Speaker uses volleyball as motivational tool
Bob Holmes single-handedly beat the 11th and 12th grade boys of Monroe High School in a volleyball match.
This was after beating a team of high school girls and before beating a team of teachers to demonstrate how one person can beat a crowd.
Holmes tours the country playing volleyball games and teaching kids about bullying, drunk driving and being safe. In that time he has performed for about 3.5 million people and won about 61,000 games against high school students and professional athletic teams.
After about an hour of engaging the students through volleyball and music, Holmes shared stories from around the nation about teenagers committing suicide, being harmed by drunk drivers and other hardships.
"I (play volleyball) because I don't want to see you dead and I mean it," Holmes told the crowd of about 900 students.
He advised the students to never give up, look ahead, stand alone if they must and encourage each other.
"You're much better off being an encourager," he told the students after sharing stories about teenagers whose lives were saved because of the kindness of others.
Holmes has been touring the nation since 1983. He started playing volleyball as exercise for his back and it grew from there.
He travels to schools and events every other week.
His volleyball games represent "one person beating the odds, standing alone," he said.
Holmes said he was sort of bullied as a child, but nothing bad.
"Things have just escalated," he said.
He enjoyed working with the students at Monroe High School.
"This was one of the best assemblies I've done," he said. When asked, he said that he does not say that about every school.
Sarah Webb, a multimedia and webpage design teacher, played with the group of teachers. They ended up losing to Holmes 21-19, but kept up with him for most of the game, even leading for much of it.
"It felt good," Webb said. She added that she felt a bit sore after the game.
She thought they could have won.
"It had a lot of impact," Webb said. "I think he really hit home."
During other assemblies, she said, the students will often continue to talk and not pay attention. During this assembly it was quiet and they were listening.
Senior Jermainy Hammond was on the team of boys who faced Holmes. He was one of the first players, before Holmes invited three more tall students and eventually all 11th and 12th grade boys.
Hammond thought the team could have won. They played well.
"It felt good," Hammond said. "I had fun."
Hammond said he had never been bullied and had never bullied anyone himself.
When asked what he would do if he saw someone being bullied, he said, "I would stop it."
He learned not to give up through the assembly and thought the assembly had an impact on many of his friends as well.
Hammond, a football, track and basketball athlete, will attend Johnson C. Smith in the fall on a football scholarship.
Holmes may have impacted many of the students. After the assembly, a few approached him asking for an autograph.
Anyone interested in booking Holmes for an assembly can visit www.beatbob.com. Holmes also encouraged people to visit www.vbholmes.homepagepays.com for a free gift from his organization.