“I have known Tom for a few years now — virtually, via phone and email. We have not met in person yet. However, after reading his book, I feel like I got to know Tom at a whole new level! His writing style transported me into the story in such way that I felt as if I was one of the spectators cheering on his team — his boys — at their games.
Tom’s humility, his willingness to learn from others and mine for life’s insights through the game of basketball and his fellow coaches and the players, was a life lesson in itself for me.
The book is a quick read; I didn’t want to put it down. Over the course of just a few hours, I emerged from Tom’s story buoyed up, more optimistic, and with a renewed perspective on the difference each of us can make in the world and lives around us. How the ordinary moments like a basketball practice or game can have such a profound and positive impact on the lives of young people — and their coach.
Thank you Tom for not only touching the hearts and lives of the teams you coached in the past but for doing so for me as well!”
- Douglas Della Pietra, M. Div, Manager, Volunteer & Guest Services
“I LOVED how honest the author is about his son being bullied, and how honest he and his family are about handling the situations and what lessons they are teaching their son and the rest of us who may have or had a child being bullied. This is a GREAT book for ALL coaches to read.”
- Amazon Customer, Ellen
“I never played or coached basketball, and have never been more than a mediocre athlete myself. The only reason I picked up “The Big Kid and Basketball” is because the author is a friend and someone I respect as a business coach. Still, even though I wouldn’t know a triangle defense if I saw one, I was drawn into Tom’s story of being a father and a coach. I also found coaching wisdom that can be applied beyond the basketball court, like Tom’s philosophy of selecting players for his teams: “That is why we draft for heart. Heart keeps you in games when your mind says it is impossible.” Sound advice for anyone recruiting to fill a spot on the organization chart! At the very end of the book, Tom includes an appendix: “10 Steps to Bench Bullying by Coaches” which is great advice that applies as well to adult organizations as it does to youth athletics. This is an inspiring story that any parent will love reading.”
- Joe Tye, CEO and Head Coach
“This book is a must read!! It is hard watching the people you love deal with bullying that can cause fear and insecurities within themselves. This book is able to capture that emotion and dive deeper into the issues surrounding bullying. It is an amazing read for anyone looking to figure out what they should do or say to someone they know are dealing with these issues and for everyone in general. Respect, compassion, and understanding are qualities that Tom has shown to everyone, myself included. I personally want to thank you, Tom, for everything you have done for me. You continuously work to boost the confidence of others, inspire people to be their best selves, and make sure everyone knows how important they are.”
- Mark Ridgeway II, former Gorham Recreational Basketball Coach for DHLG
"Such an amazing and inspirational read. There is such an important message in this book even if you do not have first hand experience with bullying (either to you or to a loved one). This story is told with such heart and passion. Anyone who has experienced bullying, or is in a position to see it (through sports or teaching) should read this book. Bullying is finally getting the attention it so rightly deserves and this book helps spread the message."
- Barbara Bousquet, CFO, Center for Health Information & Analysis
“Bullying is extremely harmful to your mental health and as a parent the hurt runs deep. This amazing book goes to show how a father through the love of basketball and love of his son brings joy and life lessons to them both. I highly recommend this book to parents and coaches alike.”
- Anne Taylor, CEO and founder, Scandic Health
”This book captured my heart from the very beginning! As a single mother of two girls, one of whom has special needs, both of whom have been bullied, this book spoke to me. I have also coached as well and completely related to Coach Tom. This book is beautiful and gives me strength to be able to admit my defects of character, my failings, and my successes as a parent and a human being.”
- Sarah Neumann, Artist and single loving mother
“An outstanding book. I truly believe that anyone interested in improving the lives of children, sports, education or making the world a better place will love this book. I wish this book could be in the hands of every coach, teacher and parent. Well written, relatable, mind opening and honest...things you rarely find in books these days. I recommend this book with all of my heart.”
- Rich Bluni, RN, National Speaker and Author of the book, Inspired Nurse
“I have been the Director of Gorham Recreation Department for 28 years now. I can speak first hand to Coach Tom’s time with Gorham Rec! It is so very rare when a parent gets involved in their child’s sports programs where they care as much about the whole team as they do their own child...and Tom has been able to do both since his first whistle at Gorham Rec! Our philosophy is “more kids playing...not the same kids playing more” at Gorham Rec. Tom has lived by that since he first arrived at our program. To be a coach of young kids still finding their way in the world of sport is difficult at best, challenging at the basic level, and full of so much rewarding experiences for everyone that when the chemistry works for everyone, the result is “magic”. I have seen this work time and time again. The story of “The Big Kid...” is true, honest and motivating. We can’t make this stuff up! Thanks Tom for your caring. Thanks for your sharing and for your blogs and the compilation of them..this book! If we continue to accept all of our kids that just want to play, the result is heartwarming and inspiring. We’ve seen it. We’ve felt it. We continue to live it. We are all better for it.”
- Cindy Hazelton, Director, Gorham Parks and Recreation, Maine
“This book is written in a way that can be understood by kids and parents. Thomas leads with a compassionate heart and shares his own journey. I found this book extremely helpful with clients running treatment centers that focus on children from ages 8 to 17. Can't recommend this one highly enough.”
- Kristin Sunanta Walker, CEO, MHNR Network - Host, Mental Health News Radio
“I've known Tom for several years, and I'm always impressed about his writing and how well it captures his heart and soul. What you read is the real deal. I found this book to be so much more than tips on dealing with bullying in childhood. It's a great book for re-examining how adults interact with children in their roles as parents, coaches, and mentors. It's also a great reminder that words and actions both matter. I think this book would offer an excellent foundation for dialogue between a child and an adult regarding body image issues while focusing on "the big kid." Thanks, Tom -- and Tommy!”
- Kay Kendall, Baldrige Coach
“Unlike some of the previous reviewers, I don't know Mr. Dahlborg at all. I stumbled upon his blog that he wrote which preceded this book, on a mutual friend's Facebook page. I was immediately drawn in to his story and I found that I could not stop reading. Typically, if a blog is more than a 10-minute read, I don't follow through because I dislike reading on a computer screen. But I could not stop reading until I read all 25 installments. I had to know what happened to Tom and "the big kid!" This is a great book if you are thinking about being a coach, a mentor, or just an all-around good person.”
- Kathleen Marie Dunbar, future Coach
“This well written book would be a perfect read for a new youth sports coach and would prepare them well for the road ahead. Following Tom's journey through first season assistant coaching all the way to being a head coach himself was an interesting read.
The book is however about more than just coaching basketball, it sheds a lot of much needed light on the destructive effects of bullying. As one who was viciously bullied all throughout my own youth, by both peers and coaches, as I read, I kept saying to myself "I really needed a Coach Dahlborg when I was young."
I have known Tom for almost 34 years and I have known Tommy aka "The Big Kid" since he was born as well as Samantha and Haylee who are becoming powerhouses of their own in changing our world for the better.
For me, knowing the family quite well, I came away with the feeling that our world would be a lot better off with many more "Coach Toms" who just want to get involved and make a difference.”
- Marc Richardson, parent and former youth athlete
“As a parent to the “Big Kid” you are forever trying to find the right words to somehow fix and undo the harm that bullies inflict on your child. This book shows the raw, first hand experiences that a coach (and father) and son (the Big Kid) share together and with others. A sometimes heartbreaking and emotional journey of trying to build up a child’s character, self-esteem and self-worth in a world that is forever trying to tear them down. A book that reflects the lives of many battling “life” with losses: loss of loved ones, loss of friends and a loss of acceptance by others. An inspirational read that will have a positive impact on those who are struggling and help them re-establish a connection with the love of sport, love of community and love of one another. Anything can be overcome with love.”
- Darlene Dahlborg, mother of the Big Kid
“If bullying has ever been a problem with your children or other children, then this book will be so enlightening! This is a wonderful book that chronicles the effects of bullying on a child whose only fault was being too big! This book highlights how through wonderful parenting and coaching turned a sad situation into a great opportunity for creating a safe comfortable environment for the victim and empowering him to overcome behavior of some kids and adults. A wonderful read for all!”
- Jon P. Dahlborg