Jimmy Ralph brings Grey Cup back to Raymond
More than 100 students gathered at Raymond High School Tuesday as Jimmy Ralph brought the Grey Cup back to his old stomping grounds. The Raymond native knew immediately after capturing the trophy in November that he wanted to share the moment with his hometown.
“As soon as I won and celebrations settled down, I wanted to make sure that this would be possible. I asked coach (Todd) Heggie after the game (Grey Cup) if I could bring it to the high school,” Ralph said.
The Toronto Argonauts wide receiver is the third Ralph brother to bring the Grey Cup back to Raymond. Jimmy’s brother Brock won the trophy with the Edmonton Eskimos and Brett hoisted the Grey Cup with the Calgary Stampeders.
“Within an hour of him winning the cup, (Jimmy) sent me a message and he said, ‘I’ll bring it to the high school whenever you’re ready,’” coach and principal Todd Heggie said. “For a kid that was here not that long ago to go out and achieve something like this and pursue his dreams, it’s pretty good for the community and it’s great for our students to see.”
Many of the Raymond students look up to Ralph now but for some, that admiration started well before he started playing professional football.
“I’ve been watching him ever since he was in Grade 10,” student Brady Baines said. “He was the man. I remember, I would come to the games and all I wanted to do was be like him.”
Baines plays for the Raymond Comets and of course, is a wide receiver just like his inspiration.
“I was in third grade. It was his (Ralph’s) Grade 12 year of basketball. They had just won the provincial championship and my dad was like, ‘Come on, let’s go get a picture,’” Baines recalled. “And I was like, ‘No, that’s Jimmy Ralph, I can’t. It’s Jimmy. I can’t do it.’ But I was so happy I got that because he’s such a great guy.”
Even after being a little star-struck early on, Baines and Ralph stayed in touch after he made the Argonauts. Ralph sends Baines texts sometimes before big games to wish him luck and give him advice.
“I’m really happy that he’s been able to put in so much work to get so far in his football career,” Baines said. “It’s nice to know because in the summers he comes back here to Raymond and works out and helps us out as well.”
In high school, Ralph brought home three provincial titles in football and two more in basketball.
“You always knew with Jimmy that he was a special player,” Raymond Comets Assistant Football Coach Matt Baines said. “Even opposing teams around the province had heard of Jimmy Ralph.
“He had the ability, leadership and desire, so to see him achieve what he has at the professional level isn’t a surprise to me.”
He was a talent rarely seen at the high school level, but Ralph believes his admiration is merely part of school tradition.
“I think that’s the thing about Raymond is we always look forward to getting able to be a Comet. And whoever that Comet was when you were younger, you look up to them and you want to be just like them.”
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