March 2, 2023

Leaving a Legacy

Football is known to be a game of inches. 

A game that relies on perfect timing and precision. 

A sport that requires strong work ethic, passion and dedication.

For veteran receiver Reggie Begelton, the road to get where he is now has come with twists and turns, but his devotion to the game has led him to being one of the top receivers in the CFL. 

His alma mater Lamar Cardinals recently recognized his accomplishments by inducting him into the Lamar University Cardinal Hall of Honor.

But when a young Begelton began embarking on his football journey, remaining in his hometown wasn’t part of his original plan.

“As a young kid I didn’t see it as I do now,” Begelton explained. “Being in a small town, a smaller area, you know you really don’t want to stay home. My aspirations were to go to LSU, Louisiana State University, my family was a big LSU family and that’s where I wanted to go.

“You know, unfortunately I came out the same year as Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., so I was behind the eight ball right there. 

“Me not having any scholarships out of high school, being forced to be a walk-on, they had a walk-on for two years at Lamar University, you could give yourself a lot of excuses, anybody can, it’s all perspective. 

“If you get dealt bad cards it only makes you a stronger player in the end. So, it’s all about how you use them and how you move forward and the vision that you have.

“If you have a burning desire to go somewhere in life then whatever is standing right in front of you doesn’t matter because you’re going to find a way to get past it.”

It’s important to note that the Lamar football program was discontinued in 1989, four years before Begelton was born. It returned in 2010, around the time that the young receiver was looking into post-secondary options.

Instead of giving up on his dream, Begelton continued on his path to pro football with the newly re-introduced Lamar Cardinals.

And he certainly made the most out of the opportunity.

He suited up for 46 games over four seasons with the Cardinals and graduated as the program’s all-time leader in catches (227) and yards (2,435) and was second in touchdown receptions with 20. 

The accolades didn’t stop there. 

The hometown hero was first-team all-Southland conference in 2015 and a second-team selection in 2013 and 2014. He also set a single-season record with 82 catches in 2013 and a single-game record with 18 catches in a 2013 victory over Stephen F. Austin.

“I was the first freshman class that came in, in 2011,” said Begelton. “The first season they had was 2010 with the recruiting class. To say that we cemented a legacy, we had a foundation and a standard there that they’re still trying to catch up to, says a lot. 

“The fact that the players that we had, what they’re doing in life, you can see that they had a lot of good that came out of those years.”

The six-year CFL vet was unable to attend the official induction ceremony in person, which was held on Oct. 22, 2022, so his father stood in on his behalf. Begelton was finally able to receive in person recognition last weekend. 

“It felt very uplifting,” he reflected. “You know, to be able to show face in the community and all the love that I got, especially from the organization, my alma mater, it was a really good feeling to be there and I’m truly honoured, truly blessed to have the privilege.

“It was a good opportunity for me to be there, the fact that I am back home, local. I’ve been in Houston the last three years, which is only about an hour and a half away from my hometown. The fact that I’m there now and able to show face more – I’m just happy that I’m able to do it.”

Not only does the induction validate Begelton’s successes in his hometown of Beaumont, Tex., it motivates the 29-year-old to keep working at his craft as he prepares for the upcoming 2023 season, and ultimate goal of winning another Grey Cup championship.

“It reminds me to keep that focus, to do your job and everything else will fall in behind. Don’t add any extra pressure onto yourself, just do with what the God-given talent he gave you and perform to the best of your abilities. 

“The bigger thing is to have fun with it.

“This career doesn’t last long and it can end with a snap of a finger. 

“Find the joy in the game, keep moving forward and keep looking forward.”