come close at all, but I had two customers that almost died. It was the scariest situation that I've ever been involved in. The raft flipped, and I jumped on top of the raft. The two people were in the water, and I couldn't find the guy. I thought he was gone. I grabbed the lady, tried to pull her up, and as I was pulling her up we smashed against a rock. She was in between the raft and the rock. She was not happy about that. And I couldn't find the guy. I'm like, 'It's done. I've finally killed someone.' But then I heard 'Ohhhh!' He was under the raft in an air pocket. So I'm reaching under the raft with my paddle, trying to get him to grab on to the paddle. He didn't speak English, so I'm trying to speak in Spanish. Everybody ended up all right, and I got a huge tip from them.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca

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