When interviewing Bryson, I thought back to the days that he attended Hampton University (Hampton, VA). I vividly remember him supporting the Hampton Soccer team, telling those in his house to quiet down because Chelsea F.C was playing on tv, and being an advocate to everyone around him to be confident and lend a helping hand. I can personally say that Bryson was big on all of his friends and littles making an impact at Hampton, which he has definitely carried over in his life after college.
“Confidence is really just believing in yourself and understanding that everyone’s level and how they show it will be different. You define your own version of confidence”
It’s apparent that Bryson’s idea of Bnordsed stems from his love of sports. He remembers always going to his older brother’s practices and starting soccer at the age of three. He played soccer all the way until it was time to go college.
“I had full rides to universities [for soccer] but I chose to go to Hampton because I thought I would take the easier way out of things and I kind of regret it because soccer meant so much to me”
Bryson felt discrimination first hand as a black boy playing soccer. He remembers traveling to the deep parts of Georgia with his white high school soccer team where he was called just about every possible name in the book. Despite his white coach taking up for him, Bryson wanted his actions to take up for him as he used the name-calling as fuel to be better and show them that playing soccer had nothing to do with his skin.
Anyone can draw the conclusion that these experiences shaped and molded Bryson to give back in a way that exceeded beyond the field. “Bnordsed”, a company that uses sports to impact the youth and make a difference in the community, was first thought of during his sophomore year in college. Bryson and his friends participated in YMCA to Hampton Day where they invited students from different YMCA’s to Hampton University to experience a day in the life of a college student.
“We introduced them to greeks, took them to a football game and it meant so much to those kids especially because many of them never had the opportunity to go to a football game or were even recruited to go to college”.
From this experience, Bryson understood how the fusion of sports and mentoring can change the lives of many. Bndorsed was born shortly after this moment. The Atlanta based company focuses on community outreach through the love of sports and activities such as workshops, panels and camps.
I was curious if Bryson had a favorite quote or any advice that he’s been given because often times those with great ideas have a little quote tucked away that keeps them going and speaks to their mission. He told me that the mantra “Prove them wrong” is his motivation.
“Prove them wrong. Prove it to people that doubt you or who think you aren’t going to do anything”
He also included that you have to understand those friends who actually support you by showing up versus those friends who only verbally say they support you but don’t really support you like they claim to. Yet, his idea of support boils down to understanding that you cannot solely depend on others, instead surround yourself with those who push you forward but do what it takes to get yourself to where you want to be.
After chatting with Bryson, it is evident to me that Bndorsed has the potential to make a lasting impact in the community for generations to come. Bndorsed is planning autograph signings at high schools with athletes from the University of Georgia. There are also seeking to provide sports camps that are financially feasible and a field day to celebrate kids going to the next level as a way to promote the importance of scholastic achievement.
“We also want to focus on panels and workshops with the speakers who are currently in college and fresh out of college. Often times, panels feature 40 year olds talking to 15 year olds and the connection and relation can be lost.”
Bnordsed has already held numerous events such as a college life panel at Grady High School and a “Brunch for a Cause” at Hurst Park in Atlanta, Georgia. To find out how you can help and to stay up to date with Bryson’s progress, follow @bndorsed on Instagram. We have high hopes for Bryson and his team and we know that the community will be enriched due to his efforts!