Today we have a very special Guest Blogger named Keri Kuczek. There are days we all get wrapped up in outcomes and metrics and minutia that continually attempts to entangle us. I know I have made the mistake of forgetting what is truly important more often than I would like to admit. When I read Keri’s blog the opportunity to remember what truly matters in my life came knocking with a parcel of perspective under its arm. Thank you Keri.
Keri is a graduate of Texas Tech, she is an art teacher and she resides in the hill country of Texas. She loves football as well as all things that are beautiful.
Her first year in college coincided with Coach Leach’s second year as head coach.
One thing I have learned after my wreck in October 2010 is that certain things are “meant to be.”
People are meant to meet each other, and some people are just destined to be friends.
When I went to my first Texas Tech football game in the Fall of 2002, I was thrilled by the energy and
fun of the game. We had a winning season that year, and the students were involved in all of it. As a smaller school in the
Big 12 without the resources of many of our competitors, we had a renegade
coach, and we were a bunch of renegade students who loved him. We both seemed to defy definition.
Our coach, a graduate of law school, who had never played college football was leading, by instinct.
Our students, many underrated, were proud to see this scrappy spirit take a larger stage. We walked
with pirate swagger.
In December 2009, I was devastated to learn that my coach and I were betrayed by my school. I was
sad that someone who
had brought so much to us was sent away by a handful of people who claimed to
act for us as a school. At that time, I became a pirate for life. I started my own Facebook page to try to
bring my Captain back.
In October 2010, I was involved in a horrible wreck. My truck rolled, and I suffered a severe traumatic
brain injury. I was in a coma and in ICU. A friend of mine told Mike Leach about my injuries. While
I was still in a coma, Mike Leach called my family frequently to offer his support and to check on my
progress. He did this without press conference or recognition. He also told us to call him if we needed
anything. At a time when my family and friends wanted to focus their energies on strength, they took
the “Team Leach” motto and modified it to “Team KMFK.” We raised our pirate flags and rallied in that
I was later transferred to a neurological rehabilitation facility in South Austin. Unlike you see in the
movies, it takes a long time to fully come out of a coma. There were several weeks when I was awake,
but unable to c
ommunicate anything. Later, I started regaining my words. Mike Leach called me several
times. One time when he called, my mother told him that I was scared to talk to him because I didn’t
have all of my words back. He said “that’s ok, I’ll just do the talking.” I sat there and listened as he
told me how proud he was of me, how sure he was that I was going to pull through all of this, and how
strong I was. Just like a football coach, talking to a player, he encouraged me and motivated me. It’s
like he knew what I needed to hear. It was like he needed to talk to me as much as I needed to hear him speak. Thank you, Coach.
That’s what he did. When his life was filled with turbulence, he still connected with me. He called. He
included me in some of his writings. He signed my book as we met for the first time at a book signing
in Dallas. Now, we are friends. I admire him for his ability to motivate. He motivated his team, the
student body at Texas Tech, and he motivated me. He told me how much he was proud of me, and how
sure he was that I could overcome my obstacles.
Looking back, I am sure that we were meant to be friends. Our separate adversities changed our paths,
and we were meant to work together.
He is famous for saying that “pirates function as a team.” I am glad Mike Leach is on my team. He will
always my friend and my Captain, and I will always be his #1 fan.