22 Nov, 2022Planting the Seeds of Success with Wally Green
“It’s my job to plant the seed and it takes only one person to plant the seed.” – Wally Green
Are you aware that Ping-Pong has been instrumental in achieving good relationships between countries? What does it take to spread peace worldwide? What can you do to make the world a better place?
Today, I am going to talk to Wally Green, the amazing person who used his sport to fulfill his diplomatic goals in North Korea. His incredible story is one that will astound you. He grew up in a place full of hatred and violence, but he turned his life around and is now an advocate of peace and love.
His awe-inspiring transformation is one you should not miss. Listen as he himself tells the unbelievable story of his life.
Gain wisdom as to how you can reinvent yourself and plant your own seeds of success. Be the person you want to be now.
⚡️ Individuals who grow up in violent environments are ticking time bombs.
⚡️ Love can change people.
⚡️ People often reject love when they are not used to getting it.
⚡️ A smile is powerful.
⚡️ People who have done great things have an amazing story behind them and someone who helped them.
🔥 Wally Green’s seeds to success:
- listen to the genius within you
- change mindset
- believe in your dreams and ideas even if others think differently
- be passionate about what you really want to do
- show up and pursue your goals
- take advantage of opportunities
- ask and accept help from others
- learn the skills you need
- commit to practice
- always remember your purpose
- do everything with intention
- continue to think bigger than what you have accomplished
- choose to love and share it with others
- utilise the power of a smile
- be a positive impact on the lives of other people
🎯 2:16 Wally Green’s violent childhood
🎯 6:35 Being a gang member
🎯 9:52 His first encounter with table tennis
🎯 13:57 Spending time in Nigeria instead of in prison
🎯 19:05 His first epiphany
🎯 29:30 His second chance at playing Ping-Pong
🎯 39:43 His second turning point
🎯 44:31 Training in Germany and becoming a pro player
🎯 49:15 North Korea as the latest height of his career
🎯 54:25 Fulfilling his diplomatic purpose in North Korea
🎯 1:01:45 Wally Green’s greatest inspiration
Send us a message and tell us what is your biggest takeaway about this episode. 👇🏼👇🏼👇🏼
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Pete Cohen 00:00
Happy, beautiful day. It's the Future Self Podcast. It's me, Pete Cohen. And today my special guest is Wally Green and we're talking, Planting the Seeds of Success. I'll see you after the theme tune.
Pete Cohen 00:35
Hey, happy beautiful day. It's the Future Self Podcast. It's me, Pete Cohen. And today my special guest is Wally Green. And we're talking Planting the Seeds of Success.
Pete Cohen 01:13
Happy, beautiful day. Thank you so much for joining me for the podcast today. My guest today is Wally. Wally Green. How are you Wally?
Wally Green 01:21
Hey, I'm great, man. How are you doing?
Pete Cohen 01:23
I'm great. Well, we've got to know each other over the last 20 minutes. And then after 20 minutes, I realized that I wasn't recording your audio. And while there you go. So this is the this is how it goes sometimes in life. But I just thought we've got to start this again. Because your story is so inspiring to me about how someone who came from the background that you had to someone who has inspired so many people from becoming a professional table tennis player or ping pong player representing your country and then actually going to North Korea to be a basically to spread the word of diplomacy all around the world. And when I heard your story and watched your TED talk, I was like, this is someone I really need to get to know. So thank you so much for joining me. So tell us how did you actually come to be a table tennis player?
Wally Green 02:17
That's funny. Well, I grew up, I grew up in the projects. You know, with some really severe domestic violence, my mom married, remarried to a narcissistic, illiterate abuser, we used to beat her up all the time. I think my parents divorced when I don't know maybe one because I don't remember them together. So I grew up with this guy who's who was an abuser. And I hated him so much. Because you know, as a kid, if you watch your, your mom get up every single day, you know, you you can't do anything to help. And, you know, everyday for me, it was just, you know, how can I kill this guy? How can I end this guy's like, how can I get this guy out? You know, just away from us. And because of that, that led me to, you know, gangs, guns and violence at a very early age starting at 12. And 13. You know, by that age, I've already own guns. And yeah, so it was it was I had a crazy, really crazy childhood life. But um, you know, I had another side of me. And the other side was sports. So there was a balance, there was the, you know, the gangs, guns and violence, and then there was sports. And what the sports did was the sports allowed me to, to kind of make my body numb to what was going on at home. Right. So I would go in one second. I think there's a chuck passing by here. It's alright.
Pete Cohen 03:53
Don't worry about that. You're in. You're in New York City. It's all good. It's it's life. It's the real deal. So you know what's fascinating when you just explain that is obviously must have been extremely traumatic for you, and you really didn't have a way to make sense of that. You just had to try and get on with life. I mean, did it did it get to a point where you felt like that was quite normal? What you're experiencing? Or did you know other people that were going through similar battles to you?
Wally Green 04:21
Um, as a kid, I knew it was not normal. For for, for, you know, a man to beat up a woman. Like as a kid, I knew that like, I never, I never as a kid, even as a kid. Like, I never hit a girl. You know, I never attacked the girl I never I never like cursed a girl out or yelled at a girl. You know, it was it was always you know, when you're in a gang it was all about you know, the guys you fight the guys. You don't you don't mess with the girls. So So I knew that wasn't normal since I was a kid. Yeah, It was never been never became normal,
Pete Cohen 05:02
like you were and you were beaten as well, right?
Wally Green 05:05
Yeah. So so what would happen was is that my mom and my stepfather would fight, my stepfather would beat her up, that I would go and hug her to console her with every kid is going to do when you see a mother bloodied and beaten up, you want to go give her a hug, right? And then I would either get hit by him for doing that, or they would go upstairs later and do what they do. And then I would be punished. So let me hear more.
Pete Cohen 05:40
You know, one of the things that I find so inspiring about people is when they've been through something very difficult, how they turn their life around, because, you know, it's very easy for people who have been abused to become the abuser. I think it's a challenging road to decide to become someone completely different, to be a role model to others. And I just want to take a moment to say thank you for being an example to humanity around it doesn't. I'm not saying it doesn't matter what happens. But our greatest tests can be our greatest testimonial. And, you know, obviously, anyone who's listening to this good thing, well, how could someone who went through that could end up going to North Korea and playing ping pong? to the level that you did? It's just a fascinating story. But in being a part of a gang, what was that? Like? What was being in again? What did that do for you? What did that give you? What did that get you? Was that like, being in a family?
Wally Green 06:36
Yeah. So, you know, being a part of a gang is is is gives you a sense of family. Because that that becomes your, your family, right? I know for a fact that if anything were to happen, they were going to be there for me always. Right? A lot of times you can't even count on your own family to be there for you always. Yeah, with these group of people. I knew 100% I could be in the middle of nowhere, if something was going down. And I texted, or called someone, a group, a bunch of people would be there, right? And you'll be there as fast as possible. Right? And that just gave you a sense of protection. Right? It gave you gave you you know,
Pete Cohen 07:26
to be a being a part of something you'd like you are a part of something and I can understand you know, that's why often people will kill for someone you know, it's like you're my you hurt anyone in my family, then and I could even understand why that seeing that would make you want to take out your your stepfather, right. You want to take him out the game. But let's talk about table tennis or ping pong, right? As you call it. So how are you found sport sport was a way of you expressing yourself. It was a way for you to numb yourself and what you forget what was going on and get lost in activity? Because you were very good, right? You every sport you play. You could be really good at. But how did someone because I mean, I would imagine for someone like you. Ping pong wasn't like top of the list. You played basketball, right?
Wally Green 08:15
Yeah. Basketball is my favorite sport. tennis, basketball, tennis, volleyball, wrestling.
Pete Cohen 08:21
Tennis. So tennis, right? How come tennis,
Wally Green 08:26
tennis I played. Because we had this funny coach, and the same coach who coached basketball was a tennis coach. Wow. Wow. And then and I liked him a lot, because he was really funny. And he was really cool. And so you had mentioned earlier there might be a big fan of Michael Jordan. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I'm also I'm also was a big fan of Michael Jordan. Every number I had in school had to be 2033. If it wasn't 23, then I didn't want to play. I watched it. You know, because back then if you had the number 23 You would have mad because not anyone can get 23. So
Pete Cohen 09:13
yeah, this funny thing about you know, like going first because, you know, for for black people to play to play tennis. You know, it was I think it was because someone decided to what's Serena and Venus Williams father, you know, I think he was Arthur Ashe. If you go back, you know that much further. People that decided to say, you know, no, we're gonna do this and then obviously Tiger Woods. You know, and then I was telling you before we filmed Desmond Douglas in the UK, he was someone who was very famous table tennis player. He was he was black as well from the UK and kind of made it something for people to do. How did you end up playing ping pong?
Wally Green 09:58
It's pretty cool. See, I was I was at the time was taking a break and I was shooting pool. Right? I love to shoot pool. I thought it was really fun and you know push. And you could pick up a lot of girls playing pool if you're good. I wind up, I wind up stealing a pool stick. So this is this was the start of it. I went into a pool store and was able to walk out with a pretty expensive pool stick, right? I really didn't steal it. I bought one. That was a key one. And I kind of did the switcheroo I switched. I switched the cheap one for those that wasn't really stealing. It was just kind of trading in. Yeah, right. And now they had this amazing pool stick and I thought it was really good. You know, at pool and I went to go shoot pool one day and got hustled for some money, got upset, took the pool stick, and it just slammed onto the table and the pool stick shattered. So there was my no expensive, stolen pool stick. I was really upset. And when I was when I was younger, I used to take out everything that happened to me I would take on other people, it didn't matter what it was, it could be the most minor thing. If I was soft, you weren't, there's no way you were going to be happy around me. There's not gonna happen. So I saw some kids playing ping pong. And I was like, that's the perfect I just flashed in my head. So I went to go be a bully. And I went over there and I says, hey, I want to play, want to get a hit. And the kid was like, you played this, I was like, I don't play it. I just want to get a hit, give me the racket. So I kind of like took the rack out of his hand and hit the ball to me. And my goal was trying to do is hit him with the ball, and then just walk away. But in the attempt of trying to hit him with the boy hit it really hard on the table. They went on a table by mistake. And it feels like oh my god, that was a great shot. Do you play it? I was like, I don't play this. Just like there's a ping pong club. You gotta go check it. I said, What do you mean, there's a ping pong club? I said, there's an actual Club, where people get together and they play this. I said, there's no way that this is possible. And, you know, the athlete in me was like, maybe it is possible. Yeah. So I went down to the location he gave me and I saw people actually playing. And I was like, Wow, that's crazy. Man, people standing from the back from the table, still hitting the ball really hard back and forth. And the more importantly, was that everyone was black. And I was like, Oh, I didn't know black people played this. So that made it very interesting to me, right? Because it's a sport that I didn't, I didn't think like people played at all. Now, I only thought at the time he thought Asians play ping pong. So I was like, this is weird. And but it's good. Man, I want to do this. And so that's how I got involved. And
Pete Cohen 12:54
how long did it take you to get good at the game?
Wally Green 12:57
Oh, it was it was it was really quick. I got you know, I was able to, I mean, in less than in less than a week, I got hit forehands like solid, because I had played tennis and, and, you know, I'm good at all sports. Sports in general, I learned really fast. It doesn't matter what sport it is, I can pick it up really fast.
Pete Cohen 13:19
So, okay, so you, you you, you learn fast and sport, but let's talk about your life. So at what point did you kind of really start to wake up to the way you were living? And you know, because you could have gone down that road of becoming a criminal and really having a different life? At what point did you wake up and think, hey, or did you wake up to the point I need to change?
Wally Green 13:42
Yeah, so I had a moment. I think people call it what they call turning epiphany. Yeah, perfectly turning around moment. I was 14 years old, I got caught in school with a loaded weapon. And I've had a lot of problems before of this sort, you know, and they wanted to give me 10 years in jail, right? So I would go from juvenile to adult, right. But one thing was very interesting was I always had good grades, which was crazy. Teachers were like, trying to figure out how I was doing this, but I had, I had kids doing the work for me. And a lot, a lot of my work. A lot of my notes were always taken by the kid in class. And in return, of course, you know, I had to study to take tests, but you know, kids would let me cheat. And then in return, they would have protection. Right? So they'll have any problems in school that they will come to me and we take care of it. And so I always had to grade so it was a good student on paper. It was good student paper and I'm somehow my my mom leveraged this. So instead of I instead of going with the help of a great lawyer, instead of wish he got it from I have no idea. But instead of going to jail for 10 years, they agreed for me to be sent to Africa to boarding school. Yeah. So I wind up going to Africa, went to boarding school to Nigeria. Wow. So I went to I went to this crazy boarding school, and in Africa, they beat you. Like, they physically beat you beat the Mesabi. Like, it's no joke. In school like you don't have, you don't have the luxury of whether you want to learn or not.
Pete Cohen 15:40
Hang on, hang on, hang on. Crazy, right. So I mean, honestly, there's, there's parts of this story that I just find fascinating. So at what point did you go, Okay, I'm going to Nigeria, and I'm calling I didn't
Wally Green 15:52
want to go. It was either that or 10 years. Wow, I didn't have a choice. And
Pete Cohen 15:58
if you take into 10 years, you wouldn't do you say you wouldn't have gone to juvenile, you would have gone to
Wally Green 16:03
proper, I would have went to juvenile and then transferred then. Yeah,
Pete Cohen 16:06
let's face it. You can do to a kid. That's the one.
Wally Green 16:11
That's one of the worst things that you can do to a kid. Because that age that you're gonna get a warrant? Yeah. So So I if that would have happened, for sure. My life would have been ruined. It would have been it. But you know, somehow this miracle happened, and I want to go to Africa. And what when I was in Africa, I experienced, you know, a lot of racism in Africa.
Pete Cohen 16:40
Why? Because you because you were a black American or
Wally Green 16:43
Yeah, because everyone would say I'm not the real black. And they used to make and they used to make a joke. And he used to say the IE butter in their language. So by saying I eat butter means I'm soft. Yeah. Right. But I wasn't that I wasn't that kid that eats butter. Like I was gangster. And so I spent a lot of time fighting. And then when I couldn't get when, when even I would be fighting. I couldn't get the respect. I wind up joining this thing called man of war. And, and men of war is a I don't even know explain it is the closest thing to being an A militant army without actually being in a military army. Yeah, like so. It's like boy scouts times 10,000. Where they make you do crazy things like stand up like this and fall straight down. And it toughen you up. Like it was definitely not. But soft people. So I joined this.
Pete Cohen 17:41
Wow. Listen, I've heard a lot of stories in my life. You know, honestly, I've heard a lot of stories and this has to be up there with one of one of the greatest. At what point did you kind of what did you play? Table tennis when you're out there? Oh,
Wally Green 17:58
no, I actually actually played soccer. No, I play a little bit little bit. But I played a sport called handball
Pete Cohen 18:05
amble. Yeah, that's a German game. Wow. which no one
Wally Green 18:09
in America really knows. The only reason I know it is because I was trying to make a they had like a junior like semi pro team. And I played a little bit Hamble I was actually really good at it. It is very interesting.
Pete Cohen 18:23
So So how long were you out in Nigeria, for I was two years,
Wally Green 18:27
two years in Nigeria supposed to visit. The first year I was supposed to visit. I hated it so much. And I told him I says, Once, you know, I come back here. I'm never coming back there again. They taught me. Yeah. So I never got to come the first year to visit.
Pete Cohen 18:45
So then the second going,
Wally Green 18:47
second year was supposed to be also a visit. And then when I came here, I told my mom, if I have to get back on a plane and go back there again, then you'll never see me ever again. So what happened? And that's how I was I was able to stay. So I wind up staying. And then this is where the epiphany or the turning point came. My stepfather. One day we were we were in a living room while I was in the room. My stepfather my mom was in the kitchen. And they were arguing like they always do see the arguing stuff was normal. Right? That was you know, they're always arguing all the time, always arguing. And they were arguing and then my stepfather went to grab my mom by the throat. Right. And so I turned and I looked. Now you remember now I'm bigger. I'm stronger. You know, I've been doing this crazy army. You were ready. Yeah. And so I turned around. I just look, I didn't say anything I just looked. And my stepfather told me he goes, What are you looking at? We look over here again, you're gonna get the same exact thing. But I wasn't the same exact kid from two years ago. And I just I just lost it like mental I mentally just lost it. I ran out the house, went next door to where we keep our guns. And I went and got a gun came back, came back to the house with it. And I don't remember running out the house. All I remember is being there with a gun to his head. I don't remember how I got the gun. Yeah, yeah. But, you know, when kids grow up with this kind of thing, you're, you're, you're pretty much a ticking time bomb, you're at a time bomb, and one day, you're gonna explode. And that was the day and I couldn't take any more, I just ran out, came back, ran back in the house, put it right to his head. And like, I'm gonna kill you today. And I was crying. I was like, you've been beating on my mom, you know, feet since I was just since I known you. And I was crying, I was shaking. And then my mom picks up the phone. You know, first she's like screaming as she picks up the phone. And she calls the police. And she says, You guys have to hurry. My son's trying to kill my husband. And at that point, I turned around and put the gun to my mother's face. And I was gonna shoot my mom and my stepfather. And, you know, that moment was probably one of the most difficult moments, you know, and that's a moment that could, you know, either make you or break you and destroy you to where you know, the rest of your life. Because, you know, like I said, as a kid, you want to protect your mom. I don't know any kid who's not gonna want to protect his mom. And we're talking about since I was one, right? Yeah, to now right now. I'm back now. Not now. I'm 16. So for 16 years, you know, wanted to protect my mom. And then finally, you know, I get the chance to protect my mom. And what did she do? She turned against me to protect the person who's abusing her. And so you know, I put the gun to her. I pointed to him. And, you know, I was shaking, I was crying. And then something came to me real quick, because all this is happening so fast. Right? I'm telling it sounds slow. But it's it's quick. And somebody came to me. And like I tell you, I hated my stepfather so much like, you know, I hated him. This is a person who told me every single day, oh, you're going to be dead? You're going to be in jail. You're never going to mountain nothing. Anything I wanted to do was shut down. No, you're not good enough? No, there's no way you can do that you forget about that. Don't do that. Right. So I genuinely hated this person. And you know, somebody came on my show that could be divine intervention, whatever you want to call it. And it said, hey, well, if you do this right now, every single thing that your stepfather said to you just happen right now. It will happen this moment. And all this is happening so fast. And then I just said, and plus I knew the police were on the way. So so so you know, this thought process was really fast. The motion was so quick. And it was it will watch those movies and see those time I think was really fast. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. That's what was happening at that point. And then I just said, You know what, the two of you deserve each other. And you never see me again. And I left and I left my house with miles before the police got there. And never went back. And that and that was the turning point. Because that could have went. It could have went either way. Because I really wanted to kill my stepfather that day. And it sounds crazy. But I really wanted to kill my mom that day for turning against me. You know, all the years that I supported her all the years that I hugged her all the years that I got hit for consoling her all the years that I got punished for just trying to be a son that's, you know, loves his mom. Right? And then to turn on me in the most important, crucial time. I really wanted to kill her to but you know, I was I wouldn't say lucky, because I had to make the conscious decision to not do it. But I'm in the way I was kind of lucky. And you know, I got out and never went back.
Pete Cohen 24:29
Well, I'm so glad that you didn't do that and pull the trigger. You know, because you've inspired a lot of people. I wonder how many people on Earth have been touched by the person that you've chosen to become? You know, I don't know you, you know, but I've got to know you a little bit and you seem like such a kind loving person who just wants to inspire people. And it's very hard to find the words to kind of explain how I feel about you. Just because you made that decision it would have been such an easy decision. And you talk about divine intervention? I'm always curious as to that voice that you know, who was that voice? Was it you? Was it God? Was it your future self? It doesn't really matter. But I'm so glad that voice came and spoke to you and said, we're not we're not going out like this. I mean, there's so much to this story. I mean, what about your relationship now with your mom it what did you
Wally Green 25:24
so my bad my whole family life was messed up on both sides. So so my dad, my my real dad, I loved my dad, I love my dad a lot like me and my dad. were somewhat close. As close as my stepfather will allow. Yeah. So my, my, my, my dad's side of the family hated me. And the reason is, so I have older siblings, from the wife that my dad's married to. Yeah, that's kind of strange. How can I have older siblings? I shouldn't be the oldest, but and I still don't know till till this day. What happened? Maybe he was married before maybe they were dating and they married my mom. I have no idea. I still don't know. But his wife hated me. Like hated me, like really hated me. Because, you know, I was a child that was created by him cheating on her? Yeah, that's why I have two old step brothers and sisters. So you know, that family kind of hated me. And my, so when I was with my mom, my mom would send me away, like, they will be getting angry at me. And my stuff was I don't want them here. And they would kick me off to my to my dad's house. My dad would always take me, right. So this one on a lot, then my mom, when they decided she wanted me, they would steal me from school. So I'd be coming out of school. How
Pete Cohen 27:04
did you become who you are today? What do you put that down to? Because you know, you seem like someone who's very balanced and you seem like someone you know who you are, you know what you're about? How How did that happen? What do you put that down to?
Wally Green 27:18
I think it's just hating someone so much that you never ever want to be like that person. And never, ever want anything that that person said to ever come true. So do
Pete Cohen 27:32
you do you like the opposite of hey, you know, you chose to love right? Yeah. Because you seem like someone that is just so full of love. And I have to tell you, while he you know, on Saturday night, I got really upset because I see a lot of hatred in the world. Right? And I understand, you know, I grew up seeing hatred. I grew up watching soccer, football, you know, watching Arsenal vs Tottenham, and you see, they want to kill each other. They absolutely hate each other. And then you see hate with religion and culture. And you see, and the other day seeing how a lot of the black community in America, I hate now hate the Jewish community. I know. It's a massive, massive generalization. And I'm Jewish, you know, I'm a human being first and foremost. Right? And the way I look at it is I wasn't expecting to talk to you about this, the way I the way I see it, we all actually originated from, from from black, we were all black. Once, you know, we all came from Africa. That's the tribe we that's where we came from, right. And then we see how we kind of went and traveled and we formed tribes and religions. And then it's that I'm better than you and you're better than me. And I hate hatred. And I'm so I'm so inspired by you because it would have been so easy for you two have chosen the path of hate. And you've chosen the path the path of the year of love. And anyone who's listening to this, I'd really encourage you to connect with Wally because I think what everyone needs a wali in their life. And it was funny because I was thinking of Forrest Gump before and you talked about Forrest Gump in your TED Talk, which we'll we'll put a link to your TED Talk. So how did that there's so much of his story, but I want to go from your back. You've been in the in the US you're not living with your mom and your stepdad. At what point did you go back into table tennis and then end up representing your country playing table tennis?
Wally Green 29:36
Yeah, so after I left my home, I was homeless for a year. So I lived on the street for a year and that consisted of back with the gang of course, you know, hanging out sleeping from place to place sometimes breaking night. You just hanging out to morning and doing it again. And um, yeah, and um you Then I started to go back to that the pool hall, you know, because because because I actually enjoyed watching it and I wanted to play it looked interesting. So I went back to the pool hall and I tried to play a little bit, nobody would play with me because, you know, I suck and they didn't know me, or this sport is very cliquey. It's one of the more clicky sports, which means that if you're in a place where people are at a good level, no one's gonna say, Hey, you want to play? It's like, if you're at the basketball court, or you're on the soccer field, or football, as you say, no one's going to, you know, they people will say, Hey, do you play Do you want to join, but in this sport, because they might need a extra body to play in this sport, it does not happen. It no one is going to say, because, you know, they got their partner that they're playing with, and they're not going to, and they don't care about you. So no one will play with me. And then I'm finally this old guy. It was the old guy that was around, he's like, 70s, or something like that. And then, you know, he would play with me, but he would beat the mess out of me. So and I would get so innocent. Another reason why I wanted to play more, because I was like, There's no way a guy who's like in his 70s can beat me remember, I played every sport in MVP. I'm a super athlete, how can I lose to some guy who's seven years old? It's crazy. So that gave me some more fire to want to play more. And then one day, a guy from Israel, Jewish guy comes in and he says, Hey, do you have a partner? And I said, Um, no, not really. He goes, Well, you know, I traveled back and forth. He was traveling from Israel, to New York very often. I think he had an import export business. And he was like, you know, I can pay you $20 Every time you play, we played together. I was like, well, $20 Yeah, let's do it. Turns out it was, like I said, I had no money. I was living the streets train, oh, let's go. So I would play with this guy. And he would pay me $20. And we would talk, you know, we did it for a while, we got really close. And you know, we would talk, right, and, um, you know, I would talk about the things I was going through stuff that I went through, you know, you know, I was always very open about my life. And then he, for him. And this is crazy, because I'm saying this now, as if, I don't know another way, right. So I was always thinking someone brought it to my attention as we very recently. In my mind, I was thinking he wasn't really paying attention or, or that much, because it was like a TV show, the TV shows to him, right? A TV show, where, you know, if you don't know, anyone who's lived that kind of life, it's very hard to really understand what they're going through. Right. But given what I know, now, in this day, he was from Israel. So they went to a lot of stuff. Right? So, um, it was weird. You know, one day I went to a club, I went to the club, and, um, a gunfight on my back in front of him. And first thing I thought in my mind was like, man, it was my $20. And I didn't want to stay around to see what he was gonna say. So I just, I said, I gotta go, and I left. So I thought for sure that was the end of it, then we're gonna hear from this guy again. But the guy calls me a day or two days later, he says, Hey, are we still playing? Right? So I didn't, I didn't understand that. Right? Because normally, if someone sees a gun, follow your bag, they're not gonna call you again to come play. It doesn't make sense. But like I said, given what I know now, you know, he was from Israel. They've seen ton of guns, the right so I didn't know all this back then. And he calls me and then you know, we play and he says, hey, I want to invite you to my house. So he had a house, also near Hunter Mountain, which is two and a half hours away from the Europe. And I thought that was weird. Why? Why would you invite this kid to your house, who just had a gun for out of his bag in front of you? Right, but once again, like I said, Now, things that I know, later, you know, they've seen this before, this is nothing. This is like something small. So he brought me to the family's house. They had a ping pong table, and a pool table. And, um, I would, you know, he would make me play with them. So I was playing with them like a family. And, and I think at the time, he was trying to give me a sense of what family was right. And, and then he told me says, hey, you know, I really want to help you out. So I'm gonna pay for you to go to Germany to learn painful. I was like, what? Exactly the same face? What? Yeah, I have a connection in Germany. It's a sport. School, right? Anyone with a sport school was a sport school where all the kids who excel in sports, the future Olympians, future pro athletes, this is where they live. And you know, I want to send you there. And I was like, Oh, okay. But it was kind of weird because the only thing I knew about Germany back then was Hitler. And I was like, yeah, why is God trying to send me to Germany? But nonetheless, I never left Brooklyn. So it was an opportunity. I, you know, I was always a kid that understood opportunity. And I said, Okay, I want to do it. So that's how I that was how I got into the sport, like, legit that that's how I
Pete Cohen 35:44
started along. Were you in Germany for Where did you go in Germany?
Wally Green 35:47
So the first place I went, was Hanover. Yeah, I lived in Hanover, and stayed in the sport school. The original plan was for four months. But the that year, I went to a tournament, and I watched some of the best players in the world play in America. Right? It was it was US Open. And I was I was the kind of person that I go to people and say, Hey, are you really the number one player in the world? Are you really number two? Really? I went talking to people and then they always say, I met a lot of the famous German players and and also famous European players. And they always say, if you're in Germany, you know, call us up. And so guess what? If I was in Germany, and and I call I call, or one of the guys I met and say, Hey, I'm in Germany, I want to I want to come to where you are in play. And that's how I started you know, I went to after the school, so up into four months, learning the sport. Then after that I go to play with his team. It was in a very, very small town in Germany In Germany, called Huggins housing. A lot of people don't know this town, but the bigger city is going to be Copeland's. Yeah. And then, from Coughlin's, if you go up in the mountains, and you go all the way up, there's a city called Huggins housing, then within that city is, and within that town, there's a smaller, very small town called grandpa and grandpa was a table tennis town. Right? So the team of grandpa was, like, as you would say, in football, the Champion of Champions League, they were the best in the world. And one of the one of the guys who coach Keith passed away. His name was Andre Gruber. And, you know, I remember when I first walked in there, and you know, this is like, this is like, just starting, just starting, let's say, basketball like they could, you just started to learn basketball, and you got to get really quickly. And now you get a chance to practice with 96, Chicago Bulls. Practice, like you get to practice. That's what it was for me. Like, every player who played on his team was super famous. Everyone was super famous, right? And the coach itself, Andre group as a legend. And I remember walking in there. And he looks at me, he goes, because he knew that there's no way that I had the level to practice with the right clothes. And he goes, you want to practice here? And I said, yeah, if that would be okay. But, you know, the love that they showed, you know, even though it was nowhere, not even close, not even in a minute way close to the level. They still allowed me, you know, and I think that made me like the sport even more, because I was like, wow, because I you know, I didn't know it wasn't that level. I mean, you remember the team? My my winger from China was number one at one time. Chingy Ben was number one, you know, Nooshin blast check component, Peter Cobell. I mean that people go about Lucian plus check and one play can remember Stephen fetzima from Germany, and you know, these were like the top of the top players in the world. And they still showed me love. Right? You don't want
Pete Cohen 39:31
Why do you think that was? Why do you think they showed you love?
Wally Green 39:35
I think because, you know, I was a visitor and being American like, one of the things that another changing point came when I was at the school. So just because I went to the School of kids, it didn't mean that I wasn't as violent person. It wasn't like the Oh doesn't switch that okay, I'm in Germany. Now. The switch is off. Let me be a nice guy. No I was still not a nice guy. And and what happened was is people were extra nice. And people were like, Oh my God, you're from America. Wow, that's so cool. How are you? What's going on there? How's everything because it was shortly after nine 911 I went to Germany and it was like, wow, is everything okay? And people are so nice and so great. You know, they have this thing is called Killing you with kindness, right? And that's a real thing. You know, I always say this, it's really hard to punch someone in the face, who's being extra nice to you. That kind of character. That's not like, I can do that. I mean, even even when I was a gay, even when I was in a gang, I never picked up my gun to shoot someone unless it was absolutely necessary. So it wasn't like, do you look at me? Why are you looking at me, I'm gonna shoot you. I never did this. I was never ever. Now. Okay. Now, if you had a problem with one of my gang members, that's different. But that little petty, petty stuff. I was never like that. And so you know, people were just super nice. And eventually, you know, the first month and a half, I was confused, because I didn't know how to, I didn't know how to act. If people are nice to you. That means they want something from this, you know, growing up in a project, no one's nice. No, no, it's nice. Even your gang members were your family. They're nice. Because what, because they know that you're gonna protect them, right? You know, that they're gonna protect you. That's why you do things for each other, right? But if I say one day, you know, I don't know if I can protect you guys. When it comes down to it, you didn't are going to be nice to me. That niceness will turn in one second. Right in one second. All of a sudden, it'll turn. So you know, I was like, very confused. And I didn't know how to react. How do you react to people being nice to you? No one's been nice to me. Really nice. Okay, the guy was nice to me. But now I'm in a different country with all these weird people. And no one's nice. They just gotta be something's gotta be something. And then eventually, I had that breakthrough moment. Again, same situation on the shoulder, and all and that's to myself, Hey, why are you angry? Why are you upset? You're not in America, you're not in your abusive home. You're nowhere near there. You're in a totally different country very far away from all the abuse from all the gang guns and violence. Why are you angry people here, like you, not because you can pick up your gun and defend them. They like you just because they like you. They think you're cool. So why are you angry. And then once I was able to figure that out, then that was the start of change, then I started to be nicer. And then I started to try to understand more and be more friendly. And that was also another big change in my mindset and my character. And it came from that. So I so when I went to this team, you know, I got it. I was like, Yeah, people like you. Because you're you. You know, because your your your your, your your, you know, your your day to day like your energy. You know, because what I went through even though I knew I was nowhere near the level, but I would practice like I was that level, right? Yeah. Then I will always 100% Even when I first started learning, I wanted to be the best I wanted. I was always working hard, always working hard, always working hard. And I think that's what they liked. And yeah,
Pete Cohen 43:30
you know what, one of the things that I love again, about your story is a lot of people when they're getting love, and they're not used to it, they they reject it. And, you know, you know, it's hard to accept that people just want to love you. They just want to be nice to you don't want to be kind to you again, what a lesson. You know, the Romans actually, that when you look at the word genius, in its origin, it doesn't mean someone who's really gifted and talented. The word genius means the moral authority, and the Romans believed everyone had a moral authority in their own in their own head. You know, and it's listening and being guided. And it sounds like to me that your genius was was kind of waking you up, you know, and that, you know, again, I hope one day to make a movie about your story, because this story in the classes right now. Well, that doesn't surprise me. It doesn't surprise me and I tell you what, I mean that this film has to be made. But at what point did you start getting good? You know, at what point did you start? How long did it take for you to start beating some of these people?
Wally Green 44:31
Yeah, so after Germany, so again, remember, I'm training for the last, I don't know, six, maybe eight months total. I've been training every day, like three times a day, just so I did was penguin and I had no money. Like the people that I met there like they wish they would take care of because I remember he only paid for the first four months, right? So it was two months extra. And you know, those guys are probably still having money. So so they kinda like, they took like a little brother, right? And they pay for everything all the time. So you know, I'm sorry for that. But yeah, playing every day to three times a day, every single day, maybe Sunday. It's no, it's no training, then I come back to America. And, you know, really interesting. I love it. I'm loving people, and I'm loving it right now. And I play a tournament, a local tournament, actually, it was in Chinatown in New York City. And it was very local, not rated very local tournament. And, um, I get on the table, you know, there was some kids visiting from China. And he was playing a tournament, so we got to play against each other. And when we were playing, right, the kid was making all kinds of noises. Like, he's gonna want this kid, right? I was like, This guy's crazy or something. And it was pissing me off. Because, you know, you can take people out to hurt but you don't. The hood never leaves out of me. Right? I control it, but it's always there. And it's always ready. It's always at this kid was pissing me off because he kept doing this and and making these noises sighs okay, you know what? I'm gonna do the same thing to I'm going to bring the hood to the scanner. I'm going to bring, I'm going to bring the hood back. So they lay it out and make a point of like, that's it baby, send them back, send them back a scope. I start talking trash, talking trash. So me, let's keep it going back and forth. And he was better than me anywhere. I want to lose him back. But because I was in his head. You know, I played very well. And then this lady comes up to me. And she goes, what was the lady was? He was he was the lady. She came up to me. And she goes, Hey, I love your match. It was so exciting. She goes Do you know Rockstar Games? And I was like, Yeah, Rockstar. I know Rockstar. Grand Theft Auto is my favorite game. She goes well, we're looking to make the world's first table tennis game. Would you be interested in helping us? We really like your vibe? Uh, yeah, for sure. Rockstar game you crazy. But, you know, in my mind, like I had it planned out. I had it planned out. I you know, everything I do. You know, I do have an intention. It was an intention. And I had it planned out and I knew what I saw games is huge. If I ever wanted to play pro. There's no way I could say no to this opportunity. It was no way. And so I made this video game with them called Rockstar presents table tennis. It beat Madden beat the football games, the beat FIFA it beat every game. For best sports game of the year. It was the most talked about sports game a long time because Rockstar doesn't make ping pong games. They make games that are violence. Yeah. So video game world went crazy with this. And I traveled a little bit with Rockstar to promote the game. And then I tell them says, hey, I want to play pro. Would you guys sponsor me? And they said, Of course. No, I was like really, this, like, just come up with a budget. I don't even know what the budget was, you know how to make a budget. So I had to figure out how to make this budget. And I came up with a budget. And they paid me to play ping pong around the world. And that's how I started. That's how, that's how I started. I was able to have the money to travel around the world to play and I thought that was like the worst pro in the world. But as I played and changed my mindset about the sport, I got better, and I got better, and I got better. And I got better, to where I started actually winning some.
Pete Cohen 48:43
Wow. I mean, it's just it's not very often I get lost for words. But you know, everyone's got a story in them, right? And this kind of recognizing that. We're all in the story making business. And I really hope that people who listen to this makes them think about the story of their life a little bit differently, and perhaps what they could do with it to impact the lives of others. But what's been the height of your ping pong career?
Wally Green 49:13
So I have to say the highlight of my ping pong career would have to be doing my diplomacy for world peace in North Korea.
Pete Cohen 49:22
So I mean, those people who haven't watched a TED talk we will definitely put that I've seen that tech tool and I've seen that hug that you went to go and give that guy the end. And how backed away but you were like, I'm hugging you. And how you made the crowd Love You by you've been lovely to them because they were against you reminded me of rocky for Rocky for Ivan Drago in Russia. Yeah, at the end. They were all chanting yawn. But how? I mean, why why did you choose to go to North Korea?
Wally Green 49:53
Man. So I was I was looking at the list of competitions around the world. So we can usually see them one year be one year before. And I think the year before that, I had just appeared on the Steve Harvey Show as a guest. Because I was in Virginia Beach doing a charity called ping pong, ping pong for poverty. And then I was on the local TV show there. And they saw that and they were like, you know, want you to be on the Steve Harvey Show. And the next year came and I was like, man, what can I do bigger than last year? What? Well, I do. And so I didn't know what I didn't know what I wanted to do. But then start looking at tournaments. I was like, okay, China, Japan, Korea. Okay. I'll do those Germany. I'll do that. What stopped me was like, Pyongyang, North Korea, I said no way. No way. There's a tournament in Pyongyang, North Korea, this is no way. And I looked at make sure it said it, North Korea. And then everything just clicked boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. So I'll give you a little bit of American history 1971 America establish relations with China's through ping pong. It's called the ping pong diplomacy, where China invited the US team to come over to play some friendly games. And actually one of the only black guy on the team I used to practice with, he passed away during COVID. But I used to practice well. And I'm not not. And I remember, like I said, I used to practice with this guy. So I know this history very well. And then I thought, Oh, my God, I said, I need to use my sport, to go to do a diplomacy for world peace in North Korea. Because during the 1971, during that time, you know, China and America were not it wasn't like they were, you know, great, right? Communists were not allowed to talk to people who are not communist. So it's a very different world. And I thought, well, you know, what, I want to promote peace. And what better country to do it in the country that hates me the most is North Korea. So I thought that it was a great idea. And I thought that people would be like, Yeah, let's do it. But that wasn't the case. I reached out to everyone that I knew in America, in the world. And everyone told me, You're out of your mind. You're crazy. We're not going to North Korea, you're going to die. They're going to kill you. You're not going to come back. There's no way one person can do anything about that. It was just very negative. So I said, Okay, you know, if you guys don't go, then I'll go by myself. I can go along, I have no problem myself. So I called up the team and says, Hey, I need you guys to enter me into the piano gang open North Korea. And they were like, what? I was like, yeah, they were like, I say, Listen, I'm not asking, I'm telling. I just want to go, enter me, I'm gonna take care everything myself. So that's how I got to North Korea. I went alone.
Pete Cohen 53:11
Well, listen, I'm asking everybody who listens to this podcast, to go and watch the TED talk and listen to your experience of being in that environment. And I tell you, you know, I had a coach for 16 years of my life. He was from the Philippines. He was eight of 16. Brothers and sisters. He lived in Dallas. He was a lot older than me, he was like Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid. Not only did his advice, save my wife's life, and massively helped me when he went to America, I think in the early, very early 70s, he said, he took the hug to America. He said, When he went to America, people weren't hugging. And he would hug everybody. And when he came to the UK, I used to take him to some of the big meetings I had with big CEOs of companies, and he would still go and hug him. And people, you'd see these, these people sort of back off and go, hang on, you're not hugging me. And he was like, he wouldn't he didn't care what anybody thought. Why did you go and hug because I use it. When you watch the TED Talk. And you see that bit of video. He shook your hand, but then you went to hug him and he backed off. Why Why? Why did you want to hug him?
Wally Green 54:25
Yeah. So in in the beginning of that, you know, I got to play against him, which was really a I could say lucky. Or I could say I manifested it, right, because if I didn't get to play against the North Korean, that I would have just went to North Korea. And I think what happened I could have played against a Syrian. I could have played against Chinese. That would lead but I got to play against Chinese and North Korean and when we were coming out, so it's It's a North Korean, it's the umpire, it's the near umpire, I mean, we're walking out to the stadium, everyone, there's like 5000 people in the crowd and people, you can feel that you can feel the hate, you can feel it. It's like, This is no joke. I've never felt, I've never felt something like that before. Like, you could peel. Everyone's looking at you. And then they're not smiling. No one is smiling. It was looking at me, like Who the hell's the sky? You know, you know, and as I'm coming out, you can hear the sounds right? There, like kind of like, like, you know, what is this? You know, it's kind of sounds you would make if you saw an animal that you really didn't like. And that's what it felt like, and you know, we come out. And then I look up people looking, I'm like, Oh, my God, this is crazy. And then we start to play, right, so we start playing the match. I go up five, zero really quickly. But every time I made a point, everyone just kept going. Like this, this disapproval, sound. And I was like, oh my god, this is crazy. Then he started making some points, right? Every time he made a point, it got really loud. As if it was like the finals of the Olympics. Mind you, this is just the preliminary round robin group. And um, but they would make this noise, they would clap and it would get loud. And at one point, it started to piss me off. I was getting I was getting because listen, when I when I decided I wanted to do a diplomacy for world peace. I didn't know how to do a diplomacy for peace. How do you do diplomacy for peace? I didn't know I didn't have I didn't have a plan. I didn't have an idea of what I was going to do. I didn't know how I was going to do I had no idea. Right. But I knew for sure the first step was just getting there. Right? I had to get there. I had to be there and to be there. And then hopefully, something would come up. And it would manifest itself right. So I had no plan. So you know, when this so when they started making all this noise. It wasn't just the noise of cheering for there. You know, there's two kinds of chairs, and you can see it in football, right? There's the one where you know, you're cheering because you're happy. The guys, you know, progressing. And then there's the hateful chair. That's not really for the guy. It's against the opponent. And so they were really just being really belligerent. And I was getting really upset. And at one point, I wanted to look up and just like Chris, everyone out. But then at that point, I always talk about the thing that comes on my shoulder. And it shows up a lot. And it said, Remember your purpose. Remember why you came here? So I didn't get upset. I looked up. And I gave a smile. Just gave me a smile. And then I noticed my smile. Some other people smiled. And I was like, Wow, that's crazy. Okay, so I'd play again, we'd play, I'd smile again, they would smile, and then chuckle. And people weren't giving me that sound that much anymore. And I was like, oh, man, I got something here. So I figured now this is where the connection is going to happen. So now finally I had a plan. My plan was connect with the audience, you've already connected. Let's keep this connection going. So I focus on just connecting with the audience. So I would smile, they would smile, and I can just connect with going back home and play the match. At the end of the match. I wind up losing. Right, my pointer was definitely better than me. And I went to go shake his hand. Now in sports, all sports, especially take table tennis, you know, it's tricky. So he didn't want to shake my hand. You can tell he didn't want to he did not want to shake my hand, right? Because I'm an American, and they're taught that we're evil with the devil, we should be killed. And he went to put his hand up, and I could tell he didn't want to shake my hand. So when he put his hand out, I grabbed his hand. Right. And I pulled him in and give him a big bear hug. And you know, like, like, you saw I have my camera facing my back. right in his face. At first I was like, Yeah, right. But then he smiled. Right? That smile, you know, I think is one of the most important thing in this story is you know, I went all the way to North Korea just to get a smile, right? The power of a smile. It goes such a long way. Here's a person that's taught all his life to hate me, and I'm evil and the devil yet yet. I have this guy giving back a smile. I had 5000 people smiling. So you know, at the end of the day, everyone's saying, oh, one person. One person can't make people change bla bla, but you know, it's not my job to make people change. It's my job to plant the seed. And it takes only one person to plant the seed doesn't take a group takes one person to plant the seed. So you know if years down the line. They say, Oh, you Americans this man is that because I remember that guy who came here from America. What love with his crazy yellow hair and stuff like that. But um, yeah, so I planted the seed that day. And, you know, my diplomacy was a success with no plan. But because I was very passionate about it, and, and I knew something I really wanted to do with anything else. That it was the it showed itself the way of diplomacy the way I was gonna do it showed up. And yeah, it was great.
Pete Cohen 1:00:35
Well, you know, I've been podcasting for nearly seven years, an episode every week, sometimes two episodes. And this has to be one of my favorite. And I actually believe there's some diet divine intervention here as well, just because of what I was experiencing the other day, and just realizing that love really is loving kindness. That's the solution, you know. And that's, that's, that's where it's at. So, you know, we could talk for hours, I would love everybody who's listen to this to reach out to Wally on Instagram, or however you want people to reach out to you. And I want everyone to say, What's your biggest takeaway? You know, what he's just given us? I don't know, what an hour of his time, if not even more than that, because the first 20 minutes, we had to go again, because I didn't press record. You know, and I can't wait for people to reach out there. And I'm sure they this movie that's being made about you, it will, it will spread the word of diplomacy and love. What is it that you're inspired about right now, apart from you know, a film? What is it that gets you going every day? What do you want the legacy of your life to be Willie?
Wally Green 1:01:43
Man, like I mentioned before, the thing that surprised me the most is that now you know, like, oh, like, overnight, I've become like a public speaker. It's crazy. And I, you know, it's funny, all the things that I hate, that are that I hated, like ping pong, I wind up doing them. So like, I hated public speaking, I really hated it. But then I realized, you know, wow, if I speak publicly, and I speak to kids, I can change lives. So that really inspires me, like I love, there's nothing more. There's, there's nothing more that I really love. Being with a kid who's having a very troubled wife, and just hanging in talking to them, you know, a couple of months, a month, two months ago, I went and did this ribbon cutting for another sport that I played pro, which is called paddle tennis. And, um, they built a pilot tennis court. On this 110 acre land, the name of the organization is called undress children. And what they do is they they housed kids that suffer, like severe PTSD and trauma, from family abuse, and they try to get them ready for society. So these kids are young, they're like, 12 1314, you know, 11, you know, so it's, it's, it's a it's a China, help them so that they can be functional in society. And so I went and spent time with their, me. Another friend of mine who plays paddle tennis pro, and Lindsay Davenport, who you might know, of course, the tennis player. Yeah, yeah. So we, we were there. And let me tell you, like, hanging with these kids, and having them open up to me, was one of them was so inspiring. And because, you know, a lot of the people who work there, the staff said, Man, these these kids, like they, they never open up, but we see them, they open up to you and they talking to you, and stuff like that. And I say yeah, because I've been through it. And they know that I've been through it, they know I've been they can feel that I've been through the same stuff. So, you know, when I talk to these kids, and see their eyes light up, or just see them smile, or, or feel you can feel that they feel that you care when you you can feel this. And it's the greatest feeling in the world, man. So that inspires me and motivates me so much. Even my TEDx talk, you know, this wasn't the first time I got access to a TEDx talk. This is the third time the first two times I said no, right? I was like, No, I don't like giving speeches. I like conversations. You know, I don't want to give them just talk because I don't want to do it. So two times I turned it down. The way the third one came, they says, Hey, you have a TEDx talk you love and it's going to be geared towards the youth. And I said, How Yeah, 100% a week. And this is coming from a guy who turned to TEDx talks down already. And I said, Hell yeah, it's about kids. I mean, so that's what inspires me and motivates me so much, are, are like Kids, you know, just, you know, wanting to not let them go down the same path that I went. Because if it was another way, if it was the opposite side of the spectrum, I wouldn't be here talking to you right now. So I don't do that.
Pete Cohen 1:05:18
I know that, you know, people listen to our podcast all over the world every day, I get a list of, you know, where we're performing. And countries like Cyprus, Macedonia, Australia, and it's amazing. I can't wait to get this podcast out there into the world because you know, stories do change lives, we are in the story making business. If you someone who told me your story, I would have thought really, that doesn't matter. Seems a bit, you know, but it's real. I heard it. And
Wally Green 1:05:47
I want to say something real quick, because you just reminded me something. So when I went to North Korea, and when I came back, I just walked through immigration. I walked through immigration, that was fine. Then you go through customs, right. So say, you know, you have to get a little blue paper in America. And you write down where you've been. Right. So I wrote down China, North North Korea, right, because I didn't have to tell the US government that I went to North Korea. I didn't have to do that. So no one knew I went to North Korea. So. So when I walked through, I give them the blue slip. And I was already out, literally the door open and say, hey, hey, come back, come back. So I went back. And the guy goes, it says, You've been to China and North Korea. And I said, Yeah, I was not crazy. What are you doing in North Korea? I said I was playing table tennis for the US team. And you know, he told me, he goes, That sounds very far fetched. Come with me.
Pete Cohen 1:06:48
Yeah, exactly. Well, you know, it really does sound far fetched. When people hear a far fetched story that doesn't fit into their model of the world. People can't believe it. But that's just their ignorance. There's a whole world out there. And I actually believe this has happened. Because this was the right time for me personally, to hear this. And I just think you're an amazing example of transformation and transcending becoming a different person. You know, my whole thing is about future self. That's what the podcast is. It's called future self, and about helping people identify with who they could be. And I don't even think you knew who you could be. But you knew there was more to what you, you know, and and, you know, I'm just so grateful for the time that we've spent together and like I say, I can't wait to get this. I don't think I've ever been as excited about getting a podcast out there. And it's interesting that you talk about Paul, I worked with the seven times snooker World Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan. So snooker, you know, is like Paul, but a lot more difficult. And he actually played with Efrain Reyes, who's probably the greatest pool players Filipino, one of the greatest players of all time. And then we talked about Desmond Douglas, who I grew up watching who was a black table tennis player. You always see when you see great people who have done things, you realize that there was always a story behind them, someone who helped them and we can all help each other. And I'm so grateful Waleed that we met on the social media app of clubhouse. And I really really appreciate what's the best way for people to contact you. Is it via Instagram, by your website? What's the best way?
Wally Green 1:08:35
Instagram is fine. Is Wally green NYC.
Pete Cohen 1:08:39
Yeah, I will. I will put I will put it there. And yeah, I'm looking forward when it when whenever you come to the UK if you've been to the UK before?
Wally Green 1:08:49
No. Isn't that crazy? I've been all over the world and there we've been to the UK. Yeah.
Pete Cohen 1:08:53
Well, let's make that happen. Yeah, I'm gonna see what opportunities I can
Wally Green 1:08:57
find. I got to come and speak to the youth in the UK. I got to come to speaking.
Pete Cohen 1:09:03
Okay, listen, thank you so much. Thank you. I really really appreciate it. And this has been awesome. Absolutely awesome.
Wally Green 1:09:11
Thank you for having me. Appreciate it.
Pete Cohen 1:09:13
It's a pleasure. I'm gonna play out with the theme tune and thank you so much everyone. Make sure you subscribe to the podcast follow Wally. And yeah, I'll see you next time.