Players share the Character Playbook
“How do you cope with intense emotions in hard times? What’s your motivation to stay happy during hard times?”
Nichols Junior High School students didn’t shy away from asking the hard questions after receiving a play-by-play lesson on integrity and mental health from Dallas Cowboys center Tyler Biadasz and offensive tackle Terence Steele, along with Medal of Honor Museum president and CEO Chris Cassidy.
In partnership with the United Way Foundation and EVERFI, the Dallas Cowboys celebrated Salute to Service Week by hosting Character Playbook LIVE at the Medal of Honor Museum Preview Center. Character, service and mental health were topics on the table at Tuesday’s panel discussion, and students were eager to learn tips on overcoming adversity and coping with stress.
“Character is what you do when no one is watching,” said Cassidy. “There are a lot of things we can’t control in life, so we have to focus on what we can control, and that’s our reactions and emotions.”
Practical solutions like exercising, breathing tips and staying present in the moment were given when students asked about dealing with stressful situations at school or home. The panelists also suggested verbally communicating thoughts and emotions to someone you trust to help maintain positive mental health.
“It’s okay to not be okay,” said Biadasz. “Don’t be afraid to talk to someone about what you’re going through. Whether it’s students, teachers or coaches, they want to hear from you.”
Biadasz and Steele emphasized the importance of utilizing mental health resources available in schools, like counselors. That’s what the Cowboys players do every Friday before a game when they visit with the team’s mental health coach.
Nichols students attended the event in person, while students from two schools located near military bases joined and asked the trio questions virtually.
“Events like these are special because they really make a positive impact on my students,” said Nichols teacher Sabrina Taylor. “The Character Playbook allowed them to have meaningful discussions about dealing with their emotions and stressful situations, but to them it meant even more that they were selected to be a part of this celebration.”
To continue spreading awareness, Biadasz, Steele and other members of the offensive line will wear cleats that honor mental health awareness and military service in this weekend’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.
If you want to join the Character Challenge to make all schools bully-free, check out characterplaybook.com to learn how you can make an impact in your school.