Is there a person in the United States who has not heard the amazing story of Derrick Coleman?
I am not a sports fan, I don’t watch a lot of television, and I am not plugged in to YouTube or Twitter very much. But, when a friend sent me a YouTube link to the amazing Duracell commercial, it stopped me in my tracks.
Before the Duracell commercial went viral, very few people knew Coleman was deaf. His coach and team mates made no special accommodations for his hearing loss as he went about his business of being the very best Special Teams player he knew how to be. His integrity, determination, and will to win impressed his Seattle Seahawks coaches during the 13 games he played at Seattle prior to the Super Bowl. Coach Pete Carroll put the second-season player in the Big Game. Coleman made the first tackle of the Super Bowl during the game’s opening kickoff. and the rest, as they say, is history.
What is so intriguing to me is how Coleman’s world has become large enough to impact others and to make their world a better place. It is not all about Derrick Coleman. It is about using celebrity for the greater good. “Any opportunity I get, I always cherish it,” the 6-foot, 233-pound Coleman recently told the New York News. “You only get so many opportunities in a lifetime. This is one of them that I definitely don’t want to squander, I definitely don’t want to pass up.”
Colman and the Starkey Foundation teamed up to hand out hearing aids to 100 New Yorkers at Yankee Stadium the day before the Super Bowl. New Yorkers with hearing loss came from all over the city and were fitted by hearing healthcare professionals at the stadium! Coleman even got some new hearing devices for himself! Coleman reached out to the family of a young girl who wrote a letter to him after seeing the Duracell Commercial. The young girl and her identical twin both had hearing loss. Not only did they get to meet their hero on Good Morning America, but their hero presented them with Super Bowl tickets for them and their entire family!
I am inspired by this. Coleman’s hard work and perseverance has paid off handsomely for him. And yet, he has not forgotten where he came from and what he went through to get there. As a member of the deaf and hard of hearing community, I am thrilled and proud, and oh-so-happy for what Coleman is doing with his newly-found celebrity. He is showing the world that persons who are deaf and hard-of-hearing can do everything except hear. His rising tide is lifting all of our boats. Thank you, Derrick Coleman!