It’s hard to miss Joe Eppele when you see him in a crowd, but this Friendly Giant has made an impact in Toronto for more than his championship performance with the Toronto Argos. His compassion and dedication to his friends, family, fans, and the community go beyond his time on the field!
Joe played four years of football at Washington State, while majoring in Psychology, and earning his B.Sc, with a minor in Business Administration. When he’s not playing ball, Joe is dedicated to giving back to the community through charity work, including his fund-raising for the Head Trauma Unit at St. Michael’s Hospital, taking part in the WWF CN Tower Climb, and most notably, for founding Big Joe’s Little Giants, his own charity that works with youth in the community.
Born in Squamish, British Columbia, Joe grew up in-touch with the outdoors, enjoying hiking, camping, hunting and fishing, as well as participating in athletics, beyond football; Joe was rated one of the best shot-putters and hammer-throwers for his age in Canada when he was younger.
After playing football at Washington State for four years, Joe was drafted First Round, Second Overall, by the Toronto Argonauts in the 2010 CFL Draft. Joe was the first Offensive Lineman taken, while being ranked fifth overall by the CFL’s Amateur Scouting Bureau.
Joe has definitely made a big impression on the hearts of Torontonians! Read on, to find out more about this 1987-born Sports Babe!
30 QUESTIONS WITH JOE EPPELE
1. Do you remember when you were a kid, and adults would ask “what do you want to be when you grow up?”… how old were you when you started to answer with “A Professional Football Player”?
I was in the 5th grade when I decided my dream was to go pro in football.
2. If you weren’t playing ball for a living, what would you be doing?
My original plan in life was to get into carpentry, so if I wasn’t playing football I would say I would have pursued either carpentry, or firefighting.
3. What has been your best career-related memory, to date? My guess is winning the Grey Cup, this past season!
Hands down, the highlight of my career would have to be the 100th Grey Cup. Hearing my name called, and running onto the field to a packed house, and later hoisting the cup, is something I will never forget.
4. You mentioned that hoisting the cup is something that you’ll never forget – can you tell us a little bit about what the celebrations were like after you guys won the 100th Grey Cup?
The celebrations after the Cup were a bit if a blur! They began with the family after party, and the GC parade, and kept going right into the holiday season. After that I took off on a road trip that took me on a full loop of the States. In just over a month, I put 21,000km on my new truck and went through 24 states.
5. You and the boys showed all of the naysayers that Toronto can still produce a winning team – what did it feel like being in the Celebratory Parade?
Seeing the streets, as well as office windows lined with fans, and being able to hoist the cup for them and the entire city during the celebratory parade, was a feeling the boys and I will never forget.
6. Now that you’ve got your Championship ring – what’s next for you? Do your dreams go beyond the CFL, to the NFL?
I think a key characteristic of an athlete is that we are never satisfied with what we have accomplished to date. My only focus at the moment is doing my part to make sure the Argos are back at the top, hoisting the cup again in GC101.
7. If you were going to the 2014 ESPYS, describe what your outfit of choice would be:
If I were to go to the ESPYS, I’d have to say I’d wear a well fitted suit with a pair of cowboy boots. I’d likely work in some camo somehow too.
8. Nice choice! While we’re talking about the ESPYS, who would you have liked to see win for the 2013 Best NFL Player? Do you agree with Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings winning?
I would have to say AP earned his title at the 2013 ESPYS.
9. If it had been a Canadian player from the CFL, who would have your vote?
If it were a CFL athlete the obvious choice would be Chad Owens. He was the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player last season, and continues to put up impressive numbers week in, and week out.
10. So speaking of impressive numbers, it’s almost Fantasy Football draft time. Who would you draft for your ideal team from the NFL?
To be honest I’m not the biggest sports fan when it comes to knowing all the players and their stats so I’d have to turn to my buds for advice if I were to ever draft a team.
11. What about if you were putting together a Fantasy CFL team?
Rather than list our entire roster one by one I’ll just say the 2013 Toronto Argonauts
12. Fashion is becoming an important part of the world of athletics, with a number of athletes posting their OOTD (outfit of the day) on Twitter/Instagram, stepping it up a notch with their post-game suits, and even coming out with their own lines of socks, shoes, etc. How important is personal style to you?
I’m not the kind of guy who puts too much emphasis on my wardrobe. I like to look presentable, but still feel comfortable in my clothes. I wouldn’t hold my breath for a BigJoe’s clothing line.
13. How would you describe your own personal style, in three words?
I’d explain my style as rugged, comfy, and casual.
14. It would be hard not to look rugged with your build! Is it difficult for a man of your stature to find stylish options?
At 6’8 300lbs it’s not easy to find clothes that are well fitted to my physique. I do most of my shopping in AZ or Seattle and everything else I get tailored.
15. Torontonians have seen you in a number of different styles, from your jersey, to all-pink gear to raise Breast Cancer Awareness, to your Sasquatch Costume, to your Ancient Prom wear at the ROM… what has been your favourite out-of-uniform look to date? (share pictures if possible)
My favourite outfit to date would have to be my toga sandals and fox fur from New York Furs for Prom at the ROM. Everyone was strapped into their suits and tuxes, and I felt like I was walking around in PJs. The Sasquatch outfit is a close second, but it was a little small, and far too hot.
16. As a professional football player, you have a phenomenal physique that men look to as inspiration, but everyone has insecurities; Has there ever been a time when you’ve woken up and secretly hated something about yourself, or felt self-conscious about something? What do you feel the most sexy in?
To be honest, I was the fat kid back in 5th-10th grade, so I had a lot of insecurities at the time, but since then I’ve made a few lifestyle changes and become a little more comfortable in my skin. I’d have to say I’m most comfortable in something simple, like blue jeans and a t-shirt.
17. With that being said, I’m sure our female readers are dying to know… what do you think a woman is the sexiest in?
When it comes to women I don’t like all the bells and whistles. Jeans and a t-shirt or a summer dress are always great, but daisy dukes and a plaid shirt would have to be my top choice.
18. Everyone has a secret anthem – a pump-up song for while they’re pre-gaming… Some people are into “I’m too sexy for my shirt”, for example. What song is #1 on your getting-ready mix?
Phil Collins- In The Air Tonight.
19. If your life were turned into a movie, which actor would you choose to portray you, on-screen?
If I had to pick someone to play me in a movie, I would have to go with my favourite actor, Russell Crowe.
20. Because you travel a lot for your games, what is something that you can’t leave home without?
Two things I never travel without would be my sleep mask, and a good book.
21. If we were to look in your travel toiletries bag, what would be the most surprising product we would find?
My toiletries bag is pretty boring. To be honest, aside from my sleep mask, I’m a bare bones kinda guy. Just the essentials.
22. Because you train, play, and travel frequently, what do you do to keep your immune system in fighting shape?
The best thing I do for my immune system is keep my diet in check and stay on top of my sleep schedule.
23. What does a day of training look like for you, in terms of your nutrition, and workout schedule? Does it change drastically as you lead up to a game, or towards training camp, etc?
My training varies a lot throughout the year depending on my schedule. During the offseason in my peak training ill spend 4-5 hours a day in the gym but during season I limit myself to around 2 hours or so, depending on injuries and game schedule.
Also nutrition is a big part of my training. The type of food that I eat stays consistent, but the amount I eat changes, depending on my workout schedule.
24. Part of working hard, is playing hard. Do you have any secret hangover remedies you can share with us?
My number one go to cure for a hangover is a big stack of thick sliced maple bacon with some eggs, and a veggie filled protein shake. Of course, a well poured caesar never hurt…
25. What does your ideal “cheat day” look like?
Hmm, well my diet is a cross between a blood type specific diet and a Paleolithic diet so I really don’t need much of a cheat day but every now and then it’s nice to hit the pub with the guys for a few dozen wings and a couple pints of Guinness.
26. Despite all of the time you spend on the field, you make time for some pretty important causes. Can you share with our readers a little bit about your youth program, Big Joes Little Giants?
Big Joes Little Giants is something I started during my second season in the CFL. I work with halfway homes for abused and neglected women and children, and we try and reintroduce positive male roll models through fun candid activities. A few times a year, we bring all the kids out to games. We also do other activities, like renting out bowling alleys, or our annual pumpkin carving night. It’s simple fun things which help bring some joy to the children, at a tough time in their lives.
27. So, we always ask for the curious readers out there… Are you single, dating, or locked down?
I’m locked down!
28. Who would you say is your “Biggest Fan”?
It would be pretty tough for me to pick just one biggest fan. Both of my parents as well as my brother and sister always have my back and my Gran who watches every game from home are all up there at the top.
29. Who would you like to see featured as a Sports Babe of the Day?
My pick for Sports Babe Of The Day would have to go to Phil Robertson, Founder of Duck Commander! The man started ahead of Terry Bradshaw back in university, and has now created a multi million dollar empire that is at the center of a new worldwide trend. Not to mention, the man gets to spend his days hunting fishing and tending to his property!
30. QUICK – boxers or briefs?
I’m a boxer brief guy