Our meeting was quite by accident. Chatting over a mutual Facebook friends post on the importance of vocabulary to express feelings and thoughts properly, Daniel Snead requested my friendship, and I accepted. Not knowing fully who he was, or what type of resolve this young man had. That was in June. This past weekend, he showed me and several people in the Rochester, NY area, just what he was made of.
This weekend, Daniel set out to shoot a Marathon of Hoops to raise money to help teach urban youth valuable lessons in vocabulary. That’s 26,220 baskets. God only knows how many shots he made in addition to the ones that he sank.
I happened to see an update in my news feed on Saturday night after I was about to go to bed after being frustrated about something not worth my frustration. So I clicked it. And became enthralled for several hours. Now, stay with me here, because I’m teetering dangerously close to acting like a voyeur of sorts. I promise you, I’m not – well not in that way, anyway. I was inspired. Here it was three in the morning in New York and Daniel was busy shooting away at baskets with the encouragement of his wife, three young men to help retrieve balls, and someone who I think was there keeping tally of the baskets shot.
His setup was humble. A video camera to help stream him to those of us who were still up at this hour, a table for those tallying, and the gym of a local school. I sat and watched as he shot basket after basket with such focus. THAT is what made me keep my laptop open all night long. This one person, who I’m assuming can’t be much older than my baby brother if that, had been going for 30 hours, shooting baskets and doing it to HELP OTHER PEOPLE.
Then I did something that I didn’t think that I would ever do. I got up, found my purse, and went to his site to donate. Money. To a person that I have never met. He had me at the fact that he was helping children. In HIS community. I’m sure that with time, his program will branch out and help kids all over the nation because that’s the type of person he seems to be. Remember, I’m only seeing him from a video stream being shared.
I typed something that I thought was encouraging into the chat box and then he surprised me again. He stopped shooting hoops, checked his phone and then took time out to look directly into the camera, and humbly thank me for tuning in to support. I almost wept. Mostly because we’re not seeing these types of stories on the news anymore. THIS is the reality television that should be aired. THIS is the type of headlining story that needs to take place more often. THIS is the type of individual that I want my children to grow up seeing. The type of guy that my husband and I strive to find in our communities, because what mainstream media is showing is NOT who is representative of us.
I found that the longer I watched, the more I realized that even if I wasn’t viewing on that camera, he still would have kept going. He still would have been shooting hoops because he made it up in his mind to do so. I do recall saying a tiny prayer when he went back to the court to start shooting again after a small rest break, and immediately called friends over to help him lie down in the middle of the court. I can only imagine how his physical being was screaming in pain, but he didn’t let that stop him.
I kept the laptop and the live stream up all day Sunday. At about 4:30, I noticed that he took a stance at the 3 point line and started shooting baskets underhanded, and a little before 5:00 pm CST, after 49 and a half hours of shooting with no sleep, he dropped his 26,220th basket into the net and the crowd that had been growing around him all evening erupted in cheers, including me. In my office. In Chicago.
I was proud. Of a man who I have never met. I felt like I was a part of something epic. And I left the live stream feeling inspired. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve felt inspired by something so pure. He just has a desire to teach vocabulary to children. A love of words to the people who are going to be using them the most in the next few years. He wants to share his passion, and he did – with one houseful in the city of Chicago.
I’ve deemed it necessary to help spread the word for Daniel as much as I can. I do feel led to this, and with so many sponsored posts on blogs these days, it feels so good to be able to do something without sponsoring behind it. Something that speaks to the human desire to achieve.
Daniel is asking for $1 per basket shot. He has a long way to go to reach his goal of $26,220. If you can do something, I’m sure he would appreciate it. Give up a latte, or that pop (we say pop here in the midwest) that you were thinking about purchasing in the morning. It’s going to a great cause.
If you do decide to donate, let him know that the Houseful sent you, and then pass it on. Together WE can make this young man’s vision come to fruition. If you want to see a little bit more, check this video out, and go out and be the inspiration for someone. If his speech alone isn’t enough for you, I’m not sure what else will be. Support a dream.
You can follow Daniel on Twitter at @HDictionary on Facebook at The Human Dictionary and I’m pretty sure he’ll be all over your television station’s soon. Godspeed Daniel, and may the Lord richly bless your services!