A Letter To Michael Sam

“Some of us have great runways already built for us. If you have one, take off. But if you don’t have one, realize it is your responsibility to grab a shovel and build one for yourself and for those who will follow after you.”

– Amelia Earhart

Michael SamDear Michael Sam

I don’t know you personally but I hope this letter reaches you because I believe it’s the message you are meant to hear.

Sometimes in life we fail to see the great opportunities inherent in our struggles. I know football is what you love but have you ever considered that the struggle you face is not about the game of football but an overall greater purpose awaiting you in the game of life.

Michael here are the 5 steps to realizing your purpose and making a true difference.

  1. Turn your anger and frustration into a passion to make a difference

Michael you are a trailblazer and like others before you the path is laden with struggle and unforeseen circumstances outside of your control. How you handle those situations will determine if others choose to follow in your footsteps or stay regulated to the darkness of their fears. I know you are frustrated that your NFL dreams did not come to fruition the way you planned. Turn that emotion into a passion for paving the way for those to come. Jackie Robinson had to make tremendous sacrifices understanding that in his hands laid the fate of all those who would or “would not” come after him.

  1. Apologize for passively outing other pro athletes

I understand you may have felt abandoned by athletes who chose to stay quiet instead of showing outright support. These other athletes placed not only their trust but their livelihood in your hands and as frustrated as it was feeling that they were not there to stand when you needed them to- you as a leader were given the gift of their trust. You needed to appreciate that trust, to be the leader they could depend on and believe in. They needed to know that you truly had their best interest at heart even at a high cost to yourself.

If you had done this they would have given you a respect and trust that money simply cannot buy and in due time you would have been able to bring people together to do things they otherwise would not have. They may not have openly come out but they may have openly expressed support that could change the fate for those to come, and that my friend is a big win. Apologize profusely behind the scenes to them personally and issue a blanket apology publicly. Let everyone know you have seen the wrong of your ways and allowed your frustration to get the best of you. Promise those athletes individually and the young players you impacted that you will do everything your power to be worthy of the trust and respect that was given to you.

  1. Be the leader you needed

Remember a time when as a young man coming to grips with not only being gay but having to confront that reality as an athelete. Think about who you needed and who you became in order to help you through that. Many kids don’t have that person, that leader, that motivation to continue forward in the face of all the struggles they will face. Be the leader they need and you had or wish you had. Michael that person will change the world for the better.

  1. Publicly set the vision for the future

Publicly set the vision for the future as you would like to see it for gay athletes in sports. We all need a vision without it the scriptures say that the people will perish, not only the people but their hopes and dreams as well. Set a vision that will inspire and move others, gay and otherwise. In the end what you’re looking to achieve goes beyond sexual preference and gender, it is about a kid that has a dream and believes they matter and that they can be something in this life…who are we to take that away from them.

  1. Touch the People

Get to where people need you. Be a great voice and testament to the power of standing up for what you believe in. Your life serves a greater purpose Michael than just the game of football. Get out to the schools, the colleges, speak and be a liaison if not in the NFL then in College to help players and students on both sides of the issue. Help those athletes and students across college campuses who are gay and straight in how to deal with whatever issues you had to deal with. Michael what you can bring to the table for countless people is invaluable and you have a visible platform to do it from. You literally have the power to save lives.

Finish what you started, this is the biggest game you will ever play in and the purpose you choose to pursue will determine how you played the game. At the end of the day you can be a Hall of Famer on the greatest playing field ever…life.

 

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When You Need A Miracle

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Recently I was conversing with God through my prayers and thoughts. I was asking God for a miracle to help me through many of the challenges in my life. I said to God, the only way for me to overcome these many overwhelming obstacles is for a miracle of some sort to happen. Everyday I found myself asking God for a miracle I just did not see any other way through it all. One day I happened to be sitting down by the television while the movie Bruce Almighty was on.

I’m not sure if you are familiar with the movie but in it Jim Carey or Bruce asks Morgan Freeman or God for a miracle. Bruce wants to change his life, he feels like things have not been going his way and for some reason all of the odds are against him. Being a movie of course something miraculous happens in response to Bruce’s prayer. Morgan Freeman as God shows up and grants Bruce the powers of God and he becomes “Bruce Almighty” with the powers to do whatever he wants. Of course Bruce uses this newly gifted power to get the job he wants, to right all the wrongs of his life and to “make all the crooked places straight”.

Eventually though Bruce comes to find that having this power is not so easy. Bruce neglects all of the important things in life including, the people around him, the woman who loves him and he forgets to take the time to care about others. In the end, all the things that Bruce truly cared about, all of the blessings that were right there in front of him were lost.

He meets up with God again and Bruce says, I just wanted a miracle. God says to Bruce, miracles happen every day, when you see a single mother finding a way to get her kids to school and sports on time, that’s a miracle. You don’t need me for a miracle Bruce you are the miracle. You can be the miracle by going out there and using your God-given gifts to touch others and enlighten their lives. He says that it’s not about what you want specifically but about the gifts I have given you and how you can use those to tap into other people to make a difference and change the world.

At that part I kind of laughed and chuckled to myself, looked up to the sky and said okay God I get it, I get what you’re saying to me. You are saying that I’m here asking for a miracle and you have instilled we with all of these great gifts that I can use to make a difference to touch others and show them that they too have the gift of a miracle inside them. Yes maybe things have not gone my way, maybe I have not gotten the things that I want but you are telling me there are even greater things in store for me if I am willing to go this path.

God I believe you are telling me that by tapping into other people and making a difference within them, by caring I can be a hero touching the lives of others. All God was asking from Bruce was for him to simply be himself and that is more than enough. You are saying that if I a willing to realize this truth then all of the things I have been working for are right here within me. So God I guess the challenge is instead of asking for a miracle it’s time for me to go out there and be the miracle.

My Friends just like God Believes in you, I believe in you. I believe in all the great things you can do and be. I believe that together we can make a difference in this world. We can be bright lights and show others the way. I believe that tomorrow can be even better than today. There is a land that has been promised to us and that land is not out there somewhere it is here within us. The miracle you are looking for is already within you. You are the miracle. Just by refusing to quit, refusing to stop, refusing to lose, refusing to give into the circumstances at hand no matter what you have to go through, that is a miracle.

So my friends go be the miracle, be who God made you to be. God needs you to light the way for other people just like God spoke to me through that movie saying Dom you be the miracle, you go out there and make the difference, show them the way. If you want things to change you go change them. If you don’t want to go through this anymore you rise up and you decide not to go through it. Take the path that has been set before you and make a difference. Be someone who will ignite the miracle waiting inside of others-

I challenge you to be the miracle you need.

 
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Angie Miller and Your Town

I must confess that this year was my first time ever voting for contestants on the American Idol television show. In fact I was voting for one contestant in particular, her name Angie Miller, a resident of my town Beverly Massachusetts. In thinking about Angie Miller and in-between writing my book, I cannot help but to think about the year  the town of Beverly has had over all. A year that includes a historic season and Super Bowl win for the football team the second in the last 3 years. It is a year that includes other strong performing academic and sports programs along with an American Idol contestant. I can’t help but think like Buffalo Springfield, “There’s something happening here.”

When I look around to this small town called Beverly Massachusetts I have to ask myself could this be America’s Town?  You can look on the bottom of any license plate and see Massachusetts touted as the Spirit of America. I think we can all agree that over the past few years or longer as a nation we have had to question that spirit. With the seeming disappearance of the American Dream we have a small town right here saying loudly and quite clear that we still believe. Our actions show not only do we believe but we are willing to put in the hard-work, dedication and perseverance necessary to reach for those dreams, so much so that a young lady can reach for the stars and take her shot on American Idol.

Yes, unexpectedly Angie Miller’s time was ended on American Idol and it was heartbreaking watching her tears streaming down, voice trembling trying to make it through her farewell song. Heartbreaking because like many of you I have recently experienced the same situation, where you do your best and fight so hard with every ounce of your heart and soul and but for some reason things seem not to fall in your favor. I felt her pain because it was my pain. But like Tom Hanks said in Castaway, tomorrow will come, the sun will rise and you never know what the tide will bring in. Angie has a dream, as do I, as do you. She continues forward as will I, as will you. The next day, Angie was on The Tonight Show and then Kelly and Michael, and off she goes, a star takes flight. Her spirit symbolizes Boston Strong, the spirit of a nation and the heartbeat of a small town.

Don’t get me wrong, Beverly is not perfect, we do not always win and we have a lot of internal issues to deal with. Despite these issues I can honestly say that we work as a community to support each other, do our best and win, lose or draw do so with dignity and respect. Yes there are other great towns, in fact I believe you may be living in one of them.

Angie Miller released her heart touching single she wrote, You Set Me Free almost the same time I released chapter 6 of my book, The Promised Land, we all have to start somewhere. I believe that the Spirit of America is alive and well here in Massachusetts and perhaps the small towns like Beverly across the country who represent the heartbeat of a spirit that manages time and time again to rise to the challenge. I may not know you but I am sure you like Angie Miller are a hero because through all the challenges you mange to get back up and come back that much stronger.

Keep dreaming, keep believing, together we have it in us to inspire a nation!

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The Promised Land

To Those Who Attacked Us (On the Boston Marathon)

Et lux in tenebris lucet… and the light shineth in the darkness

Congratulations. In the supposed words of Isoroku Yamamoto after the attack on Pearl Harbor, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with terrible resolve.” Maybe you believe that we the people of Massachusetts especially the town of Boston, the birthplace of the spirit of America would allow your attacks to weaken our resolve. Perhaps you believe that America truly has softened and to strike at its core, its very spirit would render irreparable damage as we the people helplessly surrender to fear.

For all we know you may plan for this to be the beginning of more attacks that will weaken and whittle the resources of our nation. If so you have to the highest degree misunderstood who we are and what we as proud citizens of this nation continue to stand for. Boston Massachusetts is the original ”shinning city upon a hill,” the birthplace of a nation and the enduring spirit of freedom. As Ronald Reagan said, “Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind.”  That placing of destinies started right here on the very soil we traverse everyday in the city of Boston Massachusetts.

You struck first but we will strike last and more enduring not with hate, not with violence but with determination, with love and with purpose to secure the very soul of humanity. We will not be like you, we will be better than you, more than your misguided anger, hatred and cowardice. We the people of Massachusetts and this nation will stand as heroes united. You have not broken us, you have not angered us you have awoken us from our slumber and we are not afraid. We are here to set right what has been for far too long now wrong. A new spirit is rising.

America’s resolve is our greatest resource and you have replenished it on Patriots Day with the blood of true patriots. We will honor those who have fallen. Their marathon will not be forgotten. This shining light, this beacon atop a hill will usher in a new direction for humanity where we are guided by purpose. We stand here today upon a new Promised Land.

God Bless and together we will stand. Through the light within us we will transform the world.

Starting small but thinking big

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Sneaker

This is how I purchased my first car- a sky blue ’76 Bonneville. Me winning a marketing competition when I was 17. A debonaire and handsome mini-afro laced entrepreneur. My Conshy people will remember this my Mass peoples should get a kick out of it. Believe.