Special Segment, IN SEE Culture

MLK DAY SPECIAL – Tackling Through the Endzone

I seriously reflected on a man dear to me this MLK Day weekend. I was thinking about my dad and his dreams! He was nine years old when Martin Luther King Jr delivered his infamous 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech outside the Washington monument.

Christmas Eve 2022 in the Queen City. The family is in pre-holiday mode, as we attended a family outing, the Carolina Panthers football game, hosted by my nephew. First-class football stadium where high-caliber football players showcase their talent on the big stage. Captivating view of the gigantic Charlotte skylines in the background as I watch on. Drone sliding through the field to get a closer view of the football action! The audience gathered in the arena, cheering in the cold weather as they watched these highly talented players perform on the field. 

Father and Daughter at Carolina Panthers vs Detroit Lion game

Panthers fans, Lions fans, Shirtless fans, “I don’t care for either team” fans, and the “I’m not a football” fans filled Bank of America Arena, making their presence known on the jumbotron. There was one fan that stood out in the arena. That fan was my father, Bruce Morrison. I couldn’t help but notice the excitement and intensity on his face as he watched the players on the field. “That could’ve been me,” stated my father while he watched the game. “I wonder how I would perform in the NFL if that were me.” My father continues, sharing stories of his high school football days. The story my father talked about his high school friend, Alexander “Bunny” McMillian, who tried out for the NFL, mentions that my father was faster than players who made it in the league. I reached out to my father’s friend. He excitedly shared stories of their high school football days. 

“Bruce was a gifted football player. He was the best teammate you could have. Your dad was the first one on the field and the last one to leave. He was a talker and can back it up. Don’t ever dare him to do something, he will do it. Your dad can run, throw, and catch the ball. He loves scoring touchdowns. Bruce had a vision and could see two steps ahead of the field. He was gone another 5-10 yards when the lanes were open. We would have had a chance to win the state championship if I wasn’t hurt during my junior year. He should have been in the NFL,” shared McMillian.

I reflect on my father’s words at the game. His words zoned me back to my childhood. The drive alongside my sisters in my father’s Black Buick to the lake and the park as he shared his childhood stories with us. My father instilled greatness in us, making us feel we could do anything if we set our minds to it. Those words of surety were soothing to my soul. It made me believe that I could be somebody in this world. 

My father grew up in turbulent times in the 1960s. Racism was highly visual and limited African Americans of opportunities for hope. He heard the words of negativity that he would be a nobody. He knows what it’s like to have negative words and limitations from racist humans, aiming like a dart into your brain stems, wounding one’s heart and soul. 

Bruce Morrison 2016 Athletic Hall of Fame photo frame

My father said to himself that he would never allow that to happen to his children. Despite his deterred football dreams, he promised to carry the ball of greatness to his children and the generation to come, to go above and beyond in pursuing their dreams. 

My father challenged his children and grandchildren to think beyond their limitations. He always said, “Words are powerful! Life and Death are in the Power of the Tongue.” 

My father understood the negative effect of words in deterring one’s hopes and dreams. He believes in the power of speaking life into any situation. 

From hearing my father’s stories, I reflect on what would happen if my father furthered his football career on the big stage. He might not have the opportunity to advance his talent on the big stage, but he’s considered a hero in my book. He marked a legacy for himself and carried the torch of the “I Have a Dream” momentum to his children and the next generation. He received an induction into the Hoke County Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016, as his football contributions didn’t go unnoticed. He went on to own an electrical company called TT&T Electrical Services. 

On this special MLK Day, I’m here to say don’t waver on your dreams. Stand tall like the Martin Luther King Jr monument in Washington, DC. Fight through the tackles of life to make it to the endzone. Score the touchdown to win the game by fulfilling your purpose. To those out there that didn’t pursue their goals, throw the football to others, sharing your experiences to help others run to the endzone to pursue their dreams.

Stay on course! Don’t allow negative words or circumstances to cause you to give up on a play. Keep your eyes on the ball. It will require you to jump, run fast, and break through tackles to prevent the opponents from intercepting the football. Gain all the yards without getting a penalty to score to the endzone of your dreams. 

Martin Luther King Jr sacrificed to start his dream of providing a better future for his kids. My father, too, made sacrifices to give a better future for his children and the generations to come.

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