Tag Archives: bullying


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.


Blessings to all,

Tom Tatum – Author – 2017

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I grew up in a Christian family and always tried to do the “right” thing, but these two Bible verses diametrically oppose each other. The two verses cause a bit of a dilemma as to what one should do when faced with a difficult situation such as bullying.

Leviticus 24:19-20 (NIV)

Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury.

Matthew 5:38-39 (NIV)

 You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.


This is a true story of a bullying experience I had in my youth. In your opinion, which Bible verse is appropriate to follow in the bullying example presented in this article? Did I do the right thing? Did I overreact? Would you have handled it differently? I invite you to share your thoughts.

Bullying is not a new activity; it has been around for eons. The difference between bullying during my childhood and that of today seems to be about numbers—bullies tend to operate in “packs” today as opposed to the lone-wolf bullies during my youth. Add to that the “you can’t discipline a child” attitude that exists in today’s world and you have an environment that actually promotes bully behavior.


When I was a young boy, my father was never shy about the discipline thing; I’m grateful he wasn’t. I was also fortunate to have a father who drew a line in the sand between good and bad behavior. I always knew which side I was supposed to walk on. Unfortunately, many kids today don’t have a father figure to draw the line for them. Heck, many kids don’t even know who their father is.

Dad taught me to treat others respectfully, especially girls. He told me there would be times when others would not do the same to me. His advice to me was, “Son, never pick a fight, but never run from one either. Try to be the bigger man and walk away when possible. However, if it’s not practical to walk away, stand your ground and protect your friends and yourself.”

Well, there was a time in life when I was in the eighth grade. I was shy, soft-spoken, and pretty much a loner. The few friends I had were more like acquaintances rather than bosom-buddies. There was a guy (let’s call him Bob) in my class that had been held back a few years, so he was about two-years older. He was the class bully and made life miserable for many of my classmates. Everyone feared him.

I was walking down the stairs to my next class one day, as were many other students. Bob was on his way up. When he got beside me, he shoved me against the wall sending my books flying all over the place. The other students backed away fearing he’d do the same to them. I gave him the “Tatum” evil eye, but proceeded to pick up my books. He approached me and did it again. I told him he had better not do it again or he would regret it. The “turn the other cheek” thing was boiling within me, but the “eye for eye” thing started dancing in my mind. However, I contained myself.


Bob laughed and mocked me. “What ya gonna do little boy?” as he proceeded to do it again. That’s when the “eye for eye” of Leviticus took control. Without saying another word, I pushed him against the wall. He lost his balance and rolled down a few steps. My reaction enraged him because no one had ever stood up to him before, at least not in front of a group of fellow students. He jumped up quickly and charged at me again. That’s when I placed him in a headlock and landed two quick punches to his midsection. He fell to his knees gasping for air. I shouted, “I told you not to do it again!”

I calmly gathered my books and headed to my next class as if nothing had happened. The other students started cheering as I walked away, but they didn’t hang around very long—fear of what Bob would do to them returned, so they scattered quickly.

Was I pleased with what I did? No! Did I do the right thing? You tell me?!? I tried to walk away as Dad told me to do, but Bob persisted—he was an obnoxious bully. I did not pick the fight, but again, I did as Dad told me to do—I stood my ground and protected myself.

The interesting thing that came out of this was Bob never bullied me or any other student after that day. He ceased his bullying antics and blended in with the rest of us. I guess Bob just needed someone to stand up to him—someone to show him the light. For that, I’m proud. I even picked up a couple new friends after the incident. However, the question remains—did I do the Christian thing?

I never talked to Bob after our encounter, nor do I know what happened to him as he moved on with his life. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear he became a minister and started serving the Lord. That comes from Dad telling me I should always look for the good in others, but in Bob’s case, the preacher thing may be taking it a bit too far.

Bullying annoys me and I even devoted a chapter to “pack” bullying in my novel On Green Diamonds: Pursuing a Dream. It involves the bullying of a young, fatherless boy. Please check it out and let me know what you think about that situation also.


Be blessed, respect others, don’t pick fights, but stand your ground when necessary. One more thing—always remember to help your friends in bully situations too. You might even help tame a bully by doing so.

Did someone bully you when you were a child? Do you know someone who has or is currently being bullied? Have you ever been a bully? What is the best way to handle bullying?

Simply comment on this post or send a private email to ongreendiamonds@gmail.com if you prefer. Either way, I’d like to hear about your personal experiences.


Tom Tatum – Author – 2015

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