Buckeyes Coach Explains Block "O" of Life
By Shawn Brown
The 700 Club
Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel is one of the most respected coaches in college sports; not because of his nine NCAA Championships, but because of his approach to teaching the game of football.
Shawn Brown, The 700 Club sports reporter talked with Coach Tressel:
Shawn: Welcome to the home of the Ohio State Buckeyes, better known as the horseshoe. In the last seven years, head coach Jim Tressel has built a winning program based on six pillars he refers to as the Block “O” of Life.
The Block “O” has been the official symbol for the Ohio State Buckeyes for more than 70 years. When Tressel came to Ohio State in 2001, he came up with a way to incorporate his life philosophy into the Block “O”. It’s based on six core values. The first three define a player’s purpose, which includes personal family, spiritual morals, and caring and giving. The remaining three lay down a set of goals, including strength and fitness, football of course, and academics and career. He explains all of these in detail in his book, The Winners Manual for the Game of Life.
Jim: Our Block “O” of Life, we talk a lot about it when we’re recruiting. We [say that we] know the first thing that attracted him to Ohio State was football, and we’re going to work hard at being good at football. We’re going to work hard at becoming great players and NFL players and all of that. But that’s not all we’re going to do.
Jim’s philosophy comes from watching his father, who coached football at Baldwin- Wallace College for more than two decades.
Jim: I learned that he cared about everybody. He cared about all parts of them. He wanted to win, very competitive guy, won a lot of games. But, what was most important to him was that young people grew while they were with him.
One summer, Jim went to a summer camp sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He got more than he bargained for when the speaker asked one simple question that shook his world.
Jim: It was the last day of the camp that Bobby Richardson, the great baseball player with the Yankees, was speaking. He asked all of us if the game of life ended tonight, would we be a winner. And I mean, wow, I’d been around sports a long time, my whole life; and when he put it into the perspective of life, I wasn’t sure I could answer that. But, I knew once the game’s over, it’s over. And so, as he asked that question, I didn’t have an answer.
On the way back to his dorm he walked to a baseball field and thought hard about Bobby Richardson’s words.
Jim: He said, ‘Here’s the answer.’ He said, ‘Ask Jesus into your life. Ask God to direct your life, and you win.’ And it was like man, that sounds pretty simple.
Since then Coach Tressel has lived a life of purpose. After leading the Buckeyes to four Big Ten Conference Championships, he teaches what winning truly is.
Jim: My purpose is to be a servant in God’s kingdom and to serve Him and His - all of us - all shapes, sizes, and get to know Him. Grow to love Him, which is loving as well. I think what’s most important about our relationship with Jesus, to Him, is that we understand His way, the way He wants us to live, the way He wants us to serve.
Shawn: When people look at you, what is it that you want people to see?
Jim: I hope that they would see someone who is humbly serving God. That’s what I hope.
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