Jan. 20—Everyday commitment is an important part of Grayland Dunams' life.
"Tell yourself you can do it," he said. "It helps you know you can accomplish something when you know you're going to do it."
Dunams shows such commitment at Brown's Shoe Fit, where he has worked for seven years.
"I like selling shoes, because it's helping people out," he said. "Helping people learn about how to take care of their feet because you only have two of them."
His main commitment, however, is to get people involved in sports. Dunams leads BCE Factory, a sports program for youth.
He is partnering with others to open Elite Sports Training, a facility in Fort Gibson where people can practice on indoor turf and receive sports training.
Dunams spent his early childhood in Chicago. It was not until his family moved to the northeast Texas town of Henderson that he got involved with athletics. It wasn't long before he started excelling in football. He was a receiver at Henderson High School, which won a state championship his senior year.
He later played football at Bacone College, where he said he originated his motto Be Committed Every day (BCE). He started the BCE Factory in 2019. He does basketball training sessions at St. Joseph Catholic School and football sessions at Fort Gibson school stadium.
"They're learning how to get faster, learning how to run the correct way," he said. "We also do football training in every position — offensive line, d-line, running back, quarterback, receiver. We do soccer training as well. We just try to help kids feel confident and reach their full potential in sports."
Dunams helped coach football at Fort Gibson High School, helping Tiger receivers and defensive backs from 2018 to 2022.
"They made playoffs every year but one," he said, adding that he worked to help each player reach his full potential.
He also seeks to keep himself fit. He said his mother was diabetic.
"So I make sure I try to stay in shape," he said, adding that he works out at Champion Fitness as often as he can.
Football led to life as Okie
Grayland Dunams recalled being pretty good at football in high school and college.
As a receiver and defensive back, he helped lead the Henderson High Lions to the 2011 Texas Class 4A state championship in his senior year. The team played the Chapel Hill Bulldogs at AT&T Stadium.
"It was in the new station they had just built in Arlington," Dunams recalled. "It was mind-blowing because you were staring at the big screen that went 160 feet down the field, and you were looking up at the whole time at the screen, and the coaches kept going 'the screen's not going anywhere, stop looking up.'"
However, Dunams managed to pay enough attention to start the Lions' momentum with a 15-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.
Dunams said the Henderson coach had helped Chapel Hill win state the year before.
"Then, he turned around and beat Chapel Hill for his second championship," Dunams said.
He skipped football while attending Kilgore College. Then two friends invited him to come to Bacone College.
"They played football and they knew a coach," he said.
Dunams said he landed a football scholarship and played wide receiver in 2015-16.
"The team wasn't very good, but they tried," he said. "I was First Team All-Conference receiver my senior year, so I think I did pretty good. My junior year, I was honorable mention offense."
Motto helps build confidence in young
Dunams said he uses BCE to help young people build confidence in themselves."
"Overall goal is to help kids do better in sports and stay in their sports, end up going to college and hopefully go beyond college and go pro," he said. "Help kids learn that we actually care about them get better in sports and gain more confidence."
He said young people need such confidence.
"Because in schools, you don't get a lot of one-on-one time," he said. "My program helps develop those kids and get more one-on-one time to understand the game more."
About 30 to 50 youngsters are involved when school is out, he said.
"It's year-round," he said. "Summer is when you see more kids in sports.
The program helps all age groups.
"I think my youngest has been 4, all the way up to college," he said. "Girl, boy, it doesn't matter, all are welcome to come train if they like."
Dunams said a Fort Gibson athlete helps with soccer training.
He said the biggest challenge has been getting kids to believe in their coaches and themselves.
"A lot of kids have been shut down by so many people so many times, told they can't do anything," Dunams said. "They're just trying to get kids to believe in themselves and to know you actually believe in them and not just telling them a dream."
He said the big reward has been to see youth work hard and succeed on the field or court.
Weather brought interest in indoor training
Unpredictable weather was one reason Dunams became interested in Elite Sports Training, a new sports facility in Fort Gibson.
"I've had to cancel too many appointments when it rains," he said. "It's hard to train outside in the rain or the cold. This just helps us have a place to go because the weather's good all around."
Dunams said the building, located on Scott Street behind Fajita Rita's, will be the new home base for BCE. The facility will offer training classes for adults, as well as youth.
"They can take the classes to help them get back into shape," he said. "Walking, jogging, body weights, stuff like that."
He said he is partnering with building owners to open the facility after Spring break.
"The building is already in great shape," he said. "All we need to do is put the turf down, get all the banners hung up we need done."
Dunams said there will be no place in the Muskogee area like the facility.
"It's going to be an indoor turf facility. "If anyone wants to rent it out for soccer, softball, baseball, football, track, they can. If it rains they can go to it if they need it. They don't have to cancel a practice or anything."
HOW DID YOU COME TO BE AN OKIE FROM MUSKOGEE?
"Some friends at Bacone College got me to come to Bacone and I ended up staying here."
WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT MUSKOGEE?
"The people. The community."
WHAT WOULD MAKE MUSKOGEE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?
WHAT PERSON IN MUSKOGEE DO YOU ADMIRE MOST?
"Besides my wife, Sammy Johnson, he's a coach I coached with for four years at Fort Gibson. and Jordan London. They're really good friends, always there when I need them. They always have my back if I need it."
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE THING TO HAPPEN TO YOU IN MUSKOGEE?
"Besides the birth of my baby, we're about to open up a new indoor training facility in Fort Gibson, called Elite Sports Training. That will be the new home of BCE."
WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME?
"Play with my baby boy."
HOW WOULD YOU SUM UP MUSKOGEE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS?
"Very small town with a lot of good people in it."