By Lyonel Doherty
Mixed martial artist Marlan Hall from Oliver is an inspiration to youth on many levels.
First, he has a goal – to be a UFC champion.
Second, he has spirit – to succeed and help others through coaching.
Third, he denounces bullying – having been a bully himself and making amends for it.
Admitting that you tormented and intimidated other people takes a lot of courage. And making amends by letter of apology takes even more guts.
We commend this young man for doing that and hope it rubs off on other bullies seeking power and authority.
When angry and insecure youth hear his story they will hopefully realize that it’s better to be respected than feared, loved than hated, befriended than shunned.
• Read more: Up and coming fighter discourages bullying
I recall a school bully (Arnie) who delighted in making kids tremble whenever he walked by in the hallway or schoolyard. He would shove you from behind in gym class or put you in a headlock while you waited for the bus.
It was terrifying, and his older brother, Rick, was worse; he would take kids in the bathroom and they would emerge a minute later with a black eye.
I don’t recall Arnie and Rick having many friends, only a couple of tag-alongs who acted tough in their presence. I wondered if their fathers were bullies, too.
I wish I could go back in time and ask Arnie why he tormented kids so much. Was he lonely? Would he like a true friend? He probably would have beat me up more for asking those questions.
Years later I ran into him in an electronics store where he worked. He sold me an $800 VCR. It was all business but I knew he remembered me . . . remembered all of the intimidation I suffered at his hands. He never did apologize; probably too embarrassed.
That’s why I was so impressed with Marlan Hall. He knew what he did was wrong and he made it right. Now he’s chasing a dream that he believes can be achieved with hard work and perseverance. The fact is most dreams are obtained by exactly that.
To all the bullies out there, ask yourself what you are really achieving in life. Is hurting others the only way you can amass power and be happy? Don’t kid yourself.
Find your passion and develop it. Turn it into a goal and help others along the way.
Now that is power that demands respect.