Somewhere in a corner of LSU’s locker room here at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Tigers offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger held the hardest phone call of his life. His daughter-in-law, Carley McCord, a 30-year-old TV journalist, had perished Saturday morning in a plane crash in Louisiana while en route to this very place. His son and namesake, Steven Jr., so shaken by the news that family members rushed him to the hospital, lay in a bed in a medicated state, on sedatives, in and out of reality—until dad called.
Just before he took the field for warmups, an hour before he would call plays in his alma mater’s biggest game in eight years, Steve Ensminger, for just a brief few minutes, pushed football aside for family. He called his son. He told him that everything would be O.K., that he’d make it through this dark hour. He told him that he loved him and to be strong and have faith.
He also made him a promise. As the call ended, dad told son what was coming next. “The team is behind you, these coaches are behind you,” Steven recalls his father saying, “and we are about to go beat Oklahoma’s ass for you.”
Hours later, with LSU in the midst of a deconstruction of the Sooners, Steven’s blood pressure dipped to more normal levels. He emerged from that cloudy state and maybe most importantly, the 30-year old got to watch his father’s offense roar in LSU’s 63-28 thumping of OU.
(Excerpt from Sports Illustrated article written by Ross Dellenger)
I know that there are many of my Oklahoma friends and family may have wanted the game to end, and many may be upset that I am posted a piece about LSU, but I don't care. Because at the heart of this piece is something that we could all learn from... when you are walking through your darkest hour - it is not time to hang up the towel or give up or give in. It's time to fight. Because all that is required is faith like a mustard seed.
LSU did go on to defeat the Sooners and will be playing in the NCAAF championship on Jan. 13th in the Superdome in my home state, but more importantly, a family will be laying to rest a loved one and celebrating someone's life. And, on that day I would anticipate that Coach Ensminger will be standing next to his son and reminding him that he is loved, he is strong, and keep the faith.
In my deepest hour, my stepson, Asher did not want to leave my hospital room although he had a scrimmage to play. From the stories, I have heard that the conversation that my husband had with our son was very close to the one mentioned above. And, my son's Coach has shared with me that it is was the best game Asher had played. He played hard and left every emotion, hurt, and feeling of helplessness on that field.
Is it time for you to fight? Fight for your loved one that is fighting for their life. Fight for yourself. Healing does not just start with your physical state, it begins in your mind.
Fight! Fight! Fight!