Thursday, August 10, 2017

KarliBell33 & Peanut Tillman

On all of my platforms, my handle for everything for my personal brand is KarliBell33. Many people have asked me what the 33 stands for, and there's two reasons as to why I have 33 on the end of my handle: 1) @KarliBell is not available because someone who's never tweeted has that handle (rude) and (2) that number has been a part of my life since I was a kid.

I could just give you the short and sweet answer, but I'm going to explain it in depth. For those who know me know that I played sports at the competitive/organized level ever since I could walk until about my junior year of high school. Basketball was my main love, travelling all over of the region playing that sport.

The first team I was on that was considered competitve was my grade school team in 4th/5th grade. We were allowed to choose our own number. Because I had the ego I did, I chose No. 1. That ego is still here, but it's in check now. In 5th grade, someone ended up taking that number, because we were getting brand new jerseys. At this time, a certain cornerback by the name of Charles "Peanut" Tillman joined the Chicago Bears. He was my absolute favorite player next to Brian Urlacher on the Bears during this time, and he wore No. 33.

At the time, I chose the number solely based on the athletic ability of Peanut and didn't know much about him. As I grew older and became a bigger and bigger fan of the Bears and of football in general, I started reading about what he's done in the community and for his family.

I remember when news was circulating about how his daughter had to go through some pretty rough times with her health. When he was interviewed about this, I remember seeing someone that wasn't just an athlete; he was a very humble, kind, caring human being that was blesssed with athletic talent. He goes through the same struggles as everyone else, but what struck me the most was his humbleness.

Peanut has always been a great football player. His stats can prove that. However, the impact he's made on the communities he's lived in, especially Chicago, are innumberable. The impact that he's made on me personally as an adult is incredible.

Through his actions, he shows how to lead people and how to gain respect. He showed that egos shouldn't get inflated. Take everything you get as a blessing, because it can be taken from you as fast as it was given to you. He is truly an inspiring individual and just a phenomenal image of great character. Even after his career, he gives back to the community and is still horribly influential to people at all ages.

Now, with him being in the broadcast circle, I look up to him even more. He teaches me new things about the game every Sunday. He's so personable through the camera, and I try to copy my own camera presence off of his. He shows pure confidence and swagger on air, and it's a beautiful combination I wish I had.

I did meet him once when I was about 11 years old at the Chicago Bears convention. I have his autograph on my very first Bears hat that sits in the Bears Alley in the basement of my parents' house. I just remember him sitting there, signing autographs for what seemed like for him hours, but he still had a smile on his face and greeted every fan with enthusiasm and happiness. I would love to meet him again as an adult and, God willing, as a professional.

I know No. 34 is for Sweetness, but No. 33 is for Peanut. It always will be. Thank you Tillman for being such an influence in my life in ways I never expected. Thank you for continuing to spread your message to others through your charity and everything you do for the community. You may not punch out pigskins anymore, but you are punching a phenomenal message and mindset to not only myself but to everyone you meet.