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Leelou Mallette: Coming out of your shell

Leelou Mallette: Coming out of your shell

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November 8, 2023

 |  Leelou Mallette

(Français) Leelou Mallette, une adolescente de 17 ans maintenant, a découvert sa passion pour le judo au Centre Multisports. Initialement timide, elle est devenue une judoka accomplie, enseignant à son tour et atteignant le niveau 2 du PNCE. Malgré des défis tels qu’une commotion cérébrale et la pandémie, elle poursuit son chemin avec détermination.

The first time Leelou Mallette steps onto the freshly laid tatami floor in a room at the Multisports Center, she looks at the ground, runs in a square and tries to figure out what she is doing there. At this very first official judo course given at the Multisports Center, three people answered the call.

Some eight or nine years later, Leelou is still there, this time surrounded by around sixty participants. She still follows the teachings of her teacher, sensei Michel, and now teaches in turn. Because she likes to transmit and because she is now certified level 1 and trained level 2 of the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP). An atypical and, to say the least, unique journey for a young 16-year-old teenager.

As a child, Leelou Mallette had little interest in ballet, soccer, or piano. Seeking to stimulate their daughter in an activity outside of school hours, her parents enrolled her in the judo course at the Multisports Center which opened its doors for the first time to people interested in arm locks and training techniques. immobilization and strangulation. The interest is as sudden as it is persistent: “It’s the first time I’ve been looking forward to a course,” she explains. I was sad when the class ended and I couldn’t wait for the next class. It was very clear that I would return there after the summer.” Slowly and patiently, the young girl learned the techniques of the martial art founded in 1882 with her trainers, called senseis, including Michel Proulx, her technical director: “I saw this child grow up,” he mentions, and gain self-confidence. A lot of girls passed, but she stayed.”

Get out of your comfort zone

As she accumulates belts and colors, Leelou Malette masters the techniques and gains confidence in herself. From the first competitions where she cried from start to finish, to today’s competitions where she shines, she has a string of successes and takes on the challenges that present themselves to her. Including a concussion and the pandemic: “It’s not the best moments of my life,” says the judoka. Being all alone at home, you don’t see anyone anymore, it was really hard.” As judo is difficult to practice alone, she waits and lets herself be carried away by the vagaries of a pandemic which multiplies the hopes of return and the despair of re-confinements. But when she officially gets back on the tatami, she moves forward and opens the doors that obstruct her path. In two years, she obtained her brown belt, took her courses at the NCCP and became a coach and assistant to the technical director. She is possibly the youngest in Quebec to have reached this level: “To be where I am today, yes, I have qualities, but if my coaches had not pushed me the way they pushed me, I wouldn’t have gotten there, she thinks. I would have been too embarrassed, too stressed to do the NCCP, to become a coach. I would have stayed in my place, in the terrain that I know, in my comfort zone. I wouldn’t have gone any further. »

Believe in your potential

Leelou Mallette does not hide that her goal this year is to obtain her black belt. She also aspires to become the club’s next technical director and replace sensei Michel. The person concerned knows this and does everything to pave the way: “What greater gift for a sensei to have a student in whom you were able to inspire a passion, who has taken this passion and who is ready to carry it in your place to take it further, affirms Michel Proulx. Ensuring the sustainability of the club is important. » Supported by the technical director and the various coaches who volunteer their time, the Multisports Center judo club benefits from the help and mutual assistance of each of its members who give time and share their passion by teaching first and foremost, respect: “The frankness she has towards me leads to the respect I have towards her and towards all the other students,” adds sensei Michel. She trusts me enough to believe in what I see in her. She made me a better coach, absolutely. By clearly expressing my mistakes and forgiving myself for them too. » Michel Proulx underlines in passing that this commitment to the club and the Quebec Judo Federation is voluntary. People who get involved do so out of love for their art. So, why, Leelou, choose this way of life rather than another, like considering the Olympic Games, for example? “I would rather be a coach and take care of my gang of students than going to the other side of the world and going to fight every day,” says the young CEGEP student with conviction. The Center Multiports club is my second family. I know everyone.”

When we meet Leelou Mallette for the first time and attend one of her many training sessions where she receives advice from her sensei, it is difficult to imagine the shy young girl she was not long ago. not so long yet. On a tatami, she shines and takes pleasure in throwing her opponent to the ground and being thrown. At the CEGEP she recently attended, she no longer hesitates to talk with new people and especially no longer lets herself be intimidated if she is pushed around. Leelou has come out of her shell and seems ready to reveal her full potential.

by Patrick Richard

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