Green kicks for $1 million

Fifth-year engineering student Nick Green practices with Gaels' kicker Dan Village to prepare for Wendy's contest

Fifth-year student Nick Green (right) is a quarterfinalist in the Wendy's Kick for a Million challenge in Toronto on Saturday. He practiced with Gaels' kicker Dan Village (left) during the team's football practice on Tuesday at Richardson Stadium.
Fifth-year student Nick Green (right) is a quarterfinalist in the Wendy's Kick for a Million challenge in Toronto on Saturday. He practiced with Gaels' kicker Dan Village (left) during the team's football practice on Tuesday at Richardson Stadium.
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Nick Green was at Tindall field on Tuesday morning to practice 25-yard field goals. He didn’t make a single one. Tomorrow, he starts his campaign to kick for $1 million.

Green is one of four Canadians remaining in Wendy’s Kick for a Million challenge, a promotional contest affiliated with the Canadian Football League (CFL). The contest, now in its seventh season, draws almost 18 million entries every year.

Green worked next to a Wendy’s during a summer internship at the Innovation Park at Queen’s University. The contest opened on July 25 and Green tallied 2,321 entries before it closed.

“There were about 12 students and we would all go for lunch at the same time,” Green, Sci ’11, said. “I thought, ‘maybe I’ll win a free hamburger or something.’ ” Instead, he won a shot at becoming a millionaire.

On Sept. 6, four participants

— two from Western Canada and two from Eastern Canada — were selected to compete. On Saturday, Green will kick in the Eastern quarter-finals during the halftime of a Toronto Argonauts game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

In the quarter-finals, both participants get three kicks each at distances between the 15 and the 50 yard lines. If a kick goes through the uprights, points are awarded for each yard kicked. The participant with the most points moves on to face the Western Canada winner in the semifinals the following weekend in Toronto.

The last kicker standing will travel to Toronto on Oct. 14 with the chance of winning $1 million. The kicker will have four kicks — from 20, 30, 40 and 50 yards — each of which, if successful, will yield increasingly better prizes. Kicking a 50-yard field goal wins the grand prize.

Green has been practicing for about a week. He found out two weeks ago, but couldn’t start kicking right away.

“I had to go out and get cleats and the ball,” he said. “Didn’t have any of it.” The fifth-year Engineering student hasn’t played football since lining up as a defensive tackle at Lorne Park Secondary School in Mississauga. His career was cut short by a hand injury.

“I stiff-armed one of the offensive linemen and then someone hit him from behind,” Green said. “It was the day after our coach told us not to stiff-arm people.”

On Tuesday night, Green met up with the football team’s kicker, Dan Village. As Green was walking out to the field, Village kicked a 40-yard punt.

“Holy crap,” Green said.

Village said Green has to be confident with his kicking.

“The most important advice I could give to him is just keeping his head down and swinging right through the ball,” he said. “Obviously, he’s a novice, but if he works a bit, he’ll be fine.”

Green’s third kick was successful. In all, he made about 10 of 50 attempts.

“I’m way more confident after tonight,” he said.

Green heads to Toronto on Friday and will stay at the hotel in the Rogers Centre. He faces off against the other Eastern finalist Mike Tompkins — a 56-year old Brockville-native who owns a Promotional Merchandise Company.

“He doesn’t look that athletic,” Green said. “I’m hoping that just by being 30 years younger, I’ll have an advantage.”

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