A Little Background

I’d like to share a little background about how I became a youth speaker for teens. It really all comes down to two things I’ve always loved: hitting people and yelling at people. Let me explain.

 — Hitting People —

I was introduced to football at the age of nine. I immediately fell in love with the game. I mean, come on, my parents let me strap on little plastic pads, run around as fast as I could, and then slam my body into other small children. What wasn’t there to love? Little did I know that this game would pay my way through the greatest college on the planet (The Ohio State University!!) and give me the platform to become a motivational speaker for teenagers. The day I was offered a scholarship to play football at OSU, I immediately began receiving invitations to speak at schools, churches and other organizations. I took every opportunity I could to share my story, and by the time I graduated, I had developed the reputation and the skill of a decent speaker. That, combined with a few college football championship rings, opened the door to a full-time career as a motivational speaker.

— Yelling at People —

(OK…I don’t really mean “yelling” at people, but speaking to a large enough group that you need to amplify your voice.)

As a child, I remember taking note of how frequently I found myself in a large group, listening to one person speak. It always fascinated me to think about the great opportunity of public speaking. Why just talk to one person when you can speak to dozens or hundreds, or even thousands of people at one time? This fascination led me to dissect the things I heard public speakers say as well as the way they said them. I often thought things like, “He could have said that better if he had just…” and “That joke would have been funnier if she would have said…” When my platform as a college football player brought some speaking requests my way, I jumped at the chance to take the mic. The rest is history.


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Stand your ground.  Don't back down.

What does it mean to stand your ground? People today are
constantly making commitments and breaking them.  Look at
divorce rates, credit card debts, New Years's resolutions... and
the list of unfulfilled promises goes on.  It it even possible to
keep our commitments?

Stand your ground,  Don't back down.

Joel Penton says, "Yes it is possible" - he knows from
experience.  Like most of your students, Joel was put into
situations in middle school and high school where it would
have been easy to compromise and break his commitments.
However, he chose to rise above the pressure and keep the
committments he made in school, in football, and in life.

Stand your ground.  Don't back down.

Joe will say that it takes character, it takes will, and the road
will be hard.  But his personal experience is proof that ordinary
people can accomplish great things by simply following through
with the commitments they have made.  Your students will be
inspired and reminded of the importance of not just making
committments, but also keep those commitments.

Don't back down.  Stand your ground.