My brother, Seamus Kelleher, is an amazing high school drama teacher.  He writes original plays for his students and coached the high school football team for many years.  He recently shared a story with me about one of his students that was very inspiring.

In grade 8 this student injured his knee and was not allowed to play contact sports.  He got the all-clear four years later in grade 12, joined the high school football team and was a superstar.  All the university scouts started showing up at games to watch him play.  The problem was, throughout his education he kept hearing that he wasn’t university material so he shouldn’t bother trying for that route.  He listened to those voices.  At the end of grade 12 he had mostly college level courses and not many options for school.  He loved playing football and he didn’t want that journey to end.  So my brother and some other supportive teachers told him it didn’t have to.  They recommended that he come back for a fifth year, take university-bound courses and some transfer courses.  They told him that if he worked hard he could indeed go to university.

So he came back for a fifth year of high school, played football, was a star, and at the end of the school year he had earned a 78% average.  He was accepted into the University of Toronto and best of all, he also made the university football team.

His dream had come true.

Until the last game of the season when he was hit illegally and suffered a career-ending knee injury.  He was devastated.

Many would have given up at that point, but this student didn’t.  Even though he could no longer play football, he wanted to finish what he started. He wanted to prove to all those who said he didn’t belong there that he did.

He finished his degree and became the first university graduate in his family.

The moral of the story?  Don’t listen to those who say you can’t.  You become what you believe.

In September the retired football star is entering his third year of law school at the University of Windsor.

What a game-changing touchdown.

As author H. Jackson Brown Jr. once said, “Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than the one with all the facts.”

Will we listen to those who tell us we can’t?  Or will we go out there and show them we can?