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.

37 comments:

Deb Hernley said...

Nicole and Beau, I was wondering if you would mind if I shared your story via my facebook? You did a wonderful job! I know all to well that its the small things in life that matter the most and turn out to be the most important.

Bekah said...

Now I know where I'd heard his name before! (Clearly I'm not a big sports fan...but I knew I knew this name from somewhere.) I think this is an amazing post. As I prayed last night, I talked with God (completely unrelated to the stories surrounding Coach Tressel right now) about how hard it is to survive on a pedastal. What a beautiful thing you've done in offering grace to someone who is hurting from a fall!

Abby said...

Nicole, what you wrote and your story is beyond beautiful! You've brought tears of joy and hope to my eyes! Thank you so much for sharing!

Susan said...

Thanks for this post. We share your estimation of Coach Tressel. He is a class act and it saddens me to see people turn on him so quickly. I'm not excusing his mistakes, but then neither is he. I just think we shouldn't forget all the good he has done. We appreciated so much what he did for Bryson at the time, maybe this could encourage him during his difficult time! I hope somehow he gets a copy of your post.

Tracy Anne said...

Hello cousins! Heard about coach and immediately thought of you guys! Thank you so much for posting this Nicole.

Still praying for all of you regularly! Really missing your Grandma Mary right now, wishing I could call and tell her all about Moldova...

Raul and Catie said...

I remember your original posts about Tressel's visit to Bryson's room, and to read the story again now brings fresh tears to my eyes. I also share your admiration for Coach and what he's meant to a lot of people. It's a shame that he is leaving and I know that he will be missed...especially by Bryson :(

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this story. You are right! Too often an good man is criticized and his whole life becomes invalid because of one issue or incident. It is good to hear good stories of honor and integrity and I believe Coach Tressel will be stronger and have an even greater testimony of God's faithfulness on the other side of this. God is still in control!!

Anonymous said...

Great job Nicole! I've been wanting to scream this to anyone that would listen. You of course are far better at getting the point across, I always come across cocky. :0( Miss you, cuz Dawn

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this wonderful story. I just read the SI article earlier today, and was really sad about the way Tressel is portrayed in that article. It's great to hear about some of the compassionate and caring things he has done. He will be greatly missed at Ohio State!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Bryson's story!

I look forward to seeing him at the 'Shoe one day.

DebbieB. said...

Wow,My tears won't stop. They're good tears. I am in Knoxville-but a forever The Ohio State fan. I knew I hadn't seen any unsteady actions from him before-it is my argument down here!It is nice to hear he really is a genuine man!Thanks for sharing -Tressel is lucky to have good people like you all to post this. God Bless you and your little man. Sincerely, Debb

Steve said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story of encouragement. We are all called to be encouragers and I thank God regularly for the great encouragers He has placed in my life at just the right times.

Jamie said...

Bryson's continued triumph helps us put our individual "hardships" in perspective. Thank you also for a story that reminds us that a person's worth is not determined by looking at an individual act, but rather by a lifetime of acts. It is good to know that you, and others, have personal experiences that show Coach Tressel is a good person, that made a bade decision, like we all do from time to time.

DJ said...

Thank you for sharing this story. Blessings to Bryson and Go Bucks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing. We all make mistakes and we are all human. It stinks that the NCAA has to take out a good man when all coaches are equally guilty...

Anonymous said...

I have never once believed Coach Jim Tressell was a perfect man nor that he never made a mistake, it would take a greater individual than myself to pass judgement that I myself might not always be able to live up to. I think Ohio State has lost a large piece of their heart, and I know Coach isn't asking for anyone to give him a pass he clearly made an error. His error still was about benefitting others not himself. In this day and age of entitlement and what's in it for me he is still waking every day thinking what can I do to further help another. OSU football program is #1 in academic performance among it's players of the top 25 schools ranked... # 1 ..... We will miss you coach and thank you so much for posting this story. We will keep Jayden in our prayers...

NTW said...

Amazing story! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing that story. He is a genuine man and I'm glad that some will remember the good things about him. One decision should not define a man any more than ten years of football success. What should define him is his character...and I think the character of Jim Tressel speaks volumes.

missy said...

Wow! I am in tears reading about Bryson's story. He is a special little boy in which you and your husband should be very proud of. Coach Tressel did not even know your family, but yet, he came without the fanfare to lend support to a child that he didn't even know. That's the kind of person Coach Tressel is, always willing to give of himself. Coach Tressel's legacy will live on forever. He is the perfect personification of what all men should strive to be, a decent human being.

amy said...

Amazing story! So glad you shared your personal legacy of Coach Tressel...

Melanie said...

I have had the pleasure of meeting this man tressel and my son has played under his leadership and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting this blog Thankyou for spreading the Word of God And reminding all of us why we care for this man who's not only a coach but truly a man after Gods own heart he truly loves!

Julie (hoffman) thompson said...

Awesome story guys...My bro in law played for Tressel at Youngstown St. and I only have very positive stories about him, and this is one more. thank you for sharing.

David K. Myers said...

Wonderful post. Jim Tressel is a Man of Integrity. People of Integrity expect to be believed, and when they're not they let time prove them right. Even Jesus had players who betrayed Him.

65 Roses for Marcia said...

Very well written Nicole!!

Dan said...

Thank you for sharing this story. I'm going to post it on my blog (if you don't mind) so that it can reach others.

God bless

Ray said...

Thank you for the fantastic story of Coach Tressel reaching out to Bryson and your family!

Bob Bevington said...

I totally agree. I added a few comments of my own and linked your post here: http://redlikeblood.com/2011/06/05/more-on-coach-tressel/

Anonymous said...

I wish more people would post their stories. I can assure you there are many that have witnessed his compassion and integrity!

Anonymous said...

There is no doubt in my mind that Jim Tressel is a good man. Sometimes I wonder if this had been an event about a man that did not have a outstanding reputation as a person and a coach, if he would have been treated the same. Sometimes we expect very little from our less reputable persons so we don't talk about it or print stories about it because we expect this behavior. JO

saks said...

There are many stories that need to be told about Coach Tressel's compassion for his players, community, and anyone one in need.
He has a strong faith, has always made sure that the church was an intregal part of his life. He has always encouraged his players to grow beyond football to get an education and to give back. Yes, I am very disappointed but we all have setbacks, just not in the national mnedia.

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't mind, I posted this story on the OSU Alumni Association's facebook page. Thank you for sharing your story!

Anonymous said...

Good for you for remaining so positive at this time. Jim Tressel is a good man and deserves to be remembered that way!

Mary Lou / MedFlight of Ohio said...

Well said!
I have had the utmost respect for Tressel after seeing the quality of the human behind the hype. His visit to Bryson was probably just one example of many, but this was the one we witnessed first hand.
This is one of those bumps in life that I am sure he will survive in style and grace. No one needs to tell your family that God does not give us anything we cannot handle with His presence, and what we could consider a door closing is actually allowing others to open.
Think of you often, my love to all

BuckNut said...

Beau and Nicole, I have read this blog so many times, and each time my heart grows a little bit bigger for Coach Tressel. Our media has done a pretty good job of throwing him under the bus. It is so nice to hear good things like this, and no matter what, I'll forever bleed Scarlet and Gray!
GO BUCKS!!!
- cousin, Janeen B.

Grateful MOM said...

Thank you for this beautiful story. As the mother of a recent Tressel player, I have heard countless stories of Jim's love and concern for others. It did my heart good to see this story in print as our whole family has been heartsick over the loss of Coach Tressel at OSU. His guidance on and off the field, especially his support of our son's spiritual life, will always be cherished.

KeriLee said...

Wow...with so much negativity these days, this is truly an inspiring story. Thank you so much for sharing it with so many!

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