Reading Created a Path that Led Me to the Super Bowl
September 07, 2017
Malcolm Mitchell, Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots
Starting college, reading was not a priority. Maybe the ease of running a route, or the immediate gratification of catching a pass soothed enough.
Eventually I grew tired of always struggling in class. Putting as much effort into reading as I put into football practice became a necessity to grow into the person I so dearly wanted to be: A person who does not run from their inabilities, but embraces them, learns and uses each challenge to become better.
Earlier this year, I was very fortunate to be a part of the Super Bowl winning team. It is such an unbelievable honor to be a member of the New England Patriots. Football has always been one of the accomplishments of which I am most proud.
My other proudest accomplishment has been becoming a better reader, inspiring kids to embrace reading in order to change their lives, and turning my love of reading into becoming a published author. A person that has found words to be just as soothing as a touchdown.
I even found a team to support me along the way.
Junior year of college, I joined a woman’s book club—becoming the only male, and the youngest in the group by an entire generation. But that did not matter. In fact, when someone called me a nerd, I wore it as a badge of honor.
My mother taught me that it doesn’t matter where you come from, nor where your journey begins. The only thing that matters is that we wake with the interminable intentions to be better than we were before.
I truly believe in order to be the best person you could possibly be, you have to open up a book. You have to open your mind to the opportunities that the world has to offer. In order to reach your full potential, you have to read. In order to succeed, you have to read.
If football is all I am remembered for in life, I will have failed my mission: to help other people experience the power and magic of reading.
That is why I started the Read with Malcolm Youth Literacy Initiative. Our mission is to transform the lives of young students through literacy. Our main goals are to introduce book ownership to students in households where opportunites to read are not readily available, to improve literacy in schools with below grade-level reading skills.
Through school visits and Reading Rallies, we are able to personally share our core message that reading is a critical component and necessary skill for us to compete effectively in life and to fulfill our maximum potential.
So, as we celebrate International Literacy Day, I want kids everywhere to know: The most life-changing thing you could ever hold in your hand is… a book.
This story is part of the #Recommit2Kids campaign, marking the 20th anniversary of America’s Promise Alliance and calling the nation to recommit to action on behalf of children and youth.
Malcolm Mitchell is a wide receiver for the New England Patriots and founder of Read with Malcolm. In 2015 he wrote The Magician’s Hat about the magical power of books and has plans to release a new version of the story on Feb 27.
The 5 Promises represent conditions children need to achieve adult success. The collective work of the Alliance involves keeping these promises to America’s youth. This article relates to the promises highlighted below:
These six platform areas are based on the collective experience and expertise of individuals at organizations engaged with young people across the country, the experience of young people themselves, and our own research. The platform areas are a statement of best practice – they are what has been demonstrated to work to improve graduation outcomes for young people: