Matthieu Proulx could have done a thousand and one things after his career with the Montreal Alouettes. Then, between two pleadings, television became necessary. Thirteen years later, somewhere between the benevolence of Serge Bouchard and the emotion of Marc-Antoine Dequoy, he manages to find the balance necessary to excel.
When Proulx gets off the elevator taking him to the reception of the Bell Media building, he is wearing an unwrinkled white shirt, his jacket on his shoulder and his lunch box slung over his shoulder. In a few hours, he will host Thursday night football. On the menu: an exhilarating Raiders-Chargers duel and a lentil salad.
Every football day is intense, busy and a little dizzying. In this area, every day is a big week, to paraphrase the rapper Loud.
Just before going on air for his intervention on the show Le 5 à 7, Proulx sits in the Paul-Buisson conference room, on the second floor of the RDS offices.
In recent years, he has achieved what few former professional athletes have done before him, that is, becoming a broadcaster. He is also a descriptor at times.
Several players have become analysts or panelists, but every week, Proulx shows why he is the exception to the rule. The former marauder leads his set masterfully by being both relaxed and relevant.
The first person he thinks of when looking back at his beginnings on the small screen is Gildor Roy, because he made his debut on the air on his show Le show du matin, broadcast on V Télé, a few months after hanging up his boots in 2010.
“He’s a guy I have immense respect for, because he’s fun, he knows his football and his sport. He knows everything. He is brilliant and generous with his collaborators, he says about Commander Chiasson’s interpreter. It was a good learning experience. »
Then, RDS made him a full-time offer to cover the activities of the Alouettes. “I didn’t want to cover them, because I was too close to the team. »
But Proulx folded. The following season, he became an analyst. Looking back, he admits he didn’t need to have his arm twisted to accept.
On air, the trained lawyer could work without pressure and with pleasure.
And because internal changes took place quickly, Proulx was offered to lead the set.
“Producer Dom Vannelli saw me as a host and it was a bit unusual to see the host chair go to a player. I trusted him. And I think it was a good move, because I feel like I belong,” says the former Rouge et Or at Laval University.
A born communicator, Proulx quickly became comfortable. He has been driving his set with ease for eight years.
“I like control, even if a therapist would say that control is an illusion,” he explains, “but I like to lead, I like to direct, I like to be the captain and on the team, I took on this role, where I lead discussions, break down barriers”
Half of the work, however, takes place beforehand, at home, in his office. Just be ready when the camera flasher turns red. His shift doesn’t just begin when he passes through security on the first floor.
This part of the job, however, is still the most difficult to assimilate. “It’s a very individualistic job. You’re always alone, looking at your computer, watching stats, matches, clips. »
Having evolved all his life in a football locker room, Proulx sometimes misses this esprit de corps that he finds instantly as soon as he sets foot in the studio to join Bruno Heppell, Didier Orméjuste and company.
Still, analyzing more than 140 football games per year, whether in the NFL or CFL, is exhausting, he admits. Every weekend, and two evenings a week, he leaves his wife and children to go watch behemoths fight for an oval ball.
This is why he is not very active on social networks and why he escapes into his books in his spare time. Football has nourished him all his life. This is still what defines and fascinates him. However, he wishes to free himself through different channels.
Among them is travel. His year 2023 will also have been marked by a three-month trip to Asia with his little family. The Proulx traveled throughout Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.
The 42-year-old host came back transformed, because more than ever, he became aware of his privileges, but above all of his place in the ecosystem.
“You touch on something that is true, essential and fundamental to life. Family, life, wealth, inequities. And there you come back and you describe a Saskatchewan-Hamilton match,” he says with a touch of humor.
Not to denigrate what he does, on the contrary. But rather give it value.
“Things are bad in the world, it’s difficult, so people need places where they can go to have fun, to be stimulated, to look for something positive. And sport is one of these last bastions where, despite some controversy, overall it is positive. It’s human performance, surpassing oneself, associating with someone, being part of a group. »