Every Monday, a Sun staffer gets to know a local sports figure a little better in Up Close. This week, Derek Jory goes mano-a-mano with a man of the cloth, Bombers linebacker Barrin Simpson.
The Sun: You're an ordained minister, how big a role does religion play in your life?
Simpson: It plays a major role. Basically it sets the boundaries of my life for the lifestyle that I try to live. My faith also plays a big role in how I play the game, trying to do everything to the glory of God and to bring him praise.
TS: When and how did you first start exploring your religion?
BS: When I turned 19, football was the reason why I did everything right, it's what kept me out of trouble growing up, then I got injured and I kind of lost football. When you lose something that's real important to you, you start to question what to do now. So I turned towards God to get a higher sense of purpose in my life rather than playing football. When I asked Christ to be my Lord and saviour and come into my heart and live life with me, my life just completely changed, it turned around.
TS: You're studying to become a certified trainer, why does that interest you?
BS: That's a passion of mine, I love to train people and prepare people, I guess it's been in me because in ministry you're a teacher and a personal trainer is too. I love football, I've been around it since I was 6 years old, so it gives me a chance to not only train somebody else for football and teach them how to play the game, but also teach them the business of the game like how to carry yourself as a professional.
TS: Which Blue Bomber needs you as their personal trainer the most?
BS: I can't say Matt Sheridan anymore, he's dropped 50 pounds. I'm pretty proud of Matt. I can't really think of anyone, I'd have to say mostly me.
TS: I heard you're a big video game guy, that true?
BS: Me and the guys will get into the Madden tournaments, boxing tournaments or fight night. It's a way to pass time and have some camaraderie. Every football player plays Madden, better believe.
TS: Who's your team when you play Madden?
BS: I'm an underdog person, I like the team that's not so good but has good players so this year it'll probably be the Raiders.
TS: What system do you play on?
BS: I got a PS3. Most guys like the Xbox but I'm a Playstation guy.
TS: Back in the day would were you playing Nintendo or Sega?
BS: Nintendo. I love Nintendo.
TS: What's your favourite classic Nintendo game?
BS: Tecmo Bowl. That's the most classic game of all times, then I would have to say Contra.
TS: I read you enjoy shopping, most guys won't admit that, does it just come with the territory of having two daughters?
BS: As a youngster we kind of grew up on the poor side so we didn't get to do as much shopping as we would have liked. I just like to shop, I don't know. My wife also likes to shop so it gives us some time together, only once a year though, I have to tell her to put the cards down. You know, women love to shop, I like to shop, she loves to shop. Plus having two girls you've gotta like shopping.
TS: You get the opening you want and you take down the quarterback for a big sack, do you have a celebration ready to go?
BS: It's usually just spontaneous, it depends on how the game is going I guess. I'm always excited jumping around and screaming, but I don't really have a sack dance or a planned dance like some of the guys around the league do. I just try to hop around and do something crazy to get the crowd into it.
TS: What is something that not a lot of people know about you?
BS: I would love to learn how to play the piano. I've always wanted to play the piano or the keyboard; I always wanted to have some type of musical talent. I'd love to learn to play the guitar too, I love guitar but I can't play it.