In the Michigan preview in today's edition of The Blade, I caught up with Wauseon's Elliott Mealer, who will take over as Michigan's starting left guard when it faces Alabama on Saturday in the Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas. In speaking with him, I didn't just get the sense that he was excited about starting for the Wolverines - who wouldn't be? - but I also found that Mealer has a certain calmness about him (maybe a sense of peace?).
When Mealer and his family hosted the David Mealer Memorial Classic golf tournament in June at the Brandywine Country Club in Maumee, I got to meet and speak with Brock Mealer, and there was the sense that Brock had found his purpose in life: not only to prove that he was one of the "One Percent" - a nod to the fact that initially, doctors told him that he had only a one percent chance of walking after being paralyzed in a car accident in December of 2007 - but to continue to carry a message of perseverance and of keeping faith in the face of adversity.
Brock Mealer's story, in it's own right, is inspiring. He's getting married in December, and plans to walk down the aisle. Here are a few of Brock Mealer's first steps, unassisted, courtesy of Mike Barwis and Barwis Methods Training:
Yet I spoke with a few of the Michigan players about Elliott. One statement that really resonanted came from Michigan longsnapper Curt Graman, who was one of about 30 Michigan football players to participate in the golf tournament.
"Elliott's gotten past the point where he's connected to the accident," Graman said in June. "People see him as the person he's become, as a football player, as a friend."