Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Coach Tressel's Legacy...according to me

You won't be able to read or hear about this story on ESPN, Sports Illustrated, or the Columbus Dispatch this week.  You see there is nothing, as a fallen people, that we like better than a story of a good man who also has fallen - sad isn't it.  (Believe me, I know from personal experience!)  We get a weird sort of pleasure reading about it, listening to all the details, and then making comments about it to our friends, family, and posting comments about it all over the Internet.  Twisted - I know, but think of how many times we participate in this.  Well, this is my blog and I've decided I'm going to do something different.  I'm not going to condemn anyone, but I'm also not going to excuse anyone.  What I really want you to see after this blog entry is that our legacies do not have to be defined by our failures, our sins, our mistakes despite what some TV commentator might say, but they can be defined by the grace of God working through us day in and day out.

Well, in light of that, I would like to remind you or maybe tell you for the first time my story of Coach Tressel and the legacy that he will carry in my family. 

On Aug 17th my son was run over by a lawnmower.  It just so happened that on that day Bryson was wearing his brand new #33 jersey.  Bryson was probably the biggest 4 year  old OSU football fan ever and was so excited about his new jersey.  In fact, his dad had on a matching jersey.  Turns out his daddy used his jersey to tie around Bryson's leg to stop the bleeding and Bryson's jersey was cut off.  While I was in the emergency room with Bryson before he was life-flighted to Columbus Children's hospital he let me know that he was upset about his new jersey.  I assured him we would get him a new one, but never did I dream how things would turn out for him. 

Bryson on the morning before his accident in his brand new jersey.

Bryson had his leg amputated and then spent quite a bit of time in the hospital as he healed.  During that time, through a series of events that I'm not even sure of, Coach Tressel was made aware of Bryson's accident and his love for the Buckeye's.  It wasn't a couple of days later and Coach Tressel came to meet Bryson in person.  He came alone: no cameras, no media, no support crew.  He came. He encouraged. He let us tell him Bryson's story.  He let us take his picture with Bryson.  He gave Bryson some signed hats and a covered note pad.  He promised to get Bryson to a OSU football practice and to an Ohio vs Michigan game (since that always falls on the weekend of Bryson's birthday).  All of that was great, but what left the biggest impression on me was when he handed us his business card and wrote his personal cell phone number on the back.  He told us to call if we needed anything - are you kidding me!  Who does that!  I will tell you - not somebody who is only interested in lining his pockets or winning football games.  We were of no value to him, my husband is a youth pastor, we don't live in Columbus, & we aren't alumni of the university.  We were just a hurting family who he took time for, in the middle of football season, to encourage.

He fulfilled his promises to Bryson.  Bryson was able to go to two OSU football practices and went to the Ohio State/Michigan game the next year and sat in the most amazing seats.  On the notebook he gave Bryson he wrote, "The Buckeyes are cheering for you."  Bryson was very impressed by that.  While watching the football games even now a couple years later Bryson will say, "That's Coach Tressel!  That's my friend!"

At Bryson's 1st OSU practice

After Bryson's 2nd OSU practice

OSU/Michigan game - we had to hold him the whole game because he didn't want to miss anything.

So, Coach Tressel's legacy in our family will simply be this that he was an encourager when we needed encouragement, was compassionate when we needed compassion, perfect - NO (but really who of us is), and to Bryson "friend."  I'll take that kind of legacy any day of the week.

On a side note, random people have asked me how Bryson is taking all of this (knowing what a big fan he is) and I will tell you this, he is just sad that Coach Tressel won't be coaching the Buckeye's next year.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bryson's prayer for Izzy

So it has been a couple days, but after I told Bryson about Izzy that night he said a prayer for her.  It was so cute, so innocent, and so genuine I just had to share it with you.  I hope my memory holds up for this because I hope to do this word for word - I really should've went right downstairs and wrote it down, but...you know how that goes.  Maybe as you read it you can offer this same prayer for her.

"Dear Jesus, Please help Izzy with the cancer.  Tell her all the things she can still do with one leg.  Help her to be fine.  Amen." 

I think my favorite part is "Tell her."  I love the childlike faith - oh that we would all have more of that.  Of course Jesus can tell her in ways that we cannot imagine.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pray for Izzy

I go so long between posts sometimes that every now and then I think, "why bother anymore," and then I get a comment on my blog or an email that encourages me to continue.  Last week I got one such comment and then followed by some email correspondence and I think Praise God that we have an outlet like blogs in which we can connect with so many people. 

Anyway, this post is for one reason and one reason only, and that is to ask for immediate prayer for a young girl named Izzy.  She has had cancer and chemo and will now be having her leg amputated on Thursday (I believe) in effort to rid her body of that cancer.  Please pray for her, her parents, for the doctors, for other family members, for friends that they would be supportive and know what to do and what not to do.  If you would like to see her story it is included on her Aunt's blog at http://www.dailyweaving.blogspot.com/.  If you search by her name "Izzy" the entries should come up.

Thanks in advance for your prayers!