Tackling Bullies From the Right Side

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“You’re a tub of goo.”

“Fat boy.”

“Stupid.”

“Lazy.”

Imagine if these words were the soundtrack to your childhood. You’re a Texas boy who is ignored and shunned, even picked on by your older brother and sister.

That was life for Connor Williams. When he wasn’t being bullied, he was ignored. Told to get up from the lunch table so the kids on the football team could sit down.

Today, that bullied boy is a top draft contender for the NFL. Williams used his experience to make him stronger both mentally and physically, but he hasn’t forgotten the pain. The Texas All-American tackle takes a deep breath and hesitates as he remembers the pain and rejection. “I never hurt myself and I never really heard about kids cutting themselves and things like that until about my senior year in high school. I didn’t even know it was out there. If I knew it was out there, I might have resorted to that. I cansee how kids get to that point.”

When Connor was in fifth grade, he had size 11 shoes and weighed 160 pounds. But it wasn’t just his size, Connor was even mocked for how he spoke.

But Connor protects the kids from school, even now. When a local reporter asked for their names, he would only give first names. Even so, some former classmates did come forward to say they didn’t know it had been so rough for Williams.

One former schoolmate, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “It was bullying. It was. It’s hard to say that now. It wasn’t just Connor; there were others who got it, too. I guess kids will be kids, but that’s really just an excuse. But yeah, Connor got a lot of it. It was wrong, and I feel horrible about it. I was watching his story on the Longhorn Network and thought, Man, we were assh–es, punks. I can’t imagine the courage it took for him to talk publicly about it. Hopefully one day

I’ll have the courage to apologize to him.”

Some of the harsh treatment even came from his older brother Dalton, seven years older than Connor and the future quarterback for the University of Akron says now of his younger brother, “I remember those things happening, but as a kid, you’re not aware how much an impact it’s making on your brother. For him to have gone through that and be where he is today, it’s an unreal story.”

Even his sister, Morgan, who is six years older, remembers, “I was not a huge help. It was not uncommon for Connor to be the butt of a joke.”

So what is it that Connor Williams become the man he is today instead of another young suicide statistic? [Suicide remains the second leading cause of death for teenagers] Williams credits hisparents, saying it never even occurred to him because he knew that once he got home, he was safe. His parents credit their son and his determination.

That determination led Williams, at age 14, to start walking around the track while the football team practiced. His father installed pull up bars in the garage and put on the P90X workout series. And, of course, puberty kicked in and brought with it muscle mass. What kids once called “fat” was now a body made for football.

Soon, Connor was the Big Man On Campus, and in a good way. Every major college program offered him a football scholarship. And now, after three years playing for Texas as an All-American tackle for the Longhorns, Connor reflects, “I wouldn’t trade what happened to me for anything. It made me who I am today.” And who he is today is a man who will stand before the NFL draft this April surrounded by family and friends.

But this possible NFL star has not forgotten where he came from, he has a strong desire to help other kids deal with bullying, “that’s why this story is so important,” he says, “It would be great of other kids didn’t have to go through it.”

If you’re a teen who is being bullied, or know of someone who is being bullied, please reach out for help. Visit: https://www.stopbullying.gov/get-help-now/index.html

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