Reprinted with permission from the UT Dallas Mercury
Story by Beau Trimble
David Bird, pictured far left, with the UTD men's soccer team
celebrating their ASC championship victory. Media credit: Bruce Unrue
Business administration major David Bird rolls towards the lift onto the Commencement stage. Though bound by a wheelchair due to a birth defect, Bird said that there was only one obstacle that had truly worried him: Two years ago, his dedication to a job he loved almost kept him from earning his degree.
Originally a team manager for the men's basketball team at UT Arlington, Bird admits his studies played second fiddle to his job. After taking summer classes in 2007, Bird said he needed a change. A UTD student on probationary status, Bird made every effort to counter his past.
"I really did mess up at the other school … don't get me wrong, it was bad," Bird said. "But, I guess it was one of life's lessons … you can't take things for granted."
After a year hiatus to focus on school, Bird was brought back into the sports scene via a team manager position with the UTD men's soccer team. Sporting a Garland High School shirt during a shoot-around at the Activity Center, Bird was approached by coach Jack Peel, a fellow Garland alumnus. He offered Bird a position on the spot.
Bird worked with the UTD men's soccer team every step of the way to their eventual American Southwest Conference (ASC) victory. The championship ring on his left hand reminds him of the determination it takes to accomplish goals - both team and personal.
Biology sophomore and defender Ramiro Gonzalez said he took notice to Bird's presence immediately.
"He was a pretty important part of the team," Gonzalez said. "He was real big on making practices go smoothly."
Gonzalez said during stressful times, Bird was an extra friend on the team who could keep things lighthearted.
"He was just cool to sit and talk with," Gonzalez said. "He makes you laugh every now and then."
Bird went on to help the women's softball team in the spring and serve in an internship with the ASC Media Relations department, keeping track of stats and updating their website.
With degree practically in hand, Bird says he looks to move on to bigger and better things, setting his sights on continuing his path in the sports industry. His long-term goal is to obtain the position of sports information director at a university.
"I'm not the average person in a wheelchair," Bird said. "Nothing's going to stop me."
He made sure to note, though, that he will never forget his experience with UTD.
"I'm going to miss all the people. This school has given me a second chance," Bird said. "I'm kind of glad that the UTA thing did happen, because I really don't think I would be the same person as I am today."