Alexander inspires at LBWCC

Published 1:29 am Wednesday, February 20, 2019

With a notably large smile, Timothy Alexander brought a moving and powerful message of endurance, hard work, and inspiration to a theater filled with members of the LBW Community College family in Andalusia yesterday.

“It all has to do with participation,” Alexander told the crowd, mostly college students listening with rapt attention.

“We all have to participate in life. I took steps to participate in my life,” said the former high school star football player, whose life was changed in an instant through a horrendous car crash that left him paralyzed from the neck down.

In the absence of his father growing up, he said football was his goal to learn about hard work, dedication, and how to be a man. He was rated eighth in the state for football scholarships his senior year of high school when the accident happened.

“When I was in my hospital bed, I didn’t know my name or what day it was. Mom said, ‘Blink your eyes if you can hear me.’ When I blinked my eyes, she said, ‘You’re going to live and not die, but you’re going to have to push through.’”

From the devastation of losing mobility, he had to relearn how to use his body and to talk. Through the following trials, he became depressed and even suicidal. Then, he started paying attention to his thoughts and how he talked to himself.

“For most people, seventy-eight percent is negative self-talk. I started protecting my energy and getting to know myself.”

He found it difficult to find dates being in a wheelchair, so he started going on dates alone, he said.

“I ordered water for the empty chair. I was getting to know myself. I went on to enroll in a community college.”

Starting with basic math and reading, he worked hard to eventually graduate on the Dean’s List before transferring to the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

“I couldn’t give up on being a part of football at UAB, so I worked at the ticket office.”

One day, the coach invited him to attend a 5 a.m. practice. When he got there, he participated in drills, made laps, and eventually became a fixture for the team. One day, the coach called him to his office.

“He said, ‘To find a young man who has that kind of commitment, I want him on my team.’ I then became the first paraplegic to attend UAB on a football scholarship.”

Alexander explained that people have to change their attitude to better themselves.

“It’s not about what you go through, it’s about what you grow through. Life is always asking, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ Always strive to be great.”

Time is what separates us from the past, present, and future, he said.

“Time gives us an opportunity to look at our life from a new perspective. It’s the opportunity to redefine our priority.”

Time is the opportunity to review, revise, readjust, and refocus our life, he said.

“Believing in something makes it possible, it doesn’t make it easy. One person with belief overrides thousands of individuals with intent. It’s all about the mind. The body has limitations, the mind does not.”

A person can face problems with a frown or a smile, he said, and change starts with gratitude.

“Gratitude is the quality of being thankful. It is the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Gratitude improves emotional and physical health and can strengthen relationships, communities, and teams.”

While at UAB, Alexander led the effort to re-establish the football, bowling and rifle programs, helping raise more than $40 million in one year.

He earned a master’s degree in communication management in 2015. He wrote “Ever Faithful, Ever Loyal: the Timothy Alexander Story,” which was published in 2018. He has now completed the screen script with plans for a major motion picture in 2020.

He is currently a motivational speaker with his own company, Inspired by TA, and works as director of character with UAB football and men’s and women’s basketball.

“Life is not about what we want, it’s about what we need. In this life, it’s not what you hope for, it’s not what you think you deserve, it’s what you work for and earn,” he said. “Keep moving forward.”

The event was made possible through a federal Title III Strengthening Institutions Grant.