“Financial Consultant for Professional Athletes” at LPL Financial in Las Vegas, NV
Professional Football High-School Magee, Vancouver College Junior College Golden West JC for 2 years, Huntington beach University of Utah Saskatchewan Roughriders '83-'96
My name is Ray Elgaard. I am a retired ex-pro from the Canadian Football League (59 years young now). Like all young athletes who strive for excellence in their sport, I experienced the usual highs and lows, and “check your game” moments. Through it all, I was one of a very few who actually reached the point of making a living from my skills, and enjoyed a long and productive pro career. The “Check Your Game” moment that I would like to share is one that we ALL face, whether we make it to the pro’s or not. Transition away from a sports life – to a real life. That moment is the slap-in-the-face discovery that the rest of the world does not operate like sports and people do not interact the way they do in a dressing room. For me, that moment was set up when I retired and relocated from a city and a country where I had achieved athletic notoriety, and was treated with reverence by the others humans I came into contact with – to an unfamiliar urban environment in a foreign country, where I had no connections, networks, associates, etc. In that environment, you have to cobble together a new existence without the assistance of your athletic notoriety. In other words – nobody gives a crap! Sports is a great environment for developing skills helpful in the real world. Hard work, team approach, toughness, preparation, etc. But it is also an environment that breeds some other less attractive traits like bad language, arrogance, and entitlement. As well, sports is a field where the strong survive. Results are quantifiable and winners and losers are measured by defined criteria. Stronger / faster / more points / etc etc. In the real world, it is ambiguous traits like your personal social skills, brains and decorum. Being a successful and strong person, with a young family to feed, I was forced to figure it out fast and retrain myself to be a winner in the real world. I had to “Check My Game”.
My advice to all athletes is to keep your head in the game beyond sports. If you’re a bigshot high school kid – so what! High school ends and then guess what – nobody gives a crap about the big game 10 years ago. And if you acted like a prick in that environment to the other people around you – good luck. You might be working for one of those losers someday. If you’re a college scholarship athlete, same story. Prepare for sports to not work out for you, use university to prepare for the afterlife (Don’t forget that they are using you too), and treat people with respect and kindness. The folks that you meet along the way may be people who can be helpful to you in life. Ditto for a pro athlete. Whether making millions or not, strive to be a good human. Someone that people actually root for away from the field. Use your fame and fortune to make the world a better place. THAT is what matters and that is what people will remember about you. Good luck to all.
Ray, I wish I would've been around you for the entire 13 years that you played with the Saskatchewan Roughriders as you might have gotten me to think about my future a bit sooner. I am thankful though that I played a few years with you and have some vivid memories of you on the football field (wearing your glass cutters), to watching you play crib almost every day at your locker. You were a great player and one that was a physical force against defensive back as well as linebackers. Your years as playing football in Saskatchewan will always be remembered as well in all of Canada. In fact, in 2006 you were voted one of the CFL's Top 50 players! You were that good, but as your message states, players better think about life after football before it's over. Your message is great and obviously you are passionate about helping athletes' futures as you continue to work with professional athletes with their financial plan still today. Thanks for sharing your story and advice and hopefully one day I'll give you a chance to try to beat me in Crib (we only played once and I won. Total luck btw). Gary Rogers