Sometimes the Good Die Young

It’s funny how our lives develop. When I was in sixth grade, dad asked me out of the blue, whether I wanted to continue in the township school I was attending, or switch to the new consolidated one, next door. He didn’t attempt to influence my decision in any way, although he did mention that they were going to have a football team. 🙂

Well, if you looked at me, even then, it was pretty obvious that basketball wasn’t my sport, but football might well be. That’s what I saw in the mirror as well. It was a pretty easy choice, really, and academics did enter into it, new chem labs, and all new stuff in the shop (that I would only manage to find 6 weeks for in high school).

But football was important too. The striving to be the best, the physical conditioning, and especially the teamwork Intermural sports are probably one of the best features of American education.

Then that fall, dad came home on Friday with three tickets to a Purdue Game. Then, as now, Purdue was kind of a spotty team. Any given day, they could beat the best in the nation, but you could be pretty sure this was not that day. Len Dawson was long since graduated and Bob Griese was a few years in the future. (Yep, I saw him play four times in college).

And that is how I became a Purdue fan and has a fair amount to do with how I became a Purdue Alumni, as well. My grades weren’t bad, and a fair number of people said I was smarter than the grades indicated. That’s certainly possible, high school bored me silly. So I did the sensible thing, I applied to the school my sisters attended, Valparaiso University, the one my brother in law attended, Purdue, and another local school, Notre Dame.

Rather a bit like kicking the can down the road, all accepted me. Purdue won, not least because it was affordable, being the Indiana Land Grant college. My BIL, a Purdue civil engineer, said I could do the work of an engineer, but would never make it through school. Truer words were never spoken. I didn’t, and I’ve done the work for 40 years.

Probably a lot of stories much like this, about Purdue, and other Universities, all over the world. I’m nothing special, after all. But some are.

If you watch college football, you likely saw the Purdue – Ohio State game last fall, where Purdue ran all over the number 2 team in the country. If so you heard something new. Purdue base chant for more or less ever has been “IU Sucks” always appropriate given our feelings for that place down south. It wasn’t heard that night though, it had changed to “Cancer Sucks”. All due to one man.

That man was Tyler Trent, he was a twenty-year-old sophomore, who had to withdraw from his beloved Purdue, and died shortly after Purdue’s bowl game.

Hammer and Rails says it this way:

Coach Brohm also stopped by that evening, and even though Tyler was in the middle of his second cancer fight, his story took off from there. In 15 months he would participate in the Iowa Wave, work for the Exponent covering Purdue’s NCAA Tournament run, continue his fight against cancer, and inspire a nation. When Purdue stunned Ohio State in October it was Tyler’s night. He nearly did not make it to that game, but I am convinced that the energy of that night lifted him these last two and a half months. It sustained him past what his doctors thought. Unfortunately, cancer sucks. Hard. Tyler fought, but now his fight is over.

In the last 15 months the nation has gotten to know Tyler. What amazed me throughout was that it was never about his own fight. When Tyler would tweet it would rarely be about his condition. He only gave updates when they were major, like when he was forced to withdraw from school. Instead, he wrote about about what he could do for others. Here was a young man that knew his time was limited, but he spent every second doing what he could for others. He inspired others. He encouraged others. He strengthened them. His upcoming book is about pulling off an upset of cancer even though it will not physically benefit him. He spoke of how he was encouraged that samples of his tumor might lead to a cure someday, ignoring that meant there was no cure yet for him.

I was always in awe of his humility and his desire to serve.

Mark 10:45 says: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” This is the example we are called to follow, and Tyler knew what it meant to serve. Even though his body was failing him, his final tweet from two days ago was about that service:

He’s entirely correct, and it says much about the Big 10 that after the ESPN Interview, at the Ohio State Game, all year both sides joined in the chant: “Cancer Sucks” It does, and its not often that the President of one of the great American Universities takes time to remember a sophomore who has died. But Mitch Daniels did

And so he’s gone, but we of Purdue, and many others will always remember him, and try to emulate him, for I suspect that this is a lesson that John Purdue would teach us as well.

The funeral service will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 6 p.m. at College Park Church in Indianapolis. It will be live-streamed here.

#Tyler Strong, indeed, and Rest in Peace for your mission here is done.

About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

15 Responses to Sometimes the Good Die Young

  1. the unit says:

    I have to admit, so caught up in the political turmoil crap that I missed hearing about Tyler.
    I am saddened at the loss, but inspired at his spirit and efforts for others.
    My oldest son was taken three months prior to his 20th. He too had contributed a bit to the welfare (not the government program) of others. I’ve told the details here, I think, several years ago, and won’t today. 1/24 will be my day of remembrance.
    Anyway, I looked up about Tyler. Impressive and quite the fighter, and well deserved the admiration for his contribution.
    Scorn for Wiki as to their beginning post on their page on him! Trivial! ?
    “Tyler Trent
    The topic of this article may not meet Wikipedia’s general notability guideline. Please help to establish notability by citing reliable secondary sources that are independent of the topic and provide significant coverage of it beyond a mere trivial mention. If notability cannot be established, the article is likely to be merged, redirected, or deleted.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. the unit says:

    Well, old men do things. And I thought I did it cutting over hang down my drive with generator in pick up truck (following NEO safety measures) powering electric chain saw couple years ago, 🙂

    Don’t misunderestimate ole fuddyduddy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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