THE BULLYING OF “NERD” WILLIAMS

Sometimes life places us in situations to challenge and teach us valuable lessons about the real world. My name is Clyde “Clutch” Lawson, and I have experienced such challenges in my life. I’m sharing this story for the youth of today so they may benefit and learn from the things that happened to me. Those who are of a more “mature” age will probably relate to most of what I have to say; you may have had similar experiences in your life.

It all started when I was a junior in high school. I was a three-sport-super star back in the day and my fellow classmates nicknamed me “Clutch” because of my athletic prowess. I seemed to be the player who was always involved in key moments on the field or court. Articles appearing in the sports section of local and statewide newspapers were constantly mentioning my name in their write-ups, and touted “Clutch” Lawson as the hero of the team. The tag of five-star athlete started surfacing and college recruiters were in hot pursuit. My 6’4” 220-pound physique must have excited the college coaches just a bit.

All the hype was actually embarrassing because I was really a shy-quiet-humble kid who just loved playing sports. I happened to excel in the sports I played—God had truly blessed me with some remarkable physical skills. First, and foremost though, I was a team player. I felt my teammates should have been sharing the spotlight with me. They certainly deserved it as their efforts made me look good on many occasions. Unfortunately, the media attention was out of my control. All I ever wanted to do was play ball—any kind. I loved competing and having the opportunity to use my God-given talents to help the TEAM win.

Bob “Nerd” Williams was one of four-hundred junior classmates at Greenburg High School, so named for the small South Carolina town of Greenburg. Nerd was a good nickname for Bob because that’s what everyone in our class thought he was. His thick-black-frame glasses and the pocket-protector in his shirt were the culprits that led to us calling him Nerd. Add to that, Nerd was a small-framed kid, standing about 5’6” tall and weighing no more than a whopping 120 pounds.

To say Nerd was not very athletic would be stating the obvious. He struggled to keep pace in our physical education (PE) classes no matter what we were playing. When we picked sides for teams, Nerd was always the last one selected, and I was usually one of the first. I could sense Nerd’s pain as he stood alone waiting for one of the captains to call his name. I had never been in his position, but I sensed his pain. To put it bluntly, we were bullying him.

I finally came to my senses one day in PE class. I was one of the captains that day and my first selection was Nerd. His face lit up as if I had selected him to be on an Olympic basketball team. All the other boys gasped and started laughing about my selection. They started making snide comments about Nerd and then began chanting “Loser! Loser! Loser! Clutch picked a loser!”

I saw Nerd’s shoulders slump and his smile vanished as if the hand of worthlessness had slapped him for no good reason. The volley of insults hurt him deeply. Without hesitating, I shouted, “Knock it off guys! Let’s play some basketball. We’ll soon find out who the big losers are. Let’s take it to ‘em Bob! We can do this!”

In that moment, all my athletic successes in life seemed insignificant to me. I realized the true emotional pain that others suffer in a world where winning and being the best in athletics were more important than an individual’s worth or character. From that point forward, my compassion for others began to change. God may have blessed me with athletic talents, but He also blessed people like Bob with special intellectual talents also.

Well, Bob and I didn’t win the basketball game that day, but I learned a lot about myself. I took a stand against bullying, and in a small way, made a difference in the life of a fellow student. I did it not to seek glory, but because it was the right thing to do. For that, I am grateful because I experienced something more important than winning a silly basketball game—I found a new friend.

Bob and I went our separate ways after graduating, and as is often the case, we had little contact in the years that followed. He attended an Ivy League school and I went on to play college and professional baseball. When I retired, I started travelling around the country giving motivational speeches at high schools and universities. Many of my speeches recounted the story of that special day I stood up for Bob many years ago. I couldn’t help but smile each time I mentioned it as I remembered how happy Bob was to hear me call his name first that day.

I was in the middle of a speech at a high school in Maryland when I felt a sharp pain in my chest and collapsed on stage. The alert staff called 911 and an ambulance transported me to the local hospital. I obviously don’t remember anything that happened after I collapsed, but I do remember waking up in the intensive care unit the following day.

I was pretty much out of it when I heard a voice saying, “Wake up, Clutch. Clutch, open your eyes.”

Standing beside my bed was Dr. Bob “Nerd” Williams with a big smile on his face—the cardiologist who had saved my life the day before.

I thank God every day for placing someone like “Nerd” in my life. I now fully understand that as we go through life, what we do for others while seeking nothing in return are some of the best things we can ever do. Don’t be afraid to stand up for what’s right because it may save your life one day many years later.

STOP THE BULLYING!

Blessings to all,

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

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HAPPY FATHER’S DAY

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

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BLESSING FOR TWO

Tom Tatum – Author 2017

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AUTHOR! AUTHOR! BOOK EVENT

Come join me for some conversation, storytelling and meet the authors at the same time. Looking forward to seeing you there.

If you can’t make it to the book signing, look inside the books on Amazon at:

http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Your comments are always welcomed and appreciated.

Blessings to you and thank you for your support.

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor  LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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Messages From God

God sends people messages in many forms—through things, gestures, miracles, tragedies, and others (friends, family, and strangers). How people receive God’s messages depends on their mindset.

For instance:

  • Some have never heard about God; they are not aware of Him, so they don’t understand the source of the messages.
  • Some say God doesn’t exist; they are aware, but choose to deny God and His messages.
  • Some think they are too busy; they receive the messages, but  do not take the necessary time to listen.
  • Some receive the messages but simply choose to ignore them.
  • Some believe, listen, and understand God’s messages and choose to follow Him, spreading His word to others.

Each person who has heard God’s words has the right to choose whether or not they believe in Him. Unlike many false gods, God, the creator of all things, does not force anyone to believe, listen, or follow Him. It is the responsibility of those who do believe to serve as modern-day disciples by spreading His word to those who deny or are unaware of His love and grace.

Once informed of God, people have a decision to make—follow or ignore Him. Those who try to spread His word must then move on and continue to serve Him by informing others. The mission of Believers is to spread His word to others, not force them to transform. Transformation is between God and the newly informed; they will be dealt with according to His will.

JesusToldHim2

Do you have what it takes to be one of God modern-day disciples? If you do, you will become a fisher of men.

Matthew 4:19 (KJV)

And he saith unto them, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Tom Tatum – Author – May 1, 2017

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THIS DAY IS DONE

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THIS DAY IS DONE

Although this day is done,

Each hour was filled with fun.

I’m sad to say goodbye,

But really don’t know why.

 

If God gives me one more,

I’ll feel blessed to my core.

But should this be my last,

I thank Him for  my past.

 

I tried to served Him well;

His word I sought to tell.

When He judges my soul,

His hand I pray to hold.

 

If you feel the same way,

You know of what I say.

If His light shines through you,

Others may know Him too.

 

Blessings to you and yours,

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

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ANGEL AND THE SILVER DOLLAR

There are times in life when we find ourselves in situations that we can’t explain while it is happening. I experienced such a moment when I was a young boy. It wasn’t life threatening, but it was certainly surreal. It was a special moment—one I can still visualize it as if it happened yesterday. However, it occurred fifty-six years ago.

So, what brings about such moments as this? Well, it’s simple when we understand that sometimes in life there are forces far more powerful than ourselves helping us accomplish feats that are beyond our abilities. Allow me to explain the moment I experienced.

When I was a youngster, I was very shy. I never liked being the center of attention—NEVER! I just wanted to do my own thing without any fanfare from others.

At age eleven, I had the honor of being one of fourteen players selected for the 1960 Orangeburg Little League All-Star baseball team. That in itself was a major milestone for me because there were many talented twelve-year olds who also played during the regular season. I was very fortunate to have some of the coaches recognize my ability to play baseball. However, unknown to them, their confidence in me set in motion the unusual event that was about to unfold.

allstarteam1960

What I didn’t know at the time was that this was going to be a defining moment in my life—both athletically and spiritually.

I was the starting centerfielder in the first Little League All-Star game in Barnwell, SC. To say starting the game surprised me would be an understatement. Anyway, I took the field with butterflies flying around in my stomach to the point I felt as if I was going to hurl my lunch before the game started, but, thank goodness, I didn’t.

The game had gone great for our team and we had a one-run lead in the bottom of the last inning. Then, momentum swung to the other team and they had men on second and third base with one out. I stood in centerfield with a lump in my throat and prayed, “Lord, please don’t let the batter hit the ball to me.” That’s not exactly what an “all-star” player should be thinking at such a time.

Unfortunately, for me, God didn’t respond to my innocent-childlike prayer the way I had hoped He would. On the very next pitch, the batter hit a hard line-drive straight toward me—the most difficult trajectory and direction for an outfielder to catch the ball.

I ran toward the ball and caught it just above my shoelaces for out number two. The runner on third base tagged up and headed toward home plate. If he scored, it would tie the game. If my throw was off-target, the runner on second base could also score and we would lose the game. Without hesitation, I reared back and fired the ball toward the catcher. It was a perfect strike, and the runner was out by two strides. It was a double play, and the game was over. We won the game!

I couldn’t believe my eyes! I had never thrown a runner out at home plate from centerfield in my life. The fans went wild and cheered louder than I had ever heard before. As I ran off the field, my teammates gathered around me and celebrated the moment—the victory and the throw! Though there were not thousands of fans in the stands that night, it sure sounded like it to me. To say the least, I was happy for what happened, but I also wanted to hide.

I was shocked by what I had just accomplished. The moment was truly surreal. I thought, “Did I really do that? Was I dreaming? How did that ball leave my hand and hit the catcher’s mitt for a perfect strike from centerfield?”

That’s when I paused and said, “Lord, You didn’t answer my prayer the way I wanted, but thank You for blessing me with an angel to guide my throw to home plate.”

After the game, the father of our pitcher came over to me and congratulated me for my unbelievable throw. He said, “That was a great throw, Tatum! An awesome play like that deserves a reward. This is for you.” That’s when he placed a silver dollar in my hand—the only money I ever received for playing baseball.

silverdollarcoin

I’m sure you can imagine the joy I felt that night, but I knew I didn’t make that throw on my own. An angel assisted me on the field that night, and yet, I received a silver-dollar reward for “our” effort.

It is the special moments in life that make you smile, and this moment has put a smile on my face for over fifty years. Have I ever told my grandchildren this story? Sure, I have! Many times, and I smile every time I tell the story. In fact, I’m smiling right now!

Here’s the amazing finale to the story. I tried throwing a ball in similar situations at practice more than a hundred times and never made that play again. Without any pressure of a real-game situation, I couldn’t repeat the “magical” throw.

I’m sure the Lord has more important concerns than helping a young boy throw a ball to home plate, but I also know I could never have made that throw on my own. Then again, what if…

Jesus looked at them and replied, “This is impossible for mere humans, but for God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:26

So, what do you think happened that night? Did I suddenly have powers far beyond my abilities or did an angel assist me? No one could be that lucky.

I’m sure you have also had similar moments in your life. Would you care to share one of your special moments when you accomplished something beyond your capabilities?

Blessings to you and yours, and have a great day!

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/tomtatum

Twitter: @TomTatumAuthor LinkedIn: TomTatum1

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