The Spirit of Shalieve
The origin and meaning of Shalieve
Ryan Shazier is no stranger to injuries. Yet he comes back from them more fit, more determined, and an even better player. He’s also a guy who knows the importance of maintaining lifelong friendships. His best friend from high school, Jerome Howard, is also his trainer.
On a trip to the airport before the 2016 season, Shazier, Howard, and Shazier’s wife Michelle were talking about Ryan’s upcoming goals for the football season with the Pittsburgh Steelers
“It was the year before my first Pro Bowl,” says Shazier, “and I told Jerome, ‘Yeah, I wanna make Pro Bowl—I want people to believe—like SHA-lieve in me!”
Michelle takes over, “We all started laughing, and I remember saying, ‘That sounds so cool and so different and so YOU!”
Shalieve became a locker room mantra, a “Steelers shout.”
Shazier crushed his goals, and was selected to the 2016 Pro Bowl.
During the 2017 season, Shazier suffered a spinal cord injury, and #Shalieve became a trending hashtag on Twitter, a sign of support on hats and other merchandise in the Pittsburgh area, and a way to show love and support to Shazier, who was again “Shalieving” in himself through his SCI recovery.
A fun, fabricated word between lifelong friends became the declaration for hope.
So what does Shalieve mean?
It means believing in yourself, even when others harbor doubt.
It means setting, and then crushing your goals.
It means keeping your inner circle close, because they believe—Shalieve—in you.
And it means spreading the spirit of Shalieve to the people you meet.
The Spirit of Shalieve is infectious.
When someone suffers a spinal cord injury, the devastating physical effects are evident. The mental and emotional ones are not. Tommy Swarts discusses both. In 2008, Tommy Swarts was a 20-year-old software developer, working with clients such as Palm Pilot, ScanDisk, Trans Union, and the Golden State Warriors. He also participated in the company’s inline…
Nearly a year after his SCI car accident, Allen Daniels sees his misfortune as a way to inspire and educate other drivers. Allen Daniels wheels into the interview with the poise and confidence of a man who knows where he’s been and knows where he’s going. Daniels, 32 years young, had a promising football career….
Michael Commendatore took his wife to Costa Rica. He endured a 48-hour odyssey back to the states with a T7 SCI. Michael Commendatore is a Renaissance Man. At 48 years old, he already had careers as a high school teacher, private school instructor and administrator, and–during the COVID-19 pandemic, when teaching dramatically changed–he pivoted again…
For this young man, it was his Union, but for many SCI warriors, non-traditional funding is the only way to make meaningful physical progress. In the summer of 2019, 31-year-old Steve Spatocco was “trending upward.” The Delaware County, PA native had worked hard and landed a job with a sheet metal contractor. More importantly, he…
A lifelong caregiver asks, “What Would Ryan Do?” In February 2021, Amy Ericksen, a nurse working with homebound patients, left a patient’s home and her car skidded out on black ice. She hit a tree, and when the chaos of the crash subsided, Ericksen immediately knew there was something much worse than a wrecked…
Claire Senita became wheelchair-bound in 8th grade. That didn’t stop her from moving forward with purpose. Claire Senita was 14 years old and was warming up for a tumbling/gymnastics class, laughing along with her 8th grade friends. “It was a recreational class, we were there to have fun,” says Senita. Claire stepped up to the…
This 12-year-old did not let an SCI derail him from ambitious goals When you are 12 years old, grounded, and have a brand-new bike, waiting for those restrictions to be lifted can be interminable. But when you live with your grandparents and are intelligently persuasive, getting an early release isn’t all that difficult. “Yeah, it…
Talking to Carrie Bach, a 42-year-old spitfire of a woman from the outskirts of Erie, PA, one is struck by her effervescent personality and her “can-do” attitude. She’s a trained ballerina and attended college for dance and business. As all artists do, she worked a day job, and performed as much as she could. One…