« Don’t worry Mama, football gonna take care of me. » said the first black man to play for Chelsea in 1981, who still remembers that pain of racial abuse when even his own fans called him animal names.
After reading Anne Frank, Miss Gruwell’s class then raised funds to fly Miep Gies over from the Netherlands to speak at their school. After Miep speech,
Marcus, a husky, former gang member, once living in the street, raised his hand and stated, “You are my hero!”
“Oh no, young man, I am not a hero,” she said. “You are the heroes in your own life story – I just did the right thing at the right time.”
“When I was your age,” I explained to my class, “women were second-class citizens. Female athletes and books about them were non-existent; very few female biographies were published. My hero was Harriet Tubman a brave, athletic slave who escaped to freedom and then led others on Underground Railroad.”
“How come the Negroes live in shacks?” I asked with the innocence of an ten-year-old.
“Because they are so poor,
“Why the poor?”
“Cause they don’t have any land.”
“Hey, I see lots of land,” I said pointing to towards a sprawling plantation with stately white pillars. “The whole town could fit in that house; it’s bigger than a hotel!”
At Piney Woods School, my brother and I played basketball with the black boys on a dirt court in a sun-baked paradise surrounded by pine and honey-scented pink and white magnolias. I thought I had died and gone to heaven
I am X-Pat, a feisty globetrotter. Teacher, writer, coach, speaker, and trailblazer with the down-to-earth, open-armed persona of The Heartland and a European twist. I have lived in four different countries, speak three languages and raised two bi-cultural kids with one très bon Frenchman. My passion is inspiring courage, breaking barriers, and creating connections.
Down and out? Hopeless and helpless? No matter where you are in your journey, my stories can help pick up your spirits, make transitions, gain new perspectives or just escape the daily grind.
If you deny a woman’s history, you erase her identity. I reveal the athlete’s untold story, from the passage of Title IX through forty years of social change. What makes it different from other sport biographies is the voice of a woman who walks the talk, who dribbled the ball and tells the story.