I AM Closed (Continued from Part 1)
University of Michigan Days
Debra Hester: Now, tell me a little bit about your time at Michigan. I said you got your Michigan stuff on and, you know, I asked you for your playlist and I am going to add your playlist and I am going to take the liberty of, uh, adding the Michigan fight song to your playlist.
Dr. Billy Taylor: Sure. Yeah.
Debra Hester: I’m sure that got you riled up a many days, right? Oh
Dr. Billy Taylor: Yeah. Yeah. I had a great career at Michigan. I, played under the great hall of fame, Coach Glenn E. “Bo” Schembechler. And at the time I didn’t like Coach Schembechler. He recruited me along with a lot of Ohio athletes. We’re both from Barberton, Ohio, by the way. On a recruiting trip, you know, he squeezed your arms or asked if “your’re soft, “how did you run all those touchdowns?” Made us lift weights and do pushups and other calisthenics. Under the clock, we have to run the 40 and the hundred-yard dash and all of that. And I had, I was a recruit with 57 offers. I had been traveling around the country. I’d never been treated like that. You know, all the coaches bring you in and wine and dine you. Assign a couple of players to you to show you around and you hang out and you have fun.
Dr. Billy Taylor: And then you, you know, you close it out with a meeting with the coach and that sort of thing. But with Coach Schembechler, it was work, work, work. Myself and one of my teammates, Tom Darden, uh, he’s out of Sandusky, Ohio. We became roommates at Michigan, but we met on a recruiting trip and we talked about this Bo Schembechler. We said, we’re never going to go to school there and play for this man. We said, he’s crazy. He’s out of his mind and all of that. But you know, destiny hit, we signed our letter of intent for the University of Michigan. We decided not to go to Miami of Ohio, where Bo was the head coach. After our freshman year at the university, Head Coach Bump Elliot resigned took another job actually at Iowa, Bo Schembechler was named head coach at the University of Michigan.
Dr. Billy Taylor: That’s how he became our coach. And it was, I never would have went anywhere that he was the head coach to play for him. But, you know, God has a plan. You know, it was destiny, it turned out to be one of the best things to ever happen because, he became more than a coach, a father image, a mentor. He told us that those who stay will be champions, but it took a lot to stay because he pushed us so hard.
Dr. Billy Taylor: We lost maybe 15, 20 guys off the varsity. [Wow]. Because it was just too tough for them. You know, being a bright-eyed Sophomore we thought that’s what it took to play ball at Michigan. And he always said those who stay will be champions. And it was true. We won two Big 10 championships. And we were undefeated. Our senior year, I was blessed to score the winning touchdown against Ohio State. I was an All-American, three years in a row and first-team all-Big 10, three years in a row. So I had a great career at Michigan and I have to contribute a lot of that to Bo Schembechler. I mean, I have to get out there and play and do these things, but I probably wouldn’t have played as hard. I probably would not have been as successful if I wasn’t coached by Bo. He pushed us physically, mentally.
Debra Hester: That’s sort of how you got the title of your book, right?
Dr. Billy Taylor: Well, you know, he was my biggest cheerleader. I’m running the ball, you know, I get tackled, get up, Taylor, get up, get through the hole, get back up, you know.
The Knockdown After the Touchdowns
Dr, Billy Taylor: So, uh, fast-forwarding after the Michigan career, I got knocked down in many ways. And most people do in life, you know, there’s, you don’t have to be playing sports to get knocked down. So you can, you can get knocked down financially, physically of course, mentally, emotionally, socially, all of those things. And I experienced all of it, you know, and I had to get back up, get my life in order and to go on and be successful in life. You know, I don’t wish the extremes that I went through on anybody, but like I say, who knows life’s itinerary, but the almighty and so in my mom always told me there was a reason, a purpose for everything.
Dr. Billy Taylor: And I still struggle with that, but I accept it, you know. I questioned God, why take my mom my one and only mother, you know, at, uh, and she was only 60 years old. That’s not old, you know? Yeah. And I’m like 19, 20 and I needed her, you know. And I’m sure my life would have turned out different had she lived, from a standpoint of a lot of the negative things that I went through. But once again, mom said everything happens for a reason and a purpose, you know? And I still wrestle with that today, you know?
Debra Hester: Okay. All right. But you still get back up. You still believe in God, you know, that God always had his hand with you, on you, taking care of you, and you always look towards God.
Dr. Billy Taylor: Absolutely, absolutely. You know,
Debra Hester: Wasn’t, that, wasn’t that sort of what you had told me a little about, but you can share with my audience about, you heard a voice one day.
Dr. Billy Taylor: I did. Yeah. I was going through this up and down with,
Debra Hester: And it wasn’t Shanae-nae or Bubba.
Dr. Billy Taylor: Not at all. Uh, my addiction got so bad. I lost my marriage, the house, the car, the home, children. And I was living on the streets of Detroit for two and a half years as a homeless person. Panhandling and in vacant houses, abandoned cars, et cetera, and just hustling to get, you know, alcohol or some drugs.
Dr. Billy Taylor: August 17th of 1997. I heard a voice, that changed my life. And just as clear as we’re talking Debra, uh, four words, William Taylor come forth and I was turning up a bottle of vodka and it scared me so, it just went through my body. I dropped it [the vodka] on the cement, it burst and I immediately started cursing. I had nothing else to drink. And I ran around, circled, this vacant building that I was sitting on the steps of to catch whoever it was because we were going to fight. I was going to take care of them.
Dr. Billy Taylor: And I circled a building and realized there was no one. And I started looking to the sky. My God is that you and I got so afraid I was sweating and shaking. And I just started running. When I crossed, um, on to, uh, Jefferson, I was almost was nearly hit by four or five different cars that ran into one another. And, um, I almost slammed into a building on the other side of the street. I was running so fast when I got a foot or two away, I just turned my back and slammed into the building. And I slid down and I was just shaking. And I just remember, being, uh, so afraid actually that street was Woodward, which runs downtown into, into Jefferson and Detroit. People yelled and cursed at me. And I got up and I started running again, but that was August 17th of 1997. And I haven’t had a drink drug or cigarette, uh, since that.
Debra Hester: Okay. So God answered your prayer.
Dr. Billy Taylor: He did. But not when I wanted him to.
Not Always Patient
Debra Hester: I know, I know sometimes that time and we all have to work on that and be patient. I think one of the things I realized, every, almost every story in the Bible, there is some form of patience that is a part of those Bible stories. So that’s something that I have to work on myself and I continue to work on being patient because, our time is not God’s time, but He is always on time,
Dr. Billy Taylor: I’ve never been a patient person. I have learned to be patient at times. And I still struggle with that. But when I changed my life when I stopped the madness with the drinking and the, you know, the other drugs and the cigarettes and everything and everything changed, I found some peace. You know, I still missed my mom, but I began to become the person that I think God intended for me to be. But you know, being hard-headed as the old folks used to say, I had to go through something to learn something, you know, still to this day. I don’t know why God has blessed me so much.
Debra Hester: Have a program now. You help other people. I know you mentioned it. It’s Get Back Up Inc., Right? You have a website and your book and your documentary. You have to share with us how we can all those things.
Not Closed But Now Open For Others
Dr. Billy Taylor: Okay. Well, Get Back Up is a 501C3, non-profit residential substance abuse facility. We’re on McDougall in Detroit. I started off on Dexter on the West side and three years ago, I moved to McDougall on the East side. I just want to give back and help people learn the lessons that I’ve learned. And hopefully, before they go through all the things that I went through to learn those lessons. And it’s challenging work because most people have to, you know, I guess they have to go through something to really get to a point where they realize that, you know, that’s a losing game. And unfortunately, many people die in their addiction. However, the Get Back Up website is my initials for Bill Taylor, BTgetbackup.com altogether. Just like it sounds BTgetbackup.com
Debra Hester: And your book is available on Amazon?
Dr. Billy Taylor: I don’t know if it’s still on Amazon or not. But I know people can go to YouTube and, and the movie, my documentary film is Perseverance, The Story of Dr. Billy Taylor. I know on YouTube, you can see about 20 minutes of that film. And I have to look at, uh, look into where the book is available. Now I have some copies for friends and relatives, so I know it had been on Amazon, but I’m not sure if it’s there anymore.
Debra Hester: Okay. I’ll check and I’ll put it in the notes and everything. And in the commentary where we can reach you and where we can hear more about your story. One of the things is that is so inspiring. I mean, it is the right word to “get back up.” I asked you to be a part of the, “I Am Close” because it’s such a prevalent condition now for a lot of people. But what you inspire us all to do, Dr. Taylor is even if we become closed, that we know that we can get back up and we should move forward. And I really appreciate you sharing all this with my listeners because we need to hear more inspirational stories. We all, like you say, fall down in different situations, whether it’s a big fall or a low fall, and we’ve been falling ever since we’ve been trying to walk, but you get back up. Right?
Dr. Billy Taylor: Yeah. Oh, I think, I don’t know if I meant I completed the information people need to see at least 20 minutes of the documentary. Plugin perseverance the story of Dr. Billy Taylor on YouTube. And you can see at least 20 minutes of the documentary film. And I think a friend told me recently, they got some copies of my book on eBay or Amazon. I’m not sure. I always say to people when I’m speaking as a keynote or on my radio show that bad times don’t last always. And this too shall change, but when life knocks you down, get back up,
Debra Hester: That’s it. I’ll probably try to play some of your theme songs. And that’s another way for people to listen to you on a regular basis is through your radio program every Saturday morning. And if you could give us the call number, cause it’s on the internet. Right!
Dr. Billy Taylor: Yes. It’s 910 AM Radio. 910 AM the superstation. And the call-in number, if, for comment or question is (313) 778-7600. That’s (313) 778-7600. And now it’s an early show, Debra, every Saturday morning from 6:00 to 8:00 AM Eastern standard time.
Debra Hester: But it’s a wake-up show though. It’ll wake you up. That topic, the topics, and your call-in people, your audience. I mean, it is very, very, you know, it gets you going,
Dr. Billy Taylor: You gotta be ready for the truth, you know, and I always say, let’s get to the meat on the show. And, my partner’s Bishop Gerald Roberts, a cohost, we only talk about things that matter. And you know, that’s, that’s where I’m at and it’s all about trying to help people. And, and that’s just what I do.
Debra Hester: Okay. Okay. Well, I guess in the closing remarks, I want to really thank you. I appreciate you spending the time. I’m glad you dressed up in your blue and gold. I tried to be accordingly attired with the right colors and everything. Not quite as many “Ms,” but of course I like “M”s, with Mother’s Backyard and Mary and all those things. But I really appreciate this. I think it is going to inspire people, help people, you know, that’s your mission in life. And you’ve done so much all ready to give back and to show people that they can be better. That despite where we are, whether we’re closed, whether we’re down, or whether we’re depressed, even through grief, that eventually there will come a time. That’s the hope that we all live for is there will come a time where we will get back up. This is a great example. So I hope people will buy your book and that they will be inspired. And I would like to ask you to close the program with one thought that you would like to leave our listeners with around I am closed, but get back up.
Dr. Billy Taylor: Yeah. As I said earlier in the show, whatever your age or gender is, we all are going to go through something. We all suffer losses and disappointments and tragedies. Don’t try to deal with it entirely on your own, reach out to someone, make sure it’s a reliable source. You know, don’t just go to anybody. Uh, somebody that you know, cares about you and will give you some valid information and, you know, talk about it. Don’t be closed and don’t keep it to yourself. You can get through it. You know, it may not be easy and it may take a while. Well, you just have to, to stay the course, you know, and, and try to remain positive, but reach out for help.
Debra Hester: Yes. Okay. Cool. Well, thank you that we did this thing.
Dr. Billy Taylor: Thanks for having me on your show.
Debra Hester: I love it. I, you know, it’s a return favor. I enjoyed being on yours too. God bless you. And you have a blessed day.
I want to thank you loved ones for listening to #empathyforgrief episode #18, I Am Closed. I also want to thank my guest, Dr. Billy Talyor for sharing his insights into “I Am Closed” after his traumatic loss. I started asking my guest to share a couple of songs from their inspirational playlist. So I could share on MOVE Music and Talk. Remeber our tagline, move your mind, don’t get left behind. Music helps that too. So here is Dr. Taylor’s inspirational playlist suggestions. “Better” by Hezekiah Walker and “Stomp” by Kirk Franklin. Check them out on my MOVE Music playlist on Mother’s Backyard Enterprises Channel on YouTube