Michael Palmer Biography
My story begins on the West coast. I was born to Peter & Jennifer Palmer in Richmond, B.C. in 1980 after my father’s CFL Pro Football days as a Linebacker with the B.C. Lions. When I was 4 years old we moved to Oakville, a suburb of Toronto, Ontario to be closer with our Family and friends. The city was not the peaceful atmosphere my parents wanted our family to grow up in so when I was 9 we moved to north of Milton above the Escarpment to a large forest property beside Rocky Ridge Ranch, a Christian horseback-riding and hockey camp. What an amazing time I had growing up among men of strength and honour in the country with forest, horses, wild animals and a whole lot of hard work!
Shortly thereafter my miracle sister and best friend, lil miss Emily, was born. Truly a miracle after doctors told dad he had less than 60 days to live and would not be able to have anymore children in 1980. And so we moved closer to the necessities of life and where I was going to school to a sleepy village east of Guelph called Rockwood. I loved Rockwood for its sleepy getaway feeling with a winding river running through it, the old mill, and the outdoor skating rink at Lord Dyer Park. We stayed in Rockwood through highschool and into University at Guelph.
My earliest school memories are from Oakville Christian School (OCS), where I attended from Junior Kindergarten through to grade 6. My greatest memory was playing British Bulldog at recess pretending I was Jerry Rice of the San Francisco 49’ers as I ran from side to side avoiding being tagged. Another fond memory was the development of my entrepreneurs spirit with the grade 4 project to create the world’s most amazing fruit juice, complete with the video recording of my commercial…sooooo funny!!!
From OCS, with a brief attendance at Georgetown Christian School for half of grade 5, I was enrolled at Crestwicke Christian School for grades 6-8. I loved Crestwicke for many of the teachers I have developed friendships with, a couple of whom I remain in touch with today, and have tremendous respect for as leaders of the school.
From Crestwicke I graduated onto Woodland Christian High School. With a small student population of approx 200, I had the opportunity to participate in many of the events I came to enjoy. The sports programs were huge! I also took the opportunity to sing in the choir, and tried out for the Touring Choir, on which we traveled to Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Ottawa. I also participated in the Chapel committee, organizing guest speakers, gymnasium setup, and hosting.
From high school, my next step was not clear until less than a month left in the summer of 1999. I had hoped for a hockey scholarship to Calvin Christian College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. However, it did not happen, and I had less than a month to decide what to do. Mom had several connections with people at the University of Guelph and after a few meetings I was enrolled into the Human Kinetics program as well as residence in Mills Hall, the last year it was the all-men’s residence…CRAZY! And so I entered the next chapter of life as an 18 year old playing football with the Gryphons, in an all-dudes residence and studying Human Kinetics and Philosophy as my electives. As far as Human Kinetics went, Cell Biology was the final straw, studying things I could not see with names I wouldn't take care to remember, and so I looked into Economics, Psychology and Philosophy of which through one semester I chose Philosophy. Philosophy is so amazing to me because it challenges us to think beyond the six inches in front of our faces. It forced me to investigate and challenge my Faith, wrestle with the difficult topics of Metaphysics such as free-will, creation, afterlife, what knowledge is, etc. I graduated in the summer of 2005 with an Honours Philosophy Bachelor of Arts degree.
Masters and PhD? Perhaps. Our focus presently is on building our family's financial foundation. My inspiration is my late Grandma Peg, who earned her PhD in Adult Education while 70 years old.
I grew up playing ALL the sports. My favorite was soccer, which I played at quite a competitive level as a youngster. I also had some fun with baseball and lacrosse. I began playing both football and hockey the same year when I was 11 years old. I remember entering grade 10 and trying out for the volleyball team and making it, resulting in a few days of having 3 practices all in a row. From the final bell ending the last class, straight to volleyball practice, then I hitched a ride to football practice, and then home for 15 minutes and bolted to hockey practice, to be home for 11:30pm with Chemistry homework to be done…ya right!!! I became a Varsity starter as the Setter on the Volleyball team, starting Point Guard on the Basketball team, an All-star with the Badminton squad, and Centre Midfielder on the soccer team…all of which was on the side of playing hockey. With my involvement in Woodland's sports I had a choice to make between football or hockey, and I chose hockey. My goal was to play Junior A or B to be drafted into the NHL, or receive an athletic scholarship to a school in the U.S.A.
Well, a hockey scholarship did not happen, which became a blessing. Once into my classes at the University of Guelph in the summer of 1999, I remember mom asking, “Ok Michael, football or hockey?” I remember at the time I was upset about hockey and so we spoke to the football coach, Dan McNally, who remembered me from a March break camp I had attended 5 or 6 years earlier. He granted me a tryout and so away we went! Training camp Fall of ’99 I came into camp 5”10 and 155 lbs soaking wet! I was the fastest rookie there and was put at receiver right away.
Having played special teams as the punt and kickoff returner and backing up as a receiver in my first year, I came into my second training camp in 2000 a bit stronger and faster, and earned a starting position. I remember my breakout game was our first home game against Laurier, my first touchdown was a 90-yard kickoff return followed by another on a play-action reverse pass for a long-bomb touchdown! I finished the year as an Ontario All-star and leading offensive producer. Towards the end of my second year was when I caught the dream to play in the CFL. My father took me to an Argos game, and I remember turning to my father after the game was over and saying, “Dad, I think I can play at this level…I want to play at this level.” Then he gave me the best advice ever…“You know what son, you can do it! Its going to be a whole lot of hard work, but you can do it! Make the right daily decisions and you will have the opportunity to make it happen! For example, I am not going to tell you to not have fun hanging out with your friends, however, before you hang out with your friends hit the gym first. As well be careful who your friends are.” I’ve since confirmed dad’s wisdom with a John Maxwell quote which states, “Success is not something that just all of a sudden happens by accident. It is found in our daily habits. In the little things we do everyday that add up to being GREAT! This is why the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is simply a little bit extra.”
Many awards, being among school record holders, and honours later in the winter of 2003 I entered into the CFL draft. Many hours of putting together a highlight tape and sending it out to all the CFL teams, many workouts, and several evaluation camps later I was drafted in the 6th round, 48th overall, 3rd last by the Toronto Argonauts. HALLELUJAH!!! My dream had come true!!! I got my foot in the door and busted it wide open!
From 2003 through to 2007 I was back and forth between being a starting receiver vs. backing up and playing special teams. In 2004 we earned our way to Ottawa for the Grey Cup Championship, and WE WON!!! What a special time it was for my family!
Saturday September 1, 2007, I was released by the Argos. Wow! I remember being in my apartment going through all the emotions: pacing, yelling, laughing hysterically, being upset and frustrated. 2 hours later I hit my knees, and prayed to the Lord for the peace beyond all understanding, knowing God is with us if we abide in the shadow of the Most High, and ready for the next chapter. I spoke with Dad, my best friends and my agent about the next step. 48 hours later I was packing and on a plane headed for Regina.
So...time to refocus and reset the vision…what am I here for???
Wanting to be a man of excellence in ALL areas of life. I pushed to be a starting receiver, all-star, and Grey Cup Champion. Many hours in the playbook, in the gym and watching film, trying best to eat and sleep proper, and wouldn’t you know it we battled through the Stampeders and Lions and we were on a flight to my home-town Toronto for Grey Cup week. A week full of friends and family, media, reflection, bright lights in the big city and the Saskatchewan Roughriders 3rd Grey Cup CHAMPIONSHIP!
I became a Christ follower when I was 4 years old. I remember hitting my knees beside my Dad on our old couch in the basement beside our old TV, asking Jesus to be my Savior and Lord of my life. What an amazing day! The beginning of becoming a man after God's heart, living a life in pursuit of building God’s Kingdom through learning what Divine Love is and applying it daily...daily becoming a man the Lord looks upon and smiles.
I learned what it is to have a servant's heart through my days at Rocky Ridge Ranch. I remember being 9 years old and beginning to work their during the summers. I learned what hard work is! To do the things that were necessary with quality regardless of how I felt, simply because they needed to be done. Including taking care of campers and their families, watering and feeding horses, mowing grass and picking weeds, peeling potatoes and carrots, chopping trees and piling wood…etc. Why did I serve? Because it furthered God’s Kingdom. Did I understand this at the time? No. At times I whined and complained and felt sorry for myself. I thank God for those days, because I learned what it was to suck it up and work. Do I understand it now? I’m beginning to. All we have is for God's Kingdom. What a tremendous responsibility we all have for the people God brings into our lives.
God brings me my Dream
And now we enter into 2009. What an incredibly difficult beginning to the year for me as I was released from the Roughriders 3 days after I returned to Regina from Christmas holidays in Toronto to train and prepare for the 2009 season. I decided to stay in Regina to take a step back from life. I realized I needed some time to learn more about life, and learn more about and become what God says a man is. Also, I became lonely and desired for God to bring an incredible woman into my life. I wrote out the things I desired for my bride: a woman who loves God with all her heart, who is loyal, gracefull, classy, athletic and beautiFULL! I prayed daily for these things, and grew close in my walk with God to be a man after God's heart, responsible for and worthy of an incredible woman of God. Then, over Christmas 2009, I met my Kaya, through connections of friends and family online. We grew at a distance over facebook, the phone and skype. I was passionate and ready and I remember the moment I knew Kaya was the woman for me....we had talked on the phone for a couple hours and she asked to pray for me and when she did SHE BLEW ME AWAY! PRAYER WARRIOR! I knew she was the woman I was looking for. I pursued her daily and made her mine haha! Thank-you Lord!
For more have a browse of our wedding www.mywedding.com/michaelandkaya
Professional & Entreprenuer
My growth as a Professional Athlete and Entrepreneur has been influenced since day 1. My father was an All-Star Outside-Linebacker with the B.C. Lions in the 70’s and Mom was a 2-time Olympic Gymnast in the Mexico '68 and Munich '72 games, as well as a 5-time National Champion. What does this mean? Basically I had NO EXCUSES growing up. I learned that the 9-5 mentality wouldn’t cut it if I wanted to be GREAT! I learned that to be the best you have to put in the extra work. I also learned that the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is simply a little bit extra.
Many of the characteristics I’ve learned from the amazing examples my parents are! They instilled in me the characteristics they learned by being a part of several organizations including some of the great Churches we've attended over the years as well as being mentored in business to be a man and woman of excellence in all areas of life. They also took every opportunity to surround me with people in the business community where I heard great teaching and developed a deep respect for many people, a few of whom are my heroes! Enduring success long-term is always about the quality of the relationships we develop with people and the books we read. Mom and dad have allowed me to be influenced by men and women who are successful, wholistically, in all areas of life including their relationship with God, their marriage, their relationships with their children and friends, overcoming fear, having the faith to pursue their Dreams, having the character to be responsible with the blessings success brings, people who choose to do the right thing regardless of how they feel...men and women of character and integrity. I’m talking about men who love their wives and edify them. Women who respect and their husbands. These are the men and women we will continue to learn from and grow with.
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