This article is an excerpt from Neal Brownell’s book about bullying: “You’re Amazing and I’ll Prove it!”
I met Neal and Linda at the Book Day event last summer. We did a show on Channel 23 yesterday and I asked for something to share on this blog. This excerpt begins on page 70 of his wonderful book.
I hope you enjoy it. You can get a copy of his book on Amazon.
So, here goes:
I continued to practice all the time. Little by little, I slowly got better. With all the practicing and hard work, by the time I was a senior in high school, I was not only one of the best players in the school, I was one of the best players in our league.
Every year, all the boys in the school had to play basketball in gym class. Each class picked teams and played against each other. In order to pick these teams, we needed captains. I was chosen to be one of the captains. As captain, I had to pick the players I wanted on my team.
Each captain took turns picking players from the class one at a time until everyone was picked. One of the players I picked was a player named Bobby. Most of the kids in our school did not like Bobby. The other kids said he was dumb. He had no athletic abilities. Everyone in gym class told me he was going to be useless as a basketball player. I told them they were wrong and I would prove it to them. I had no idea how Bobby was going to help my team. I just had a feeling that Bobby would make a difference.
Bobby had many natural talents, but sports wasn’t one of them. It was very obvious Bobby hated sports and gym was the worst class he had to take. As we played our games, the other kids mocked Bobby. With all the mocking, Bobby wouldn’t even try. Bobby walked up and down the court with his hands in his pockets. I told Bobby not to listen to the other kids. I told him to hang in there, and he would make a difference when it really counted.
After playing a number of games, my team was the best gym team in the school and was chosen to play against an all-star team. The all-star team was filled with players from my high school senior team. Everyone told me that there was no way we could beat such a good team, even if Bobby wasn’t on our team. However, with Bobby as one of our players, we might as well not show up. I told them to watch and see.
The game was very close all the way through. Bobby just walked up and down the court the way he always did. After playing almost the entire game, the game was tied with only 26 seconds left on the clock. Guess who fouled out? That’s right, I fouled out of the game and the other team had possession of the ball. They could run the clock down to the last few seconds before they had to shoot.
I called a time-out. All my teammates huddled around me except Bobby. I called him over and told my team this was Bobby’s time. I told the other three players that I wanted them to play the best defense they had ever played. “Do not foul, and do not let them score.”
I then told Bobby I wanted him to stand under our basket at the other end of the court and act like he wasn’t part of the game. In other words, act the way he always did – standing with his hands in his pockets, showing no interest in the game.
I then told the other three players when the all-star team took their shot, I wanted all three of them to crash the boards, get the rebound, turn immediately, and throw the ball to Bobby. I told Bobby, “No one is going to be paying any attention to you. You will be wide open all by yourself. All you have to do is catch the ball and make a layup.”
Well, that’s exactly what happened: Bobby caught the ball and made a layup to win the game against the best players in the high school. As I said before, this all-star team was made up of players from my high school senior team. Just to let you know how good this all-star team was, our high school team won the league title that year and were ranked among the top teams in the state.
Bobby felt like a million dollars and the all-stars couldn’t believe that Bobby, the boy everyone said was useless, beat them.
This brings us to the next question: Who was the most valuable player on my gym team? Was it me, the best player on our team who fouled out of the game? On the other hand, was it Bobby, the player who made the winning basket with me on the bench? You also have to consider the fact that the play I set up would not have worked if Bobby was not Bobby. We would not have won the game without him.
THE SECOND LESSON I learned from basketball was that you never know how valuable any one person may be. Never judge a person based on what they can’t do. Always look for what they can do. Nurture a person’s strengths, and you will be amazed at what they contribute – not just to your life, but to other people’s lives as well.
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE ANYONE. EVERYONE IS SPECIAL.
“You’re Amazing, and I’ll Prove It!”
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Join us on Book Day!
Writers, story tellers, poets will read their work, talk about their work with you and have copies of their work to sell on Saturday, September 14th at Mower’s Meadow Saturday Flea Market on Maple Lane.
You’ll be able to get a card reading, buy the book and card deck, and ask questions from the creator of this system! How cool is that!
Writers will be discussing their books: mystery plots, memories of growing up in a Rosendale bar, overcoming drug addiction.
Three children’s book writers will be reading their stories and talking about their work. So, if you want to bring a young friend or relative, this should be fun.
Join us at 10:00 in the writer’s space on the 14th.
Don’t want to wait until the 14th to see the books? They’re on display on Saturdays and Wednesdays between now and Book Day.
Thank you for reading this blog post.
Please tell your friends and neighbors and share this article with your favorite social media post.
I look forward to seeing you at the Book Day Fair on September 14th.
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Come! Bring books to sign – work to read!
Join area writers at the upcoming FREE Book Day on Saturday, September 14th from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm at Mower’s Saturday Flea Market on Maple Lane in Woodstock, New York.
Book Day is an opportunity to showcase your work!
Reserve your space today. Call me at 845-399-3967 or email email@example.com.
Hope to hear from you soon!
See you there!
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Please join me for a book signing
at 6:30 pm
at the Inquiring Minds Bookstore located at 66 Partition Street in
on Saturday, March 30th.
I’ll be reading from I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore.
This memoir features wonderful, true stories about hunger in America, related by those around us who live it. This book reveals the food pantry where I worked as a place where miracles are real and hearts are healed.
The stories I’ll read at this book signing promise to open your eyes and your heart as I share moving experiences and miracles in the pantry.
Coming from the heart, the stories offer inspiration and comfort.
I look forward to seeing you there!
If you haven’t been to the Inquiring Minds Bookstore before – or in awhile -please join us! If you visit Inquiring Minds everyday, it’s okay. Please join us. It’s one of my favorite places. Actually, I’m not alonewith that opinion. All of us who shop there feel comfortable in the atmosphere and, of course, we all love the books!
Writers and poets know the most about what makes a book store wonderful. After all, we know a lot about words. The BEST words are found at Inquiring Minds.
I love attending the monthly readings at Inquiring Minds. Everyone is so friendly. The poems and stories read on the last Saturday of the month at the readings are never disappointing.
Hope to see you on the 30th!
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So many, many people love Tom and Annie Pacheco. He has spent his lifetime career bringing joy and happiness to fans, friends, and loved ones throughout the world. Tom is always helping countless people and causes.
Woodstock is no exception to this generosity. Through the years, Tom gave concerts to help many of us locally. He gave two concerts to help the Good Neighbor Food Pantry here in Woodstock as volunteers worked to fight hunger locally.
These last few years are challenging him. Health issues curtailed gigs, writing, and recording. These things devastate him in many ways.
On January 21st, a huge tree toppled over in their yard ruining his absolutely necessary car and creating thousands of dollars in damages to his property.
Please join not only me but fans, friends, and loved ones throughout the globe as we donate money in love and solidarity. Please donate through the GOFUNDME account today.
Thank you in advance for your generosity.
PS – Tom has a chapter in my memoir. If you purchase this book in the next 30 days, I’ll donate the proceeds of sales to Tom and Annie. You can get this book at Thurmangreco.com
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I walked over to the CVS today and got the latest copy of the “Woodstock Times”. It’s a sellout publication in Woodstock. How could it not be? It’s got the latest obituaries,
stories about community events (more fun than a soap opera)
a full color picture on page 1 (always)
and, a Letters to the Editor section.
I mean, what more can we all ask for? An edition once offered a full color photo of a statue of Buddha perched atop a bright blue sign saying:
WELCOME TO WOODSTOCK
We are all here because we are not all there.
I mean, how can I not buy a copy of the Woodstock Times this every week? It’s better than any tabloid anywhere. Donald Trump doesn’t even have a chance with this one.
If you live in Woodstock or visit Woodstock, you can buy a souvenir bumper sticker at Houst with the Buddha post on it. Buddha won’t be on the bumper sticker. But, that’s not the important part of the message anyway.
Then, when you return home to wherever in the world that may be, you can display this wonderful sign which reads: We are all Here Because We are Not all There. Personally, I can’t think of a better souvenir of Woodstock than that.
But, back to the Woodstock Times:
Because of the propensity of cotton tops in the area, obituaries are always popular. A couple of winters ago we were dropping at the rate of 1 per week. Every week Stuart Klein and I visited in Bread Alone for a few minutes and chatted about who died the week before.
Both Stuart and I were grateful to see spring arrive that year. First, we were grateful to see a few forsythia blooms just to see something besides winter. And, second, we were grateful to be alive and mentally together enough to know we were looking at forsythia blooms.
The weekly Letters section usually begins about page 14 or so with a letter from Howard Harris. Howie has been sending letters to the editor for years, decades maybe. For years, he wrote them in haiku.
Howie’s letter is traditionally the first one to go on the page. Howie taught me many years ago (when I first began writing letters about the pantry) that the letters are more or less sorted by when they come in. “Email your letter over on Friday, Thurman. That way you’ll have a good chance of reading it in the Woodstock Times.” Howie’s advice worked every week for years.
Brian quit printing my letters years ago but Howie still plugs along with his weekly letter. A couple of years ago or so, he dropped the haiku and now uses a straight 2-4 paragraph letter denouncing any local activities involving the local Zoning Board of Appeals and whatever else he’s thinking about. His letters have great interest and are probably read by 95% of the people buying the Woodstock Times weekly. Personally, I miss the haiku.
Standard letters written by Woodstockers include:
comments on the Arab Israeli conflict,
opinion pieces on all sides of whatever local fight is in progress,
thank you letters offering recognition about a job well or poorly done.
During election season, the Letter section is filled to capacity with letters for and against the various candidates and the issues they represent.
But, no matter what’s happening, I look forward to Sparrow’s message.
One thing the Woodstock Times does not have is a list of breakins, brawls, speeding tickets. If we want to read about that stuff, we have to buy the Daily Freeman. While it’s nice that the Woodstock Times doesn’t waste space on sleaze, it gives the reader the feeling that nothing ever goes wrong around here. This is definitely not the case. We have as many vandals around here as any other town but we just don’t mention them.
An important part of the paper is the weekly listing of meetings which usually appears at the top of page 3. These meetings are important. Whenever a decision is brewing, interested parties and protestors need to know exactly where and when the meeting will be held. It will never do to show up at the wrong time or place (which I did once).
Town Board Meetings are big sellers with a list of commenters who sign up a few minutes before the meeting so they can have a 2-minute “say” about anything they want in the “Public be Heard” segment of the meeting. Always popular in this segment is comment about any project that is just beginning, is ongoing, or is finished.
The Woodstock Times is delivered to Woodstock stores every Thursday afternoon after 2:00. Apart from the first section featuring news, letters, meetings, obituaries, the second section is a real seller. That’s the Almanac. Everything that’s happening around here, both large and small, appears in the Almanac.
My favorite section in the whole Woodstock Times is the cartoon by Swami Salami. Swami Salami’s cartoon is displayed, usually, in the upper left hand corner of page 15. My week is just not complete without seeing Michael Esposito’s message.
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Woodstock, New York
At a time that fits your schedule on the Winter Solstice, December 21st, please take a moment to join with fellow mankind to focus on a vision of peace and harmony for all species on our planet.
Get comfortable in some place quiet, private.
Inhale deeply and slowly. Breathe in love, gratitude, and the energy of new beginnings. When you exhale, breathe out all negativity.
Continue with this breathing pattern as you breathe in love, gratitude, and the energy of new beginnings. Exhale all negativity.
Begin to be more grounded and feel calmer.
When you are ready, envision the Winter Solstice as the turning point of the year for all beings. See the Winter Solstice for what it is…a re-birth for all and a time of positive new encounters.
Envision a Planet Earth where all beings know and feel a connection to one another.
Envision a Planet Earth where all beings work together and coexist in mutual respect.
Envision a Planet Earth where all beings live in harmony and are dedicated to deepening an understanding of one another with love and gratitude.
Envision a Planet Earth where all beings use our new energy brought by the Winter Solstice for peace.
Sit quietly for a short time with this meditation and absorb the positive new energy surrounding you.
Now, move a bit as you reenter the present. Feel comfortable repeating your Winter Solstice meditation reinforce the experience and your intention for the coming year.
Thank you for reading this meditation article. Please refer it to your preferred social media network.
Woodstock, New York
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