There is no better way to start a Friday than to hear inspirational messaging about anti-bullying.
“You have the potential to change a life,” said Jason Colero, director of education and community programs for the Toronto Argos Huddle Up program to an auditorium full of Middle School students.
A piece of pine board, a sledge hammer, a hammer, nails, and stickers served as the metaphors for Jason’s bullying story. Every time he explained an act of bullying, a nail was driven into the board by the sledge hammer – a symbol of the pain he felt and the mark it left on his emotional psyche. Eventually, a teammate came to his rescue, and that was the moment the claw of the hammer started to remove the nails. For every positive interaction Jason described, he placed an Argos sticker over top of the holes, but he reminded the boys that the holes are permanent – they are just hidden under the surface.
Following this powerful demonstration, Jason introduced Troy Davis, a defensive lineman for the Toronto Argos who previously played for the New York Jets, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
While his 2017 Grey Cup championship ring made its way onto the finger of every Middle School boy, Troy shared an important message about bullying, along with his story of achieving his dream.
“You may not always be strong enough, but a friend or someone you don’t even know may have the courage,” he said of making it through tough situations – a reminder to the boys that they all need to be good upstanders. “Cool is standing up for someone.”
Troy claimed he wasn’t always good at football, but that he worked hard and stayed focused in order to reach the big leagues. Everyone will face some kind of adversity in their life, he explained, but they are strong enough to get through it. He left the boys this message: “Life has something special for each and every one of you guys.”
Jason returned to the stage of Ketchum Auditorium with one final quote: “Good timber doesn’t come with ease; the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees.”
St. Andrew’s College has been a partner with the Huddle Up program for 11 years, and this visit comes ahead of an upcoming Eyes Open Week in the Middle School.
Story by Nicolette Fleming