Some elementary school students in Gates-Chili got a lesson on diversity, compassion, and respect from a Geneva man who has turned adversity into his greatest strength. This football coach is living his dream and inspiring students along the way.
Some fifth graders at Walt Disney Elementary School in Gates set aside reading, writing and arithmatic to learn a little something about life and what it means to overcome and persevere from a guy who has done it his entire life.
Bobby Greco is living with a rare congenital disorder; arthogryposis. He cannot move his arms or legs.
"I think you've got to know that everyone is – whether they're different from you – still don't deserve to be picked on for being different," he said.
"I wasn't afraid to put myself out there and talk about being in the wheelchair and what my difference was, and stuff like that."
Greco spent some time visiting this class because the class wrote to him.
"I got your letters, I loved them. They were awesome."
Twenty letters about how he has inspired them to never give up.
"It is pretty amazing about what he did," said Olivia Ramos. "I learned that differences are things that make you special – you could double jointed or you could have a broken leg but it doesn't make you weird, it is just a difference, and you are really the same person inside as everyone else."
These students read an article about Greco, and how he lives with chronic pain and is confined to a wheelchair. Despite that, he goes to college at St. John Fisher and though he has never been able to play football, he's a fifth year offensive line coach for Fisher's football team. He's even coached alongside his childhood idol, Jim Kelly.
"I have always loved everything about it and coaching has been a challenge on different levels and a way for me to still be involved in regular activities. That is one of the ways I have been invovled with friends throughout school," Greco said.
Greco says the passion of the game inspires him, and a supportive family and close group of friends.
"No matter if it is me or you guys, you should always pursue what you want to do," hhe told the class.
It's that attitude, his sense of humor and passion for living a good life that these kids look up to.
"How tough life can be even though there is something you can do, you can still try, so that relates to my life because there is some stuff I can do and some I can't but I am still trying to do the stuff I can't do," said Anjan Maharjan.
Greco's proved that we should ever give up, and that dreaming and achieving is possible. For these kids, they welcomed a new teammate to Walt Disney Elementary.