Bullies told this boy Irish dancing was 'for girls.' An NFL player disagreed.

It all started with a mother desperate to help her son.

Carl Tubbs, 12, of Des Moines, Iowa, has been taking Irish dancing lessons for four years — and he's really good at it. According to ABC News, Carl spends extra time practicing during recess at school to help him get ready for competitions.

But there's one big problem. Carl's choice of hobby has made him a target for school bullies. Dancing is "for girls," they tell him, and he's often teased mercilessly.


Feeling powerless as her son was being tormented, Carl's mom, Joanne, did what any loving parent would do. She ... reached out to an NFL star on Twitter?

Recent profiles of Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins revealed a surprising aspect of his training: He, too, was a fan of the Irish jig.

The quick-moving, foot-focused dance style helps Collins stay light on his feet while avoiding crushing blows from opposing linebackers, and with Collins emerging as a top player at his position this year, his unique training style has garnered a lot of attention.

Joanne Tubbs reached out, hoping there was some way Collins could help her son.

To her surprise, Collins responded to her tweet. But that was only the beginning.

"Never stop doing the things you love because someone else doesn't agree," Collins replied. "Chase your dreams Carl and don't let them stop you from being great!"

Collins offered to meet Carl before the next Ravens game in Minnesota — which is driving distance from Carl's home — to give him some more words of encouragement.

Carl meets his NFL hero. Photo via Chad Steele/Baltimore Ravens.

Before and after the game, Collins met with the Carl, introduced him to his teammates, gave him a team-signed football, and told him to keep his head up.

In other interviews, Collins has revealed that he was also teased and bullied for his interest in dance. But not anymore.

Carl said Collins simply told him, "Just keep on moving forward and they’ll learn that picking on someone is not OK and eventually it’ll get better." He also noted that, with an NFL star in his corner, the bullies have since apologized.

We need more dudes like Collins who are willing to break down tired old ideas about what makes a man.

Not every kid who gets bullied receives a public show of support from a major sports figure. There wouldn't be enough time in the day. The best thing male role models can do is lead by their own example.

Men can be physically big and strong, or not. They can like football or dancing, or both. But the one thing they should never have to be is ashamed of being who they are and enjoying the things they do — especially when it breaks with traditional standards of masculinity.

Kudos to Collins for living the message, and for taking the time to make sure the next generation knows it's OK to just be themselves.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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