top of page
Search
  • Writer's picturePatrick Dylan

Go Blu...Bucks?

Or, why I admire Ohio State even though I was raised by the Maize and Blue.


I didn’t attend the University of Michigan, but everyone else in my family did: brother, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. Even most of my friends are Wolverines. I grew up at the Big House; we loathed the Buckeyes.

“The Champions of the West." -- University of Michigan Fight Song

So please don’t tell the folks back home, but I have incredible admiration for Ohio State Head Coach Ryan Day and the entire community up in Columbus. You see, Coach Day and his wife Christina are leaders when it comes to mental health awareness, both in sports and across campus. They have given generously to building the university’s resources; their efforts have undoubtedly helped countless troubled souls find the support they so desperately needed.


Coach Day has saved one life in a very public way. If you haven’t heard the name Harry Miller, you should. He was a celebrated 5-star recruit, meaning that basically every major football program wanted him. He had a breakout freshman year; it wasn’t a question of if he would play in the NFL but when. From the outside, Harry had it all—starting lineman on a preeminent collegiate team, NFL scouts showing interest, straight A’s in his chosen field. For his part, Coach Day had plenty, too—a top recruit making an impact immediately and with several more years of eligibility.


But on the inside, Harry was suffering mightily. He had fought depression as a child, and the pressure of college football brought it screaming back. When he recounts his internal struggles, it’s difficult not to cry along with him. So as not to trigger anyone reading, suffice it to say that Harry was in a very, very dark place. At that point, he did something that took real courage: He told his coach.


“Sending out an S.O.S." -- The Police

Coach Day and his staff had recruited Harry for years. They had used up a limited scholarship spot on him. The coaches’ jobs were dependent on winning, and top recruits were an essential part of that. But not only did Coach Day take Harry seriously, listening sympathetically to his star lineman, he also called in doctors from the Ohio State community to provide immediate help. And when Harry decided to retire from football to concentrate fully on his well-being, Coach Day’s support never wavered. He prioritized “Harry the person” above “Harry the athlete,” showing the kind of steadfast care that someone suffering a mental health crisis requires.


How can you not admire someone like that, even when his team is facing yours across the gridiron? As a result of Coach Day’s actions, Harry Miller is not only alive today, but he has become a fellow advocate for fighting the stigma. The former lineman even has his own slogan, “Don’t Make It Weird.” It’s a great example of how the movement can build momentum when people have the courage to reach out for help and when those around answer the call.


It’s also a perfect argument for why we can’t put people and groups into boxes, believing that everything is up or down. Yes, I can root against Coach Day when the Wolverines take the field at the Shoe, but otherwise I will always be a huge fan of his. In our country today, too many have forgotten that people are not all one thing or the other. Republicans are not all Trump; Democrats are not all communists. And, of course, Buckeyes are not all bad.


“You'll find your first impression was mistook." -- Mary Poppins Returns Soundtrack

Sure, I’m glad Michigan won the game this past weekend, but let’s all keep a focus on what truly matters. The Game will come around again, and the Buckeyes will do their fair share of winning. But once you lose someone to mental illness, they’re gone forever. I'm grateful that we have leaders like those in Columbus helping to fight the stigma.


Christina Day captured my views on this perfectly when she said:


"I would like to tell people just like in physical health, we all kind of struggle with, you know, colds and Covid and broken ankles and all that. The brain is another organ in your body that can get sick. And not to feel shame if it does. And feel empowered to ask for help."
37 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page