CLARK — On Thursday, Dec. 5, members of the Crusader Athletic Leadership Council met in the Arthur L. Johnson High School auditorium to listen to guest speaker Gian Paul Gonzalez, who talked to the C.A.L.C. members on the topic of being “All In”.
Gonzalez, 29, a high school teacher in Union City, was asked to lead a chapel service for members of the New York Giants team the night before the team’s Christmas Eve 2011 game against the New York Jets. There, Gonzalez delivered the now famous “ALL IN” rally cry message. There was little hope then that the 7-7 team would make it to the playoffs, but they beat the Jets and won their next five games – including Super Bowl XLVI.
To illustrate the concept of commitment Gonzalez handed each football player a poker chip and instructed them to write their number on one side of the chip and write what they wanted to be committed to on the other side. He then shared with the team the meaning behind the poker phrase “All In”. He inspired them to be committed and put all their “chips” on the table.
“We are faced with decisions every day at which time we can decide to be fully committed, or ‘all in,’” says Gonzalez, a former All-American forward, who passed up a professional basketball contract to continue his work with at-risk youth. “I said to the players, ‘I want you to fully commit to being ‘all in’ on something.’” Gonzalez went on to urge players to fully commit to anything they take on, whether as a father, husband, son or even, a football player.
Gonzalez is the founder of 4-One, an organization dedicated to using basketball to share a message of hope and striving for excellence in inner-city public schools and juvenile jails. For which he has received the 2012 New Jersey Hero Award from New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christi.
Gus Kalikas, Supervisor of Athletics, Health, and Physical Education at Arthur L. Johnson High School, said, “The C.A.L.C. was thrilled to have Gian Paul Gonzalez come and speak to us on the topic of ‘All In’. Gian Paul reached all of our students and left them with great strategies that will not only help on the fields, courts, and mats, but also in the game of life. He was a true professional and inspires while delivering a wonderful message.”
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