I applaud Urban Meyer’s transparency in choosing to disclose the medical condition that’s causing him discomfort and fostering speculation about his future as Ohio State’s head football coach.
He could have continued to stiff-arm inquiries with tepid denials and parsed words, talking around the edges of the truth without really telling it.
It shows growth that Meyer realized he was repeating the mistakes he made in July when he essentially self-imposed a three-game suspension for misleading everyone about what he knew regarding a domestic violence matter involving fired assistant coach Zach Smith.
Meyer, of course, did not have to admit the cyst in his brain is leaking fluid and causing him occasional, but considerable, pain and discomfort. He could have kept quiet about it for the noble reason of protecting his own privacy.
But the high-profile nature of his job, and the obsession with his team, would have kept the questions and the whispers coming.
So, now we know why Meyer frequently rubs the left side of his head and why he went to one knee on the sidelines during a win over Indiana.
My hope is Meyer can get this condition under control and continue to coach at OSU pain-free.
To his credit, Meyer has not blamed the stress of his job for his health issues.
But that’s most often the factor I hear fans citing for why Meyer is battling headaches and other issues related to the cyst that he had surgically addressed in 2014.
And that’s where fans lose me.
Stress is a formidable enemy, but it’s largely self-regulated, and whatever stress fans think Meyer is under pales in comparison to real-world issues all around us that deserve more and get far less of the attention devoted to Ohio State football.
Stress is nightly gunfire in your neighborhood.
Stress is losing a job and not knowing how to finance a family’s next meal.
Stress is a cancer diagnosis, a debilitating illness, the loss of a parent, spouse, sibling or loved one.
Stress is, fill in the blank.
Stress is not, or should not, be coaching football at Ohio State or anywhere, unless the compensation for it is necessary to keep food on the table.
Meyer passed that point a long, long time ago.
The world won’t tilt off its axis with a loss on Saturday.
Not even by 29 points at Purdue two weeks ago.
Not even should Nebraska rise up as 18-point underdogs and defeat OSU this week.
We all tend to magnify whatever we perceive to be wrong in our lives, until something bigger comes along and renders the Goliath we thought we were fighting into a relative mosquito by comparison.
Urban Meyer is a blessed man whose place as one of the greatest coaches in college football history is secure. He has, by all accounts, an adoring family, devoted friends and a legion of admirers in the Ohio State fan base.
If his condition is worsened by the demands of his job or his reactions that he cannot control, then he should not continue to imperil to his health or put his family through the emotional pain of watching him suffer.
Although he is the greatest coach Ohio State has ever had and likely ever will have, Ohio State football will most assuredly survive without Urban Meyer.
If it survived without Paul Brown, without Woody Hayes and without Jim Tressel, Ohio State football will survive without Urban Meyer.
All three of those Hall of Fame coaches followed painful firings (Brown in the NFL, Hayes and Tressel at OSU) by discovering aspects of life beyond coaching that fulfilled them.
Such things are out there for Meyer to discover if he must walk away from coaching to preserve his health.
It’s an uncertain time for him.
But a stressful time?
Only if he chooses to make it so.
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