A year ago, Georges Laraque was still the heavyweight champ of the NHL. That was then... and now, Georges is spreading good karma and good deeds about as far and wide as you could imagine. Ever since Georges left the CH I've been following his activities with interest and no small measure of admiration.
In fact, I blogged about it when he took on the Green Party co-deputy leader posting, which was not that long ago. Then recently, I started following @bgl27 on Twitter, and it gives you another perspective on the type of commitment that he gives. It is non-stop, intense and interesting in the sense that Georges is pretty much learning on the job in his new roles. Not to mention that he needs to worry about making a profit on some of this stuff!
Just to name a few of his causes and endeavors, first and foremost there is the huge effort he has given to the Haitian relief operation.
Then there's his vegan restaurants, Crudessence, his campaigning against cruelty to animals, involvement in fitness, and support of many other charitable causes in Edmonton and Montreal. Then he jumps into politics with both feet as a co-deputy leader of the Green Party. And that's not to mention several business or investment projects, most of which are also consistent with big Georges' favourite causes.
Georges wouldn't be the first athlete to devote himself to making the world a better place. A few outstanding Canadian examples include Steve Nash, Bob Gainey and Clara Hughes. Most or virtually all professional athletes do have their charitable causes but few become known for their charitable work.
Someone like Georges Laraque, who has both the inclination and the larger-than-life persona to take on major game-changing charitable enterprises, could go a long, long way.
How far can he go with it? Only time will tell for sure of course, but a lot of it will depend on the support he can get from the grass roots. Desire, good will and charisma can take you a long way. At a certain point, you need to build across networks of people. I could think of a dozen things right off the top of my head that Georges could lead...
* a major push for proportional representation in Parliament
* complete reforestation for Haiti
* eco-friendly urban habitat constructions
* green and fitness-oriented transportation infrastructure
* found a northern university to study sustainable coexistence with the Arctic
* DIY geothermal heating systems
* etc. etc.
All to say, Georges has had a few months of real sound achievements and, with help, the sky is the limit for this guy.
How to Have the Courage to Follow Your Beliefs