I'm not going to say much today, maybe another day real soon, but not today. I just want everyone to know how I feel personally about the news of Coach Tressel's resignation earlier this morning. To be honest, I have mixed emotions. There is no joy that will come out of a day like today, but when the news broke it did force me to remember nearly every moment I spent at The Ohio State University. I am not going to lie and pretend to have enjoyed every single moment at the university, but I would be remiss if I did not say that my 4 years at The Ohio State University, under the leadership of Jim Tressel, didn't play a significant roll in creating the man that you know today. Did I feel as if I deserved more playing time? Of course. Did I wish I had another chance to score a touchdown in The Shoe? Yes. Do I regret my decision to play football at one of the greatest universities in the history of the world? Not a chance. There is no way that I would ask to be anywhere else. It is impossible to manage 105 young adult men, impossible. Not improbable, but impossible.
I say all of that to say this; Coach Tressel is not a perfect man, nor a perfect coach, but I feel as if no one will give him credit for what he did behind the scenes. Let's talk stats, Tress is not only responsible for posting a 106-22 record in 10 years, including a 9-1 record against those boys from up north, but he is responsible for the highest athletic graduation rate in the history of The Ohio State University. He is not only responsible for 7 Big 10 Championships, 3 National Title games and 1 National Championship, but he is also responsible for the highest team GPA since who knows when. He did it by creating a system of values and building character so that his players could be successful in things beyond just football. Speculate if you want to, but I know JT's heart, and it has always been for the greater good of his players.
Me personally, I did not fully understand everything as he was throwing them at us, but as a growing man, I can say that I get a revelation daily on issues that he has covered in some way, shape or form. We had this thing called a "Winners Manual" while I was at OSU. It is a player-only book full of schedules, reminders, work and most importantly quotes that capture every pitch life can throw at you. Before classes started in the Fall every morning we would be required to list what we were thankful and grateful for that morning and find a quote out of 100's of pages that fits your mindset for that day. As a player you don't really appreciate what this was or what it meant, but if you really sit back to apply these two things to your routine every day you will learn that you can only control what you can control. Life has its twist and turns, but you must handle adversary, but even more importantly you must handle success. If you wake up every morning and give thanks you will realize that you have so much to live for and so many people who are not worth letting down.
Jim Tressel taught me how to approach life. Under his guidance for my young adult years I learned how to build and foster relationships, the importance of a team and unity, how to handle adversary and multi-task (part of that credit goes to the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, but that is a different story). He taught me etiquette and restraint. He taught all of us how to handle the public eye, and not to leave anything else out, he taught me how to set goals and achieve them. In 2007, my senior year, we were in the "reloading" phase of OSU. We had just lost our Heisman quarterback, star tailback and other key components in the NFL draft. We also lost a gang of senior talent. It was this year where we were supposed to lose to everyone. We had a hand full of seniors and most of us were walk-ons and a budding group of inexperienced underclassmen. We were unproven, but I will never forget the day when Tress gave me the book for the year "Talent is Never Enough" by John Maxwell (yes, we were required to read a book each summer). At first I took the book as a complete slap in the face. I felt as if he was saying "this years group doesn't have any talent", but after skimming through it (lol, no I went back and finished), the message became clear; talent is NEVER enough. I began to think of all of the people who had more talent than me that were still playing pick up games back out east. I began to think of all the kids who were smarter than me but graduated below me or sometimes not at all. I began to think of all the artists who never get their work seen. I began to think of all of these things because one thing holds true, your success is not measured by your talent, but your work ethic. We worked hard. Harder than anything I've ever been apart of. We went 11-1 that regular season and lost to LSU in the National Championship game, but what we achieved can not ever be taken away from me. Not just the football, but the lesson. Everyone has talent, some people's talent may go undiscovered while others may prosper from their gifts, but because everyone does have talent these words will always separate people; talent is never enough.
If I could fill out my Winner's Manual this morning I would definitely say that I am grateful/thankful for Coach Jim Tressel & Staff. And the quote that I would leave you with would be:
GO BUCKS! We still have a lot of winning to do.