Wednesday, June 17, 2015

No Excuses: A Memoir by Derrick Coleman Jr.

**I didn't receive this book from anyone, I purchased the hard cover version at Barnes and Noble in Daytona Beach, Florida as a birthday gift for myself**
5/5 Stars
Synopsis per Goodreads:
The first deaf athlete to play offense in the NFL (and win a Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks!) relates his inspirational story of hard work and determination in his own words. Great for readers of all ages.

The inspirational memoir from the popular current Seattle Seahawks running back Derrick Coleman Jr., who, in just his second year in the NFL, won the 2014 Super Bowl with the Seahawks. Showcasing his unlikely and challenging journey to become the first deaf offensive NFL player, he talks about overcoming internal obstacles and external obstacles (bullies and naysayers) in the course of reaching your true potential.

I'd like to start out first by explaining myself before I dive into my review.  I had no idea who Derrick Coleman Jr was until I saw his Duracell commercial in the middle of the season that the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.  Once I saw it, I jumped the bandwagon.  I became a Seahawks fan.  I have been cheering hard ever since, I don't care who taunts me for jumping the bandwagon, I am player #12.  I cried hard when they lost their second bid at the Super Bowl.  I cheered even harder when I heard #40 was returning from his injury this year.  Who is number 40? why Derrick of course.  He is the first deaf offensive NFL player in the history of NFL.  He's the first, but thanks to doors opening, he won't be the last, I just know it.  Why do I care?  I myself am hard of hearing.  I wear bilateral hearing aids (both ears) since I was 3 years old.  When I saw the commercial and read the closed captioning of what he was narrating, my soul jumped up and down and screamed YES! he knows what I'm talking about!  Right now I am 34 years old, I am a single mom, but while I'm not a professional sports player, I am pretty rare in my choice of a career, not many people can say they know a deaf medical assistant.  Yep, I'm in the medical field.  I have a special stethoscope to hear blood pressures with, and I have to concentrate extra hard on both patients and the Doctors that I work with, not all of them like to look at you and speak clearly.  So..yes, my soul rejoiced when I learned about Mr. Coleman.  Enough about me! lets get on with it!

I have read this book twice now.  TWICE.  Once because I inhaled it, then a second time because I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything by inhaling it.

This book was well written, it was an easy read, I don't normally pick up biographies to read, I have enough going on in my own life to read about someone else's drama.  But being who he is, and his message of positivity that he talks about frequently, his helping of children who are also deaf, and everything that he represents, I wanted to read it.  Turns out he really does understand.  Most everything he talked about in his book, I felt or dealt with in some way, from the hearing aids batteries, to behind the ear headphones.  Being picked on and called stupid and told no.  How we don't know how we sound without them and usually end up shouting.  Having to wear the giant box around our necks and handing each teacher a microphone to speak into.  How we are dead to the world when we sleep without them, and Elementary school is just plain BRUTAL.  but fear not, because like him, I experienced the friends and surge in popularity too in Middle school, and especially high school.  I enjoyed reading about the things he went through, his football days, how he didn't get drafted, how it made him feel.  I loved how he didn't dwell on the details of his being bullied in elementary school, instead focusing on trying not to remember it, because he has moved past it.  He and I are worlds apart, I am in Florida, I am older, I am a mom, I love to watch NFL, but if I tried to play it id be sat out within seconds I haven't learned the coordination, but when I read the words of his books, I was right there with him going OMG YES! me too! and not knowing anyone else like myself really, it was awe inspiring to know that I AM NOT ALONE!

Derrick Coleman Jr is humble, he strikes me as the type of person by the tone in his voice that is down to earth, easy to talk to and 100% real.  He inspires so many people, so many kids, and obviously so many adults, but he doesn't see the big deal, because all he had to do was work for it, work hard for it, and if he can do it, so can so many others out there, right?  he's really inspiring to so many.

I so very highly recommend this book to everyone, not just the hard of hearing community, but to everyone because he really is inspiring, his mantra Be Yourself and No Excuses are truly words that everyone can grasp and live by.  Thank you Derrick Coleman Jr for being who you are!  You are an awesome guy.

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