Dooling Tells Youth To Visualize Dreams

WALTHAM, Mass. - “I am a visual person,” Boston Celtics guard Keyon Dooling explained to the students of C.A.S.H. High School of Dorchester, Mass. “As a young person I would close my eyes and visualize myself doing something great one day. I am here to tell you that if you can close your eyes and visualize yourself achieving your dreams, you can open your eyes and realize those dreams.”

Dooling’s inspirational words tipped off the Celtics’ annual Black History Month event, presented by the Massachusetts Army National Guard, on Tuesday afternoon.

The 25 teenagers in attendance began the day in the Hall of Fame room at the Celtics’ practice facility with an icebreaking game called “Quick Facts,” in which they were charged with finding the answers to questions centered on African-American history.

“Do you know what happened at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas,” one female student asked Dooling.

Across the room, a male student asked one of his classmates, “What happened aboard the ship La Amistad?”

With students intensely filling out their worksheets as they acquired answers from their fellow classmates and National Guard representatives, Dooling announced that their time was up.

After discussing the significance of many of the “Quick Facts” as a group and getting everyone comfortable with each other, Boston Celtics Community Relations Director Matt Meyersohn pointed out the “confidential” envelope sitting on each of the four tables in the room.

“Inside these sealed envelopes are study sheets for the Slammin’ Trivia game we will be playing,” Meyersohn explained. “You will have the next 10 minutes to learn the information on these study guides as a team. Ready? Go!”

The group of students tore open the sealed packets and began quizzing each other. A few minutes into the cram session, Meyersohn added, “Oh I forgot to mention, the winning team from trivia will be getting a prize signed by Keyon!”

The teens let out a collective roar and the intensity of the room was instantly elevated. “I have never seen them so excited to study,” a school chaperone laughed.

A few minutes later and sensing that the students had enough time to learn the material, Dooling invited the students down to the court to play some basketball. Whispering to one of the school chaperones, the Celtics guard sneakily said, “Let’s go distract them for a little while and see how much information they retained from the study guide.”

For the next 20 minutes, the C.A.S.H. students ran end to end, shooting 3-pointers and heaving half-court shots on the Celtics practice court, only stopping to capture the moment with an impromptu cell phone picture.

When students reconvened on the bleachers after they properly worked up a sweat, they noticed the Slammin’ Trivia board displayed on two easels. The anticipation mounted as Dooling and Meyersohn read the game rules to the teams.

“Team Green Stars, you all can go first,” Dooling decided to the disapproval of the other three teams.

“We will take African-American Politics for 400,” a member of Team Green Stars shouted. Dooling tore the question card off of the game board and read it to the groups.

“This set of laws mandated the ‘separate but equal’ status for African-Americans in the late 19th Century. What is the name of these laws,” Dooling asked.

All four teams huddled, fiercely wrote down their answers on a post-it note and ran them over to Dooling.

“The correct answer is ‘The Jim Crow Laws,’” Dooling exclaimed to a smattering of loud cheers.

After 20 minutes of questions and answers, the group arrived at the final question dubbed the “Game Winner.”

“Each team will be able to wager as many points as they would like on this final question. If you get the answer right, your team will be awarded the amount of points you wagered. If you get it wrong, the wagered points will be subtracted from your score,” Meyersohn explained.

Once all of the points were wagered, Dooling pronounced, “Alright it is crunch time. Here is the final question: What prolific author, civil rights leader and historian graduated from Harvard and wrote the book ‘The Soul of Black Folk’ as well as 21 other books in the early 20th century?”

For the last time, the students huddled together with their group and emerged with a scribbled post-it note representing their team’s fate.

Ready to shout out the answer and proclaim the winner, Dooling cleared his throat to the sound of team A-Team singing, “Na na na na, hey hey hey, gooodbyeee.”

“The Game-Winning answer is… W.E.B DuBois!” Dooling shouted. “Team Rondo, you are today’s winner,” he added to overwhelming boos from the losing three teams.

“Great job today,” Dooling stated. “I think everyone deserves a gift!”

The students screamed in excitement and were handed a Keyon Dooling autographed poster containing famous and uplifting quotes from African-American leaders of the past.

One quote by Harriet Tubman read, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

For the students, the poster will serve as a great reminder that if they can close their eyes and visualize themselves achieving their dreams, they can open their eyes and realize them. Just like Dooling.