It all started with a mom desperate to help her son.
Carl Tubbs, 12, of Des Moines, Iowa, has been taking Irish dancing lessons for four years — and he’s really good at it. According to ABC News, Carl expends extra hour practising during recess at school to assistance him get ready for competitions.
But there’s one big problem. Carl’s choice of pastime has stimulated him a target for school bullies. Dancing is “for girls, ” they tell him, and he’s often teased mercilessly.
Feeling powerless as her son was being tormented, Carl’s mom, Joanne, did what any caring parent would do. She … reached out to an NFL star on Twitter?
Recent profiles of Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins revealed a surprising facet of his develop: He, too, was a fan of the Irish jig.
The quick-moving, foot-focused dance style helps Collins remain light on his feet while avoiding crushing jolts from opposing linebackers, and with Collins emerging as a top player at his position this year, his unique training style has garnered a lot of attention.
Joanne Tubbs reached out, hoping there was some way Collins could help her son.
To her astound, Collins responded to her tweet. But that was only the beginning.
“Never stop doing the things you love because someone else doesn’t concur, ” Collins replied. “Chase your dreamings Carl and don’t let them stop you from being great! “
Collins offered to meet Carl before the next Ravens game in Minnesota — which is driving distance from Carl’s home — to give him some more terms of encouragement.
Before and after the game, Collins met with the Carl, introduced him to his teammates, devoted him a team-signed football, and told him to hold his head up.
In other interviews, Collins has revealed that he was also pestered and bullied for his interest in dance. But not anymore.
Carl said Collins simply told him, “Just keep on moving forward and they’ll learn that picking on someone is not OK and eventually it’ll get better.” He also noted that, with an NFL star in his corner, the bullies have since apologized.
We need more dudes like Collins who are willing to break down tired old ideas about what makes a human.
Not every child who gets bullied receives a public reveal of support from a major sports figure. There wouldn’t be enough time in the working day. The best thing male role model can do is lead by their own example.
Men can be physically big and strong, or not. They can like football or dancing, or both. But the one thing they should never have to be is ashameds of being who they are and enjoying the things they do — especially when it breakings with traditional standards of masculinity.
Kudos to Collins for living the message, and for taking the time to make sure the next generation knows it’s OK to simply be themselves.
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