When Donovan Alexander’s parents return from their cruise, they’ll have a great surprise and a new roommate.
"I plan on surprising them from the airport in Bombers gear," said the 28-year-old defensive back, who signed to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Feb. 25.
"It’s just so surreal right now," said Alexander, who plans on competing for a starting spot on the turf. "My phone has been going crazy, I’m just so excited right now. I was a big Bomber fan growing up."
After graduation, Alexander travelled south to play college ball for North Dakota, then signed with the Montreal Alouettes in 2006, the Seattle Seahawks in 2008 as a free agent and off season/practice squad member, and later returned to the Alouettes in 2008. In 2009, Alexander signed with the Edmonton Eskimos, playing the Grey Cup that year in 2010.
During Alexander’s first three years in the CFL he went to Grey Cup finals, but was unsuccessful each time.
"I learned that a lot of people think that it is easy to get to the Grey Cup," said Alexander, who just entered the faculty of education at the University of Manitoba. "Man, when you get to those Grey Cup games, you’ve got to win them ’cause you never know when you’ll get back."
He said he would have quit football if he had not transferred to St. Paul’s. He said just attending the school gave him the discipline to succeed.
"Having football and academics, it forces you to manage your time a lot better," said Alexander, who graduated in 2003. "My grades were actually a lot better during football season, than after football season because I had to prioritize. Definitely the workload really helped me."
A sense of pride came along with the workload.
"I think going to St. Paul’s was one of the best decisions of my life," Alexander said. "It’s just such a diverse education for academics, athletics, community service. You just become a really well-rounded person. When you put on that uniform there’s such a sense of pride for your school."
When Alexander walks around the new stadium that he will be playing in, he gets excited for the new season.
"It’s still surreal," Alexander said. "Just walking by seeing the Ws, all the history on the boards, it’s an amazing feeling. It’s hard for me to express right now. I’m just so happy."