Buckeye Coach Urban Meyer says E+R=O

There has been some confusion about my identity: Am
I a Buckeye or a California girl? I was born and raised in Newark and Heath,
Ohio, and moved to the Los Angeles area 23 years ago at the age of 23. I have
spent equal time in both states. Currently, I carry water with me wherever I
go, I tan from a bottle, I love my big sunglasses, every day can be considered
swim suit season, I like to give lettuce to the rabbits in the yard, and of
course I’m never without my lipstick. But I’ve also hunted deer and turkey,
gutted and cooked a rabbit for dinner, pronounced creek like crick, gone shale
surfing in the Hocking hills, been mud bogging, stomped giant bugs in high heels,
and tater-tot casserole is still among my top five favorite meals.

             There are two “events” that caught my
attention this week on TV that caused me to ponder my identity: The Ohio State Buckeyes
blowing past Penn State (14-63) and The Ohio State Marching Band appearing
three different times on The Today Show. I’m thrilled that Savannah Guthrie has
taken a liking to the Buckeye halftime show because we get to see TBDBITL all
the way out here California. But it was something that Urban Meyer did, that
was relayed from the sideline by Holly Rowe of ESPN that caught my attention.

held up a red wristband with the letters E+R=O, meaning Event + Response = Opportunity.
Meyer had previously explained this to the
Columbus Dispatch, “You can’t control the event. But what you can control as
the leader is your response [to produce a favorable outcome]. Your response as
the leader is other people’s ‘E.’ ” My
response is other people’s event?!

From Rowe during the
fourth quarter:  “Urban Meyer believes
one of the reasons the Buckeyes are undefeated is that the players have done a
good job developing leadership. In February he hired Tim & Brian Kight (from
Focus 3) to help install a system for building exceptional leaders. The players
have to earn the wristband and then they are empowered to give a wristband to
other players who demonstrate strong leadership (on the field, in academics, in
their personal lives). Tom Kight says that of all his years of training people
all over the world, Urban Meyer has gotten it and implemented it quicker than
any other person he has worked with. Meyer says his ‘team is a purpose driven
team. They love to play for each other. The military fights for their country,
here they fight for the Scarlet and Gray, but really, when you are a family
unit, you fight for your family.’ That motivation and inspiration is higher on
his hit list than any of the plays they call on the field. Meyer feels the
plays take care of themselves once they get everyone going in the right
leadership direction.” I was so taken by that segment I rewound it three times.

After watching the game
and the band I did some digging and found several articles on the “Urban
Renewal” going on at OSU and came across a YouTube video of Meyer being
interviewed by Todd Gongwer, author of LEAD…for
God’s Sake!
  In the video Meyer makes
it clear that this book made a dramatic impact on his life, which compelled him
to up the ante in his leadership program and to develop the E+R=O system.

Rowe’s segment in conjunction
with the articles got me thinking. My identity is deeper, obviously, than
simply my physical locale of being a Buckeye or a California girl, or of
feeding the rabbit or eating it for dinner. My identity is the character
produced by the minute-by-minute choices to do the right thing when no-one is
looking. My identity is the Outcome of my Responses based on the Events in my

What if we had purpose
driven families; would there be less loneliness and less chaos? What if we had purpose
driven schools; would there be less bullying? If we had purpose driven families
and schools, would we produce people of substance rather than striving for superficial
success? What if we purposely taught our children the leadership skills that
Urban Meyer is teaching his football players; would we have a winning team like
the Buckeyes?

My response is other
people’s event. I like that. We have responsibility to each other. How I
respond to my own events (divorce, death, sickness, finances) produces an outcome
that becomes my kids’ events. How we respond to any given situation is passed
on. And on. The tide can roll in the positive or the negative; the positive is
done on-purpose through leadership and character. The negative is done through
passivity and indifference. Either way, we all contribute to the outcome and we
all feel the effects.

And for the sake of
argument…”Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye.” O-H

–Tara Schiro is the author of “No Arms, No Legs, No Problem: When life happens, you can wish to die or choose to live” NOW AVAILABLE on Amazon and Barnes and Noble http://www.NoArmsNoLegsNoProblem.com 







Do Not Pray for Patience

            A few weeks ago I took my daughter to the
alterations shop to have her gown hemmed for Homecoming. I specifically chose the
place because I knew them to be experts, so when the head seamstress met us
with complaints saying how difficult it was going to be, if not impossible, I
thought little of it. I trusted her despite the doomsday attitude she chose. But
when I returned a few days later to pick up the gown, the conversation between
us hit my radar.

an unprecedented fifteen minutes early, I paused in the hallway to gather my
thoughts. My plan was to be overly gracious to counteract her original
complaints from having been brought such a difficult alteration. When I entered
the shop, the dress wasn’t quite ready so I browsed the evening dresses and
imagined the places I would wear them, making small talk as the seamstress

“So what school do your
kids go to? I thought Homecoming was later in the year,” she asked.

they don’t go out here; it’s down in the valley.”

a lot of driving,” she said, picking up the steamer.

not bad unless there’s an accident or a fire along the freeway. Then it’s takes
a lot of patience.”

my pastor said we should pray for peace, but never for patience.”

laughed. “Right? As soon as you pray for patience, God sticks you at the end of
every long line in town. Or you get stuck behind the coupon lady still writing
checks at the grocery.”

Do not pray for patience! Bad things happen!” she snapped at me; her head
tilted down, her eyes glaring over the top of her cheater glasses. Her change
of tone caught me off guard. “Do not
pray for patience. My pastor was right. As soon as you pray for that,” she shook
her head vehemently and returned to steaming the dress. “Whoa.” Her movements
picked up speed.

            I lifted
a pink panel and held it out to give her a better angle with the steamer but I
kept quiet. The silence broke with the sound of crackles from the wand of steam
as she moved it over the chiffon. I fought the urge to debate her on this line
of thinking. Something must have happened that convinced her to listen to her
pastor. Instead, I pressed my lips together, checking
the coverage of my lipstick,
and marveled aloud what a great job she’d done on the dress.

You’re the expert. It’s perfect!”

the car however, with the dress throwing tiny light sparkles around me, I
wondered how a person gets patience if they don’t pray for it. Does it show up
like the Calvary when we need it, stepping in and doing the right thing on our
behalf? And how does the “Calvary” know when we need it? The structure side of
me kicked in to high gear and I was aching to make a spreadsheet: Prayer
triggers response; if I pray for patience, I soon find myself behind the coupon
lady on a day that I’m already running late. I wondered what response the
seamstress had gotten to make her want to avoid growth like the plague. Patience
is a fruit (character trait) of the spirit “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, forgiveness, and self-control.”
So in essence, by pledging to avoid praying for patience, was she really
avoiding praying for better character? 

couple of days ago my eyes started jumping and the scene in front of me was
scrambled for almost ten seconds. I called the doctor. The optometry department
was booked until December. I told them what happened and was immediately put
through to the nurse. She said I needed a referral to optomology and could get
one from my primary care doctor. My regular doctor, who would have given me a
referral over the phone, was out til Friday. The nurse insisted I needed to be
seen by one of the other doctors to get the referral.

that’s silly,” I said. “The primary care doc won’t be able to do anything for
me. I need to be seen by an optomologist that can look at my eyes with those
big machines. I’m trying to avoid a nonsense appointment.”

understand but we can’t refer you without seeing you.”

            She was holding her
ground. I was not getting around her and I
was losing my patience
because I wasn’t getting my way. Why did I need to
drive all the way over there, wasting time and money, only to get the answer I
already knew: go see the optomologist! I didn’t want to play by the rules
because I deemed them inefficient.
That’s called pride.

struck me that I had to choose patience in that moment. There was no Calvary
coming to save me. I was on my own at the crossroads of character and
selfishness. I have been praying for patience for months; God in his
graciousness was responding by handing me another weight to lift so I could
choose to strengthen and develop my character. Praying for patience is actually praying to love better.

             That’s why it is said that patience is a
virtue. It’s a choice that necessitates bravery and humility.

—Tara Schiro is the author of “No Arms, No Legs, No Problem: When life happens, you can wish to die or choose to live” NOW AVAILABLE on Amazon and Barnes and Noble http://www.NoArmsNoLegsNoProblem.com

Football at the Cash Register

            The checkout line at Ralph’s was long enough to
eavesdrop on the conversation in front of me. I didn’t full-out turn my
attention to the two women, even though their body language invited me several
times to engage with them, but I did keep a strong pulse on their words and
actions as I looked at the pictures in one of the gossip magazines.

missed seeing you at the gym. How are you doing?” asked the blonde.

I’ve been so busy. My son was “recruited” (she raised her hands and made the
sign for quotes with her fingers) “by another high school to play football.”
She lowered her voice and looked around before continuing. “We’ve been working
on a fake lease so that it looks like we live in the same district as the new
school. There was no way I was going to move but he can’t play if we don’t have
a local address so it’s been kinda crazy trying to fake a house,” said the

blonde narrowed her eyes. “Is it common to do that?” asked the blonde.

coaches are the ones that told us to do it. They said everybody does it. My son
has to sit out the first few games because we’re supposed to be residents in
the district for a certain amount of time before he is eligible, but it’s worth
it. The coach is better there and my son will get more playing time. As long as
he’s being noticed, we just have to do what we need to do to make it happen,”
said the brunette.

lingered over the images of Will & Kate and the tiny King George. It was
the same picture from the day they left the hospital, Kate wearing the blue
dress with the white polka dots, but it was at a different angle and closer up
to make it look like a new photo. They need to get out more so we can have
different pictures to look at.

blonde was hesitating and the conversation came to an almost standstill. She
finally managed an, “Oh, that’s great,” and they chit-chatted about the items
in their cart and what was on the dinner menu but she was clearly uncomfortable
with what she heard. So was I; this is the reason I brought the magazine closer
to my face when the blonde turned her body toward me in a call for help. I didn’t
know her, but she seemed to want to know me; or, maybe, she wanted me to step
in and answer for her that lying didn’t seem the best way to get onto a team. I,
on the other hand, wanted to see how she was going to handle such a blatant
breach of character in her friend so I began counting the dots on Kate’s dress.
She turned back to the brunette, laughed nervously as they talked about nothing
and then said an overly enthusiastic, “so good to see you, let’s get together,”
as they each walked away with their food out opposite doors.

brain sped into overdrive (because these are the things that keep me up at
night) as I mindlessly put my groceries on the conveyor belt, paid, put the
groceries in my car and began the drive home. I started the usual barrage of
questions in my head: What is the standard for lying? Is it okay as long as you
get what you want, as long as it doesn’t “hurt anybody?” Is there such a thing
as a benign lie? How would that coach teach his team to be men of character if
the entrance exam to be a player is a lie? And what does it say about the
school administration condoning the lies of the athletic department? If the
students and players are taught to lie about “the little things that everybody
is doing,” how can we as adults turn around with a straight face and tell them
not to lie to us about homework or where they are going? What is the correct
message: to win at all costs (serving yourself), or to trust God for the win at
all costs (serving your team)?

I came in the house, I left the groceries on the counter and went to my office
to retrieve Wooden: A lifetime of
Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court.
Coach Wooden was the
UCLA basketball coach that won ten national championships in twelve years and I
wanted to see what he would have to say about this. “Be more concerned with
your character than your reputation. Character is what you really are. A person
of character is trustworthy and honest; the other kind of person looks for the
easy way out.” There is no way UCLA would have had the success they did if the
first instruction from Coach was to lie to be a member. I wondered what coaches
of losing teams were telling their players, if they were instilling hope and
inspiration, if they were using their sport to teach about life the way Wooden
did. He didn’t teach win at all costs,
he taught live life the right way at
all costs.

the time I finally tore myself away from my books, the frozen food was melting
on the counter, threatening to dampen the magazine about the Royals. If it’s
only half melted, can I still put it
in the freezer? Would it be gross? I threw it in the freezer and then I picked
my favorite chocolate up off the counter and reached up to put it in the far
back corner of the cabinet. Without warning, a voice startled me before I

you’re not hiding that from us to keep it to yourself, are you? Are you not
going to share?”

Should I lie?

          –Tara Schiro is the author of “No Arms, No Legs, No Problem: When life happens, you can wish to die or choose to live” NOW AVAILABLE on Amazon and Barnes and Noble http://www.NoArmsNoLegsNoProblem.com