Friday, January 22, 2010

Do you think this will be in the Free Press?

Backstory: On Christmas Eve 2007, Wauseon (OH) native and Michigan offensive line commitment Elliott Mealer was involved in a horrible car accident that took the lives of his father and girlfriend and left his brother Brock paralyzed. Since then, the Mealer family has had the unwavering, unconditional love and support of one Rich Rodriguez:

By springtime, Brock started standing with the help of braces. Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez introduced him to the team during a practice. The Wolverines were kneeling with their helmets as Rodriguez told Brock's story. At the end of it, they rose to their feet and gave him an ovation.

Rodriguez was just two weeks into his new job when he got the call about the Mealers. He hadn't met Elliott or the 100 or so others on Michigan's roster. But he called Mealer to tell him that no matter what happened, even if he couldn't play, he'd always have a scholarship at Michigan.

The family -- Ohio State die-hards before Elliott committed to Michigan -- immediately fell in love with Rodriguez. For Brock, it wasn't hard to do. A few months after the wreck, the coach visited him in the hospital during the Super Bowl. They promised to someday run out of the tunnel into the Big House together.

"Having him around the team, to me, is some pretty neat motivation for all our guys," Rodriguez says. "I'm inspired every time I see him. When you see him so positive, you think, 'Geez, why should I ever feel sorry for myself?'"

The video above features Brock Mealer working his way back toward normalcy - with Mike Barwis standing by him.

Don't worry, Michael Rosenberg. I'm sure you've got a lot on your plate, and you're probably a pretty busy guy. We'll all understand when it takes you a while to write that piece about how Rodriguez is actually a pretty good person.


Sunder said...

You won't here anything about this on the Valenti and Foster show either.

I am sure if this were Saint Dantonio... it would be the lead story in the Freep, radio, and World News Tonight.

It's just the world we live in, especially around here.

Anonymous said...

An open question - why CAN'T this be a story? if a hundred people write a form letter to the Sports Editor and the Managing Editor of both newspapers, doesn't this become a story?

Is this too ham-handed to use the Mealer Family's story to promote our coach, or is this just sensible spin control?

wolverine1987 said...

Brian, terrific piece. It will likely do no good, but you should actually submit this is a slightly larger form to the Free Press (minus the invective of course) because they are soliciting for user generated content to run the in the sports section.

maddogterry said...

Let's just face the facts! The FREEP sucks.

Anonymous said...

Good for Brock. I'm not sure of the specifics surrounding his injury, but I'm partially paralyzed from a fall back in 2002 and I'm certainly familiar with the use of lofstrand crutches and ankle/foot orthoses. Keep up the good work Brock and God bless!

Don said...

Unfortunately it's the kind of story that gets ignored when it takes place in the context of a team that's lost more games that it's won. If/when RR can break through into positive territory in the win column, it's far more likely that this will get more play in the media.

But not in the Free Press. Let's not get all crazy now.

Markus said...

Thank you for posting this story and video.

It's a heartwarming and it's something the University of Michigan and its supporters can be very proud of.

Most live about 70+ years on average, if we're so fortunate. It's a very short time. There are many, many more important things in life than football.

Hail to the Mealers Valiant!

CGC said...

the Mealer family was featured on E60 not too long ago. It was quite a touching story, I feel really bad for that kid. Kudos to Rodriguez and staff for sticking by them.