This isn’t necessarily a Purdue sports post. It’s tangentially related, but if reading posts not directly relating to Purdue athletics enrages you, stop now. If you’ve got a minute, please continue. I’ll keep this short.
Disclaimer: My confession is directly linked to my request. I’m not looking for, nor do I deserve, any personal recognition.
You know the stuff that Tyler Trent got from Dabo Swinney and Bill Snyder last summer?
That was my handy work.
I messaged back and forth with Tyler on a few occasions about Purdue sports before his cancer reoccurrence. He was bright and engaging and a genuinely good dude. When I found out his cancer was back, I decided to reach out to a few coaches and ask them to mail Tyler something. I know I would be excited to get something unexpected in the mail from a famous football coach, so I figured Tyler would as well.
I live in Manhattan, Kansas and know the football S.I.D. at Kansas State, so I asked him to pass on my request to Coach Snyder. There are few coaches more generous with their time than Bill Snyder, and he graciously agreed to send Tyler a note.
A few days later, Coach Snyder sent Tyler this:
Wow! What an absolute honor it is to receive such an encouraging letter from @CoachBillSnyder of @KStateFB! Thank you so much! I’ll have make it out for a game in the fall! pic.twitter.com/pSEEpWNZBj— Tyler Trent (@theTylerTrent) March 30, 2018
I didn’t do anything more than pass along the request and give Coach Snyder some background on Tyler in an email.
Coach Snyder did the rest.
While Coach Snyder’s letter was on the way, I decided to try and get in touch with Coach Swinney at Clemson. Other than being a Clemson alum, I don’t have any personal connections with Dabo, but I did have his email address and decided to shoot my shot.
I figured worst case, I would waste a half hour typing up on an email and best case, Tyler would get some sort of acknowledgement from Dabo.
A week later, Tyler received this in the mail:
Um, so I’m kinda speechless. This came in the mail from @ClemsonFB head coach Dabo Swinney. Thank you so much coach Swinney! Let me know when would be a good time to come to Death Valley for a #Clemson game, would absolutely love to see one in person! pic.twitter.com/4Ne9Tq987q— Tyler Trent (@theTylerTrent) April 13, 2018
Again, all I did was ask and pass along Tyler’s address, Dabo did the rest.
A couple months later I emailed Dabo back with an update on Tyler and mailed him my Tyler Strong bracelet. I told him that Tyler’s goal was to spread his story and raise money and awareness for cancer research, and asked if he would wear Tyler’s bracelet to help spread his message (I’m not sure if he rocked the bracelet or not, but I like to think that Dabo had a Tyler Strong bracelet on while Clemson was destroying Notre Dame and Alabama. I know that would have thrilled Tyler).
I didn’t ask Dabo for anything other than to wear the bracelet.
This came in the mail for Tyler in November
Well this was quite the surprise! Huge thank you to @ClemsonFB and head coach Dabo Sweeney for taking the time to send me this autographed football and good luck in the @ACCFootball championship! pic.twitter.com/iUAcPl0IZY— Tyler Trent (@theTylerTrent) November 26, 2018
I didn’t have anything to do with Dabo sending Tyler the ball, other than I initially provided him with Tyler’s address. I was thrilled that Dabo sent Tyler something else (totally unsolicited this time) and gave him at least a few moments of happiness. Little did I know that at this point, Dabo and Tyler had talked on the phone and on facetime.
This article provides a nice summary of Dabo and Tyler’s interactions
Dabo and Tyler at the College Football Awards Show
Thank you to Coach Swinney of @ClemsonFB for stopping by to visit with @theTylerTrent, @TonyTrent10 and @Kat9798! #TylerStrong pic.twitter.com/zbQNUckrKC— Purdue Football (@BoilerFootball) December 7, 2018
Again, I didn’t have anything to do with this, and by this point, Dabo and Tyler were on facetime terms (I had no idea), but I still felt a little pride in my chest for playing a small part in bringing them together.
What happened next was totally floored me.
I was watching Dabo talk at the White House, and he started talking about Tyler. I asked Dabo to help spread Tyler’s message by wearing a bracelet, and he started quoting Tyler on national television during Clemson’s College Football National Championship trip to the White House. Again, I’m not claiming any sort of responsibility for this...at all...none, but I was extremely proud when Dabo started talking about Tyler.
I don’t cry easily, but I have to admit, I dropped a few tears.
Why am I telling you guys this?
First off, I want to reiterate that I played a tiny role in all of this. I just shot off a couple emails because I considered Tyler a casual friend and wanted him to get something cool in the mail.
That’s the extent of my contribution. At most, it cost me an hour of my time and the shipping costs for the bracelet.
I had no intention of writing about this, but I have a small request, and I was wondering if you could help me out.
If I’ve built up any good will, I’d like to spend it now.
Time for the Request
Another one of my casual acquaintances (extremely casual, as we’re only interacted on twitter a few times, and I doubt he remembers it) could use some help.
Zach Lentz is a beat writer for Clemson football. As a matter of fact, Zach is the best beat writer for Clemson football (he’s got the hardware to support my assertion).
Zach and his wife are going through a hard time right now. Zach’s wife is currently battling Stage 4 breast cancer.
It’s probably easier to let Zach explain it through a few tweets.
January 24, 2019
Zach put together a book chronicling Clemson’s National Championship season, and he’s donating all of his royalties to Dabo’s All In Team Foundation. A large component of All In Team Foundation is raising money for breast cancer awareness and prevention.
That’s where Zach’s donations will go.
All In Team Website
Much like Tyler, Zach is trying to make the best out of an otherwise grim situation. He hopes that his efforts to raise money for breast cancer research will help keep his three daughters from suffering from the same affliction as their mother.
I can’t fathom the difficulties his young family is going through, but I thought I might try and plug his book to you fine folks, in hopes that you would open your hearts (and wallets or purses), in order to help him in this mission.
Sometimes, all you can do is keep moving forward, and that’s what Zach is doing right now. His book, and the subsequent donations, in a small way, allows him some power in an otherwise powerless situation.
Beyond excited the my first book, "The Journey to the Top" is now available for purchase at the link below.— Zach Lentz (@_Zach_Lentz) January 11, 2019
I hope that everyone who purchases it enjoys this recap of the Tigers' historic march to becoming the first 15-0 team in modern football.https://t.co/vyKlvKX77j pic.twitter.com/46nXoxiVzS
Link to Purchase
OK Drew, I want to help, but have no need for a book about Clemson Football.
Fair enough, it’s a good read, but if it’s not your thing, DM me @LegendofSM or drop me an email email@example.com and I’ll send you my address. Send the book to my house, and I’ll collect them and donate them to local schools in the Clemson area (I don’t have the logistics of this worked out yet, but I promise I’m not trying to assemble a cache of paperback books).
As we know all too well, Cancer Sucks. If you can find it in your hearts (and wallets or purses) to drop $17.96 on Zach’s book, it won’t make cancer suck any less, but it will help someone in the middle of the fight feel a little better.
If you don’t buy the book, I totally understand.
“You never know unless you ask” has gotten me incredibly far in life, and I thought this would be a good opportunity to put it to work again.
Boiler Up and God Bless