Believe in Others

Photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash

To download these free stories, please enter the newspaper publication you represent with your email address.
We will email you when we add new stories each month. Thanks!

Note: We are committed to keeping your e-mail address confidential. We do not sell, rent, or lease our contact data or lists to third parties.
Please see our privacy policy for details.

Please enter your organization and email above before downloading these articles.

Download PDF Word .doc Download Photo .jpg

Pass It On®

Believe in Others

By The Foundation for a Better Life

Wrestling is the ultimate sport: One-on-one, you win or lose; it’s up to you. Which sounds a bit harsh to gangly high school boys trying to fit in socially as well as win a little respect on the mat. They look more like flying monkeys than athletes, and only a few have grown into their singlets. Michael stands in a circle with the other boys. At the center of it all is Coach Dave, a former college wrestler, now history teacher, who doesn’t miss a moment to inspire this gawky clan with tales of Spartan warfare. Sometimes he talks about his heritage: the strength of his Hispanic mother and the determination of his Dutch father. It all melds into a philosophy of believing in yourself.

“I honestly believe each kid can win every match,” Coach Dave says. “And I tell them that.”

The mental strength gained from a coach is as important as physical strength. And Michael soaked it up, the same way blood was sopped up in old socks pinched on bloody noses. As a freshman, Michael lost half his matches, but the next year the practice began to pay off.

“It finally just clicks,” Michael says. “You walk onto the mat, and you know you’re going to win. All the hours practicing and visualizing suddenly align, and when Coach Dave tells you how you are going to beat an opponent, you just go out and do it.”

At a tournament in Reno, Michael was ranked nationally and faced a wrestler from the Midwest ranked a few spots above him. In the final seconds of the match, ahead by one point, Michael clung to the lead while his opponent clung to his ankle, trying to get a takedown. Michael was hopping his way out of the circle to gain a restart. It’s the easy way out, like a boxer ducking out of the ring to get a breather and preserve a lead. With his back to his opponent, he took one more step. The opponent grabbed the other ankle, and Michael went down. Two points. Match over.

It’s hard to know who was more disappointed, Michael or Coach Dave. They sat in a corner, and Dave asked one question: “Are you going to run away from challenges in life or turn and face them?” Michael knew exactly what he’d done wrong---and that it could become a lifelong flaw if he didn’t correct it. All he had to do was turn into his opponent and counterattack. “You’ll beat him next time,” Coach Dave said.

That tournament was a double-elimination tournament, and Michael would go through the losers bracket all the way to the finals and win the tournament. That’s the comeback part, but not the most important part of the story. He would win a lot of matches that year. But the encouragement from that folding chair sanctuary is where he learned the most.

“When someone believes in you like that, you know you can do it,” Michael says. “I often hear Coach Dave when I’m in tough situations. ‘No excuses, just do it.’ That encouragement has been my guide.”

This is not the story of an extraordinary young man making his way to the Olympics or the top echelons of NASA. It is the story of a young man who worked his way through law school---twelve-hour days and a shift each night as a cook at a BBQ joint. “I changed my habits because of his belief in me,” recalls Michael, now a volunteer coach at the high school. “I try and be that person to these young men. You need people in your life who believe in you. They become part of who you are.”

When someone believes in us, we gain the strength to do the work we have to do.

Believe in Others... PassItOn.com®

Copyright ©2021 The Foundation for a Better Life. All rights reserved. Available under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License (international): https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Pass It On®

The Foundation for a Better Life, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, gives your newspaper permission to publish these stories in print and electronic media (excluding audio and video), provided the stories are published in their entirety, without modification and including the copyright notice. For any modification, permission must first be obtained from the Foundation by emailing media-relations@passiton.com. Thank you.

  email

Your Comments
Here are some other inspiring newspaper articles you might like.
It’s Not Your Lifespan, it’s Your Wingspan.

It’s Not Your Lifespan, it’s Your Wingspan.
How one girl’s 16 years of life impacts thousands.

The Future Belongs to Kids.

The Future Belongs to Kids.
So far, things look pretty bright.

Recognizing the Need.

Recognizing the Need.
How a neighbor took a disaffected young man under his wing and taught him how to be a man

Never Give Up.

Never Give Up.
Lessons learned from Preston Tucker, creator of one of the most innovative cars in American history.

Living Alone doesn’t Mean you Have to be Lonely.

Living Alone doesn’t Mean you Have to be Lonely.
How a community in Maine supports those who want to be left alone.

Let the Music Move You.

Let the Music Move You.
Bob Geldof has spent a lifetime seeking harmony in the world.

More Than Just Dancing

More Than Just Dancing
How inclusion helps overcome mental illness.

Beatrice Shilling

Beatrice Shilling
The motorcycle daredevil who became a mechanical engineer and saved the lives of countless pilots in WWll.

Overcoming Our Own Worst Mistakes.

Overcoming Our Own Worst Mistakes.
Kaelin Clay made an unpardonable error in football. And he owned it.

Our Local Heroes in Scrubs.

Our Local Heroes in Scrubs.
How health care workers saved the day.

Using the Write Words

Using the Write Words
How an African American Woman Wrote her Way to Freedom.

A Most Unlikely Friendship.

A Most Unlikely Friendship.
How the war in Ukraine brought two families together from opposite sides.

For Soccer Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Every Day is Mother’s Day.

For Soccer Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Every Day is Mother’s Day.
Fortune and fame have allowed the soccer great to take care of his mother after all she has done for him.

Something Healthy for All of Us

Something Healthy for All of Us
How 17-year-old Barron Prize Winners Annie and Shirley Zhu provide fresh food for 1,400 people a year.

Never, Ever Give Up.

Never, Ever Give Up.
The incredible story of the 12-year-old cancer patient who brings joy to half a million children fighting cancer.

A Custom of Respect.

A Custom of Respect.
How the Japanese soccer team brings sportsmanship to the game.

Cross Safely.

Cross Safely.
How one man made sure his retirement years were spent helping kids move safely through life.

To Stay or Run?

To Stay or Run?
The courageous story of a collegiate wrestler who fought a grizzly bear to save a friend. With thanks to the Cowboy State Daily.

The Last Person you Think of Should Probably be the First.

The Last Person you Think of Should Probably be the First.
How a group of high school boys practiced the art of inclusion.

Taking Care of the Most Vulnerable.

Taking Care of the Most Vulnerable.
Pam Tully dedicates 6 months a year to rescuing baby flying foxes alongside the volunteers who help her.

A Hero for Accessibility.

A Hero for Accessibility.
How an 8-year-old girl captured the attention of the nation and motivated Congress.

You’re Never Too Old to Make a Difference.

You’re Never Too Old to Make a Difference.
British WWll veteran Captain Tom Moore raised over $45 million for charity at age 100.

The Science of Happiness.

The Science of Happiness.
How a high school senior made sure an entire elementary school got Halloween.

How Far Would you go for a Friend?

How Far Would you go for a Friend?
The story of Dindim, the penguin who travels 5,000 miles every year to visit with its rescuer.

A Lesson We Should Never Forget.

A Lesson We Should Never Forget.
The incredible story of American POWs smuggling rations to Russian prisoners at Stalag-B.

Reach for the Stars…

Reach for the Stars…
No Matter How Long it Takes.

The Little Things that Make the Biggest Difference.

The Little Things that Make the Biggest Difference.
How one man created a forest the size of Central Park by planting one tree a day.

The Legacy of Dorothy Vaughan.

The Legacy of Dorothy Vaughan.
The Hidden Figure who Helped Put a man on the Moon.

The Curse of Texting and Driving.

The Curse of Texting and Driving.
How one father turned personal tragedy into triumph for thousands of teenagers by creating the Honor Connor Scholarship Fund.

If You Love Dogs, You’ll Love this Story.

If You Love Dogs, You’ll Love this Story.
A German shepherd slept at his owner’s gravesite.

Stay Curious.

Stay Curious.
The remarkable underwater life of Jacques Cousteau.

Give Peace a Chance.

Give Peace a Chance.
How a Mexican-American Marine negotiated peace speaking Japanese during WWll.

Taking Care.

Taking Care.
How one woman turned a life of neglect into a lifetime of taking care of people.

The Least Likely to Help.

The Least Likely to Help.
How a bedridden attorney still fights for the rights of others.

Laughter is the Best Teacher.

Laughter is the Best Teacher.
How humor and history go together in this classroom.

Are You Smarter Than a Seventh-Grade Business Owner?

Are You Smarter Than a Seventh-Grade Business Owner?
How Kidpreneur Alejandro Buxton is making money for college and helping others.

Everybody Can Be a Hero.

Everybody Can Be a Hero.
How window cleaners brightened the day at a children’s hospital.

Listening to the Music Inside.

Listening to the Music Inside.
The long journey of Maria Tallchief from the Osage Nation in Oklahoma to prima ballerina in New York City.

No Strings Attached.

No Strings Attached.
How a 7-year-old girl brings joy to neighbors with her violin.

Road Trip Across America.

Road Trip Across America.
A discovery of what unites us.

For the Cost of a Box of Cereal.

For the Cost of a Box of Cereal.
How just noticing makes all the difference in the world.

Education is for Everyone.

Education is for Everyone.
Reading and writing are the basics of an education. See why a 90-year-old Kenyan great-grandmother went back to primary school.

Going the Distance.

Going the Distance.
Why top collegiate and professional athlete Dillon Shije will never stop running for his people.

The Brotherhood in Sports Goes Beyond the Field.

The Brotherhood in Sports Goes Beyond the Field.
How a men’s rugby team supported one of their own.

Finding a New Family at the Mountain Man Rendezvous.

Finding a New Family at the Mountain Man Rendezvous.
How a Vietnam vet pulled himself out of drug addiction by going back in the past.

Turning Tough News Into Hope.

Turning Tough News Into Hope.
How 11-year-old Jordan Phillips raised $120,000 to help fund cancer treatment.

Beyond the Moon with an Eye on Mars.

Beyond the Moon with an Eye on Mars.
The story of a young woman who dreamed of pushing the boundaries and now designs launch systems for NASA.

Billy Mills

Billy Mills
The story behind America’s first and only 10,000-meter Olympic champion.

Photographs that Changed the World.

Photographs that Changed the World.
How the searing photographs of Walker Evans’ America during the Depression created a national change in attitude toward the poor.

The History of Us.

The History of Us.
How a football coach develops young men by teaching them their own history.

Bigger than Life.

Bigger than Life.
How Premier League superstar Sadio Mané is changing the world beyond soccer.

A Diamond in the Making.

A Diamond in the Making.
How an everyday superhero saved the day by taking time to go through the garbage to find a stranger’s wedding ring.

How to Honor Your Mother.

How to Honor Your Mother.
Warrick Dunn played in the NFL for 12 seasons. His most impressive stat: He’s built 200 homes for single mothers. And he’s not done.

Born to Make a Difference.

Born to Make a Difference.
Kids who are changing their world.

Including Everybody Means Everybody.

Including Everybody Means Everybody.
How Inclusion Films is making movies using crew with developmental disabilities.

Sometimes the Wrong Direction is the Right Way.

Sometimes the Wrong Direction is the Right Way.
How a wrong number, a wrong text and a mix-up led to long-lasting friendships.

Ramping Up to Help those in Need.

Ramping Up to Help those in Need.
How a community came together in a time of tragedy.

Everybody Gets on Base.

Everybody Gets on Base.
Measuring the victories of life, one single at a time.

No Matter Who You Are, You Can Always Help.

No Matter Who You Are, You Can Always Help.
The day Muhammad Ali rushed to save a stranger who was about to take his own life.

Teamwork that Saves Lives.

Teamwork that Saves Lives.
How a high school baseball team lifted a car off one of their classmates pinned underneath.

Being a Mother…

Being a Mother…
The roundabout journey to a dream fulfilled.

The World Awaits You.

The World Awaits You.
The story of the first woman to circumnavigate the world.

Courage in a New World.

Courage in a New World.
The story of Stagecoach Mary, the first Black woman to deliver mail in the Wild West.

Don’t Let a Bad Day Trick You Into Believing You Have a Bad Life.

Don’t Let a Bad Day Trick You Into Believing You Have a Bad Life.
Allie Newman not only survived cancer but also helps hospitals better meet the needs of teenage cancer patients.

Bringing the Moon to your Living Room.

Bringing the Moon to your Living Room.
How 14-year-old Philo Farnsworth tinkered his way to the technology that broadcast the moon landing.

Playtime is for Everybody.

Playtime is for Everybody.
A dad sells off his business and builds a theme park for disabled kids.

Let the Kids Give it a Try

Let the Kids Give it a Try
How 17-year-old Dasia Taylor developed sutures that detect infection.

Going Deep to Deliver Kindness.

Going Deep to Deliver Kindness.
Free-dive record holder Enzo Maiorca rescues a trapped dolphin, then watches as it gives birth.

An Impossible Journey.

An Impossible Journey.
How John Wesley Powell navigated the Colorado River and Grand Canyon in wooden boats.

The Art of Pitching.

The Art of Pitching.
A little confidence at the right time goes a long way.

Finding Our Way.

Finding Our Way.
Using the natural elements around her, Kala Baybayan Tanaka navigates the ocean in a canoe for up to three weeks using nothing but observations of the natural elements around her.

Taking Responsibility.

Taking Responsibility.
How one high school student supported her family during the pandemic.

Fix it Yourself.

Fix it Yourself.
How one couple moved hundreds of miles from home to run a center for pregnant teenage girls.

When the World Says You Can’t, Listen to the Inner Voice that Says You Can.

When the World Says You Can’t, Listen to the Inner Voice that Says You Can.
The legacy of Susan La Flesche, the first Native American to earn a medical degree.