Duche Bradley

8 Words


April 21, 1991 - My life changed, and I've never been the same... I WISH I could help EVERYONE Experience the AMAZING "Knowing of GOD!" Knowing Him, Not in a church, maybe in a prison, or now a small hotel room, by myself, with a heart broken for Him, because I know I am nothing without Him.


I complain, when I should say thank you... I worry when I should pray... I get angry when I should be thankful... I don't know why He loves me, but He does... He hears my cry and responds to my faith in Him...


That's why I'm not concerned with critics... Not a titile, in the corporate or the religious world, can  silence what He has done for me and told me to say... He is my KING, and I too like Whitney Houston, singing "I love the Lord", will hasten to His throne....


My Talk with GOD

Looooord, when you called me, no one else wanted me.... and I didn't know what you had called me to do..... Maybe because if I had known, I wouldn't have shown....But I answered the call, I said yes, then you told me because I answered, I am chosen...


Since I am chosen, I would have to sacrifice things in this life, that I would have chosen for myself. This way, when others see me, and I deliver Your message, they will know You cannot be attained with Money, Power, or by positions given to People, You are so much more.  You give me my strength.... It is You! My Father, My GOD, and My Savior KING....


Thank you for messing up my plans, I didn't see it then, but I do now, it was so I can share Your message. I'm truly humbled in heart and to my knees...  I will worship You alone....


The key to being chosen, is to answer when He calls.... and He is calling you right now...

 Will you choose to say "Yes Lord Jesus, your servant is listening, Yes!"...





I remember when I was introduced to the game of football, no one figured I would be very good.  As a matter of fact, no one had any expectations at all.  I remember be scared to even show up at weigh ins, and meeting all the other buys who already knew one another from playing the previous year.  I was 10 years old when I became a Bellmar Purple Eagle. That was the name of my first team I ever played on and we would lose only one game all season, the State championship. The score was 14-13, and I scored all thirteen of our teams points.


I remember my cast of misfit coaches, Irish, Italian, all having foul language and speaking to children as if we were all adults at the corner pub. We would start each practice with a lap around each goal post, then huddle into one large pile and recite these words,


“Our father, who art in heaven, hollowed by your name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us of our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever, Amen!”


We would say that before every practice and every game, but I had no idea who we were saying it to, or why we were saying it. I was clueless. You see, growing up in South Jersey, and being Irish or Italian, it was kind of your birthright to consider yourself Catholic.


It was always perplexing to me. We would always recite that prayer before practice and games, I would see them make the cross sign on their forehead and across the chest, and then say things in front of us that ten years olds probably should not hear.


One of the most profound experiences I had, was when we went to scrimmage the Camden city team.  Camden has for many years been a very depressed community with a lot of crime.  I remember riding in my coaches car and listening to them talk about Ngers this and Ngers that.  I remember all of them having pocket knives and showing them, and even guns in their cars, suggesting if any trouble breaks out with those Ngrs, they were ready.


This was a new experience for me.  My neighborhood growing up wash all white, many different ethnic cultures integrated throughout, but I had never experienced this kind of talk in my own home.  The crazy thing about it for me, is I knew inside it was wrong. Wrong to call someone names because their skin was a different color. Wrong to imply that just because someone didn’t look like you or grew up in a poor area of the city, it meant they were criminal or somehow not equal to those who had arrived in the car with our team.


Well, we played that Camden city team. I remember walking onto the field and after looking them over, I can remember one of my teammates, an offensive lineman, asking “where are the players our size?!?!  The funny thing is, he was only asking what everyone else was thinking.  We got our butts whooped that night.  Then entire ride home, I listened to our coaches make excuse after excuse why we lost. Ummmm, because they were better.



We didn’t play Camden city during the regular season, but we did play all over the state of New Jersey.  We had accomplished a 2-0 season, when my parents told the coaches we were moving to Pennsylvania in about a month. By the time of our move, we were 6-0 and I had become a pretty popular player, running for touchdowns in every game and getting my name and picture in the newspapers. I had become the star player of my team, and I had no idea what that meant.  All I knew was when we won, we would go to Ginos restaurant and I would order a Hero sandwich after the games.  My greatest challenge wasn’t running with a football, it was fitting an entire Hero into my little 85 lb body.


We moved in the middle of the season and I remember thinking I wouldn’t be able to play football anymore. Then my coaches pulled my mother aside and asked if she would be willing to meet them in the Poconos every Friday night, so they could drive me back to New Jersey to play our games.  We did this for the next 6 weeks. I remember the first time my mother dropped me off, we pulled into the Howard Johnsons hotel and restaurant and I began hoping they wouldn’t show up.  Then they did. Three of the coaches rode together in some small car, and when they pulled up, I began to cry because I had never been away from my mother. I still remember riding in the back seat of a small car with four people and huddling up in the corner, wiping tears so no one would see.


At one of our home games, the team we were playing had a number of black (African American) players and one of them in particular was a really good running back.  His name was Leroy. I remember because everyone pitted us against one another, mostly because we were both running backs and both the most popular player on our teams. When I met Leroy, and I only think I did this one time. I didn’t see why everyone was talking so badly about him.  The worst name they could call him the provoking “N” word, because there really weren’t any noticeable flaws in his personality or character. Every criticism was about the color of his skin, and that just continued to confuse me.


Once the game started, I would become even more perplexed. I was just there to play football.  My mother wasn’t at the game, I wanted to just get it over so I could return to the refuge of home.  I was having a good game, but Leroy was having a great. The better he played, the more disheveled the fans became. Then all of a sudden, I began to pay attention to the crowd that had begun a chant from the stands.  I didn’t understand the words at first, but then my teammates started to laugh and clue me into what our fans were saying.


 Ewwwe ewwwwe, Ahhhh ahhhh, send him back to Africa


I do not feel the need to explain this terrible antagonizing anthem.  I found it then and still find it to be today an embarrassing expedition of racist gesturing and a display of self-incriminating behavior.


Milton, Myron and Southern Fried Chicken

A year later, I was living in my small rural town in the heartland of Pennsylvania. As I walked from my home to the school I was attending, I don’t think I passed anyone along the 4 block journey.  I was walking and spinning a football in the air to myself when I saw someone walking across the football field by himself.


I changed my direction and walked toward him, hoping I had found someone to throw football with and hopefully pass the afternoon boredoms away.  As we approached one another, I noticed he looked like Leroy.  He was a really good looking teenage boy, athletic in appearance and with skepticism, we said hello, and exchanged names.  “My name is Myron.”  I asked if he wanted to throw ball and he obliged. I think we threw ball for the next 4 years together and became best friends.


Myron invited me to his home, a 3 bedroom apartment, where he lived with his parents, two older brothers, an older sister, and younger twin brother and sister. As I walked into the apartment to meet his family, my nose was pleasantly smacked with the aroma of southern fried chicken, collard greens, beans and corn bread… Whhhheeeeeeeeeeeeew…. I can still remember the smell of that southern fried chicken.


As I entered the dining area, which was connected to the small kitchen, I noticed a woman, not too large, but not small. She was round, but had an amazing smile and the most inviting way of saying in her southern twang, “Heeeeeeeeeeaaaaaay, How arrrre yooooouuuuuu?!?!? You want some Cheeeeeeeicken?” I replied, “Yes.” I would later learn her name was Hattie Rose, but everyone called her Ms. Hattie Rose, and I would eventually call her “Momma.”


One by one Myron’s brothers and sisters came down the stairs and into the dining area, very excited to eat, and I said hello to all of them.  Big Mo, Craig, Paula, the twins, Pookie (Laura) and Bo Bo (Cliff) and Myron, who was called (Beanie).


As the commotion from grabbing plates and loading them with food was taking place, I suddenly noticed everyone becoming quiet and I heard large footsteps coming down the hallway. What happened next has stuck with me forever.  I saw a large black man turn the corner of the dining room, and he began to ask each of them if they had washed their hands. One by one, youngest to oldest, I admired their reply. “Yessir, yessir, no sir, yessir, no sir, yessir.” Then I listened to the silence as he commanded the atmosphere with his presence.  WOW, I had never responded Yessir to anyone, nor had I ever heard anyone say it in response to a parents questions.


I admired that, even though it was evident Myron and his brothers and sisters were not as easily impressed as I had been.  Then I heard a bellowing voice ask the question, “Who is this sitting at my table, and hasn’t introduced himself…. Oh my goodness, is he talking to me…. Please someone say something, my tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth and all of a sudden my watering mouth had become dry. I finally got the nerve to answer, “My name is Brad.” He then asked the table, “Who is he friends with, Beanie?”  Beanie replied, “Yessir!”  Well introduce your friend next time boy!” “Yessir!” I ate as many chicken drumsticks as I could.  It is still the best chicken I have ever eaten in my life.

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Copyright 2013. Duché Bradley. All Rights Reserved