Six years ago, at midseason, many of the wives of coaches who were born or worked in Ohio got together and decided to send their often absent husbands one book each, with the hope that they would take time out of their busy schedules to think and reflect on the season that was, and their husbands had promised to read them. The idea, as Ellen Tressel put it, was to let their husbands to know that they were thinking of them and that they should be thinking of themselves too. Or, as Mary Pat Pelini put it, "it's so those idiots get their heads out of their rears and stop eating so many damn sunflower seeds."
Many coaches, both active and retired (or fired) were still involved. Shelly Meyer once sent Urban a copy of "Marley & Me", with every passage relating to the death of the dog underlined several times in red ink. Carol Stoops shipped her husband a copy of Sun Tzu's "The Art of War," but Bob neglected to read it. And for several consecutive years a very sarcastic Beth Holtz sent Lou a series of books about tongue twisters.
Now, this year, Jim Tressel eyed the package sitting on his desk with some suspicion. Ellen had told him that the book was inspirational and should help him out in his daily life. She had also said it was by one of his very favorite authors, CS Lewis. Still, Jim wasn't sure. He never had much free time, especially now, but a promise was a promise. He sighed and opened to the first page.
A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once. Full, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds filled with disapproval and potato chip crumbs.
Jim's eyes widened, surprised. Is this really what Ellen thinks of me? I know everyone says I need to be more fashionable and "with it," but she's never seemed to mind. Of course, she'd never said anything either. Maybe that was what she's getting at, Jim mused. Maybe this character is just as stubborn as I can be sometimes. Jim was intrigued, and read on.