How did Anthony Calvillo end up as Als’ jersey No. 13?

An ‘unlucky’ number brought good fortune, he tells Souvenir Elementary

The number 13 turned out to be very lucky for Anthony Calvillo. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

Thirteen is not a number you usually associate with good luck – and certainly not with the sort of positive fortune it might take to prosper as a professional football player for 20 years, knowing that the average major league player’s career is around four years.

Not so unlucky

So, how is it that No. 13, which is now among the jersey numbers officially retired by the Als as a permanent tribute to one of their greatest players, is the number Anthony Calvillo was assigned at the beginning of his career with the team?

As Calvillo told grade five and six students at Souvenir Elementary School in Chomedey where he gave a talk last week, he was in grade ten and part of a high-school football team while living in the U.S. state of California as a teen.

Luck of the draw

When jersey numbers were being assigned and his turn came around, the only number left between 0 and 20 turned out to be number 13. “Nobody wanted the number,” he admitted to the Souvenir Elementary students, while adding that he was left with little choice but to choose number 13.

“And since then, it’s just been with me every single place where it’s been available,” said Calvillo, noting that his partiality for the number just grew. “People think it’s an unlucky number, but it’s been very good for me.”

Financially-rewarding career

After delivering a positive thinking message to the grade school students, with emphasis on good mental health and not being afraid to reach out to friends, parents or teachers should it be necessary to seek support when in emotional need, Calvillo was asked how much professional football players earn and whether he’d done well during his exceptionally long career.

Former Alouettes star quarterback Anthony Calvillo spoke to Souvenir Elementary School students in Chomedey last week. (Photo: Martin C. Barry, Laval News)

Calvillo revealed a few days before, while speaking to seniors at the Laval English-Speaking Senior Wellness Centre, that his first contract as a pro football player, which was in 1994 with the now defunct Las Vegas Posse, paid just $35,000 a year.

Happy with CFL career

Regarding his remuneration while with the Alouettes, he noted that the pay in the Canadian Football League is a lot lower than what is paid in other sports leagues like the National Football League or the National Hockey League.

“Here in the CFL, we don’t make that kind of money,” said Calvillo, while going on to say that the pay rises to “pretty decent money” after a number of years. “I’m very fortunate to have played for 20 years,” he said.