Well written, though.
"Rodrick Williams Jr.'s 10-month old, 2-foot-long savannah monitor named "Kill" gets the RB some strange looks when they go for walks together."
I met Teddy after he'd had a double lung transplant. I only have one fuzzy memory of this being a thing that impacted my senses directly. We probably watched an Amaker-era game against Illinois at his apartment; I remember Teddy lugging around a canister of oxygen, like he was a 90-year-old smoker. He was not. He had cystic fibrosis.
The thing I do remember vividly is Dave's inability to shut up and solemnly take in an Amaker-era game against Illinois, which… yeah. First terrifying indicator of mortality in a kid who was barely 20 or annoyance at someone talking during a basketball game, and I remember one of these things clearly, the other dimly. I even think Michigan was way ahead for most of the game.
After that, Teddy got better, mostly. When they do a transplant they have to shut off sections of your immune system, so every once in a while I'd hear that Teddy had been in the hospital for a week fighting off something or other that would have been a couple of days of mucus for someone with an immune system at full capacity. You hear those things and have a tremor, and then you file it away because the first intermission is ending.
We went to the Joe once for a Michigan hockey game. I met his brother, a maniac extrovert, and drove home his car because it was something with three letters like Geo or Ion or something and apparently cars with really short names also come with front-wheel drive and bicycle tires. Teddy didn't feel comfortable driving that thing home, so I did it. Guys in the back seat yelled at me to do things other than I was doing, because only Teddy and I knew the special terror of trying to maneuver that thing through anything other than a velodrome. When we got home, haggard and spent, I drove my Jeep home from his apartment and rolled my eyes at myself.
Events like that eventually solidified a picture of Teddy in my head: he was one of life's Donnys.
He had a hangdog way of saying "no" that stretched and depressed that single syllable, which he usually deployed after someone took a shot at him. His friends called him "ladylungs." He was a sweet, calm person who was stepped on by his friends for humor value. Many groups end up with a version of this person. A Donny.
Teddy died Sunday.
Apparently, lung transplants just up and get rejected even after you've had them for years. I know this now. I've read all the relevant wikipedia articles. I didn't then, but when he went into the hospital six weeks ago I heard he wasn't coming out until he'd had a second transplant. That combined with a second fact—there was one place that had done a second transplant in the US—to paint a clear picture. He was on and off lists, got pneumonia, was heavily sedated as his lungs once again betrayed him, and finally there was no way out.
Like the rest of my interaction with his disease, it happened away from me. I was insulated and relied on second-hand reports. I don't know if that's good or bad. The funeral will be a shock.
I had a phase a few months ago where I thought boxing was really interesting all of a sudden. I didn't really know why then. I just watched some boxing, and found it interesting.
I think I figured it out thanks to two images from the recent Pacquiao-Marquez fight. The first is this shot of Filipinos reacting to the Marquez knockout:
Twitter blew up with GIFs immediately after the knockout so I'd already seen what happened but this shot and the accompanying article made me feel like an idiot for forgetting about boxing and not finding some way to watch the fight.
And then I noticed Marquez had a beer's name on his genitals. Maybe you have just done this as well. When it happened to me the photograph reconfigured itself into a splash of corporate logos covering literally every available surface in the shot save the ref and the boxers' skin itself—and anyone who had a passing familiarity with the idea of boxers in the mid-aughts knows that Golden Palace made even that a billboard for a time.
Marquez is still there, damaged. A guy in a suit is craning his neck to see Pacquaio. A ringside photographer in red is too shocked to do his job even though that would also consist of looking at what has happened. Rows further back every mouth is agape. The sea of logos recedes again. A real, archipelago-crushing thing is still there.
I understand my temporary boxing fascination better today. Eventually it comes down to two men in a ring. Despite the legendary loathsomeness of everything surrounding those two guys, they can overcome it. Judging outrages are at least evidence that what happened inside the ring was worthy of getting mad about, and people get mad and fume about the things that are so deranged and greedy about this thing they love and then they sulk for a bit and then go on and get on with it because sometimes it's worth it anyway, and when else has anyone in the background of those pictures felt like that?
The core of the thing is still there, whether it's boxing or football. Before there were hundreds of thousands of people who were obsessed with men running into each other, they still ran into each other. The answer to "why?" is always "tribalism" or "I don't know, some people are strange." They didn't have much motivation. Life was short and could have been spent in a mine, I guess.
Anthony left, Teddy right
Here is the thing that caused me to combine Teddy's obituary with an already-developing post on trying to focus on the core of the sporting activity that has made said activity a worldwide thing people do or watch.
We went to open skate at Yost one day with some other people. At Yost, I discovered that ice skating is not quite entirely unlike rollerblading. Since I can do the latter, that was unfortunate. While I had the ability to stay upright, it was only just. Never in the history of gliding has there been a less elegant demonstration of it. There have been uncontrolled bathtubs sent down ski hills who made a better show of it. I was not good.
Teddy was, and this was a shock to me. I don't know. I must of assumed he'd spent the 20 years before the transplant in a bubble. He had evidently spent many of them on skates, and here was the second shock: placed in an environment of comfort and advantage, Teddy was no Donny. He was a dick, in that way you are to your friends. People must think that way about me outside the context in which I am worse than an unguided bathtub. I smiled tightly, and took it, and filed that one away nice and clear.
I related this story on Sunday and found that Anthony, who'd played on various teams with him for the last few years, had stories about misconducts Teddy had acquired—plural. And that the normally serene, "no"-deploying Teddy would on occasion (just on occasion) curse blue streaks at refs. He remained fundamentally Teddy, so the fact that he of all people was the one to acquire misconduct was a never-live-it-down-type situation.
Anthony told us that late, when Teddy's lungs had started going, he remembers a phase in which he couldn't get to pucks he used to—his game was always speed—and how he was downhearted after the game, apologizing to the team for something grim and outside of his control.
That's the thing, though. When we take something as plainly artificial as putting metal on your feet to skate around a perfectly manicured ice sheet so we can put a rubber disk in the right place, things are or are not. Ambiguities are ruthlessly hewed away and people do or do not. And it is unfair that when college kid under extreme duress does something bad that there is a hot flash of anger and wonderment that anyone could be such a holistic-complete-total failure, just like it was unfair that Teddy blamed himself for his lungs. When I heard that I thought about Marquez, and Manny Pacquiao, and if Pacquiao would had the same inevitable/bizarre reaction when he came to.
It is real no matter how many barnacles attach themselves. The thing does this to you. Watch or play and it transforms you. I'll avail myself of that for as long as I can.
I mean, I just realized every interaction in this post is about sports. I heard Teddy was in the hospital as I walked to Yost. And when Anthony asked a heavily-sedated Teddy if he was going to listen to the hockey game Friday, Teddy's eyes un-rolled and got real big and he solemnly shook his head "no" and I laughed when I heard that because I saw that South Park too and I knew what that "no" sounded like even if his lungs wouldn't let him speak.
Well written, though.
Sorry for your loss,Brian.
As a side note a friend of a friend is currently running across the country to raise awareness for this awful disease. He has a Facebook page that's called more than just miles amd a website
WWW.morethanjustmiles.org,If anyone is interested I know he would love a few more "Likes"
I have a nephew named Miles who happens to have CF. Shitty disease to deal with to put it mildly. (RIP Teddy) My nephew is a pretty decent athlete, but he's not running across the country.
Sorry for your loss, Brian. Beautifully written and thoughtful piece.
I'm sorry for your loss, Brian.
On a related note, small world. He played hockey at the cube on Miller Lite? Was it their D3 team? (I don't think they have a team in a different league as it is but still...)
I've probably played against him and not even realized it. From the sounds of it, he was one of the few people that could catch up to me after getting a step on them.
but I think they were a higher D division at the time. He went from Miller Lite to Beer Belly Brewing in D1 I believe, and also played a game for The Rippers. He was a fixture at the Cube.
I was fortunate enough to be a casual acquaintance of Teddy's and that was enough for me to admire his outlook on life and general attitude about everything. He will be missed.
Sorry for your loss, Biff.
I played softball with him during a couple summers. I can definitely attest to his speed and he was probably the best player on the team as well. I had no idea that he was affected by this and this saddens me as he was a great person to be around. Though I did not know him as personally as others, I appreciate the piece and that you took the time to write it, Brian. RIP Teddy.
He was on our IM softball team too. He actually was very good. My prayers go out to The Scott Family.
So sad. Sorry about your friend, Brian. Condolences.
I've lost a couple friends way too early in life. I know we'll all be reunited one day, but it continues to sting 15 and 8 years later.
Not only is Teddy up there with them, having a good time, but he's finally able to skate again at top speed.
Keep the faith, my friend
Teddy (and his family) should be proud that he lived a life that impacted you (and others, I imagine) so profoundly. Sorry for your loss.
Along that same line, after reading this story I have a feeling that the Scott family will be proud of what you have written, Brian. I have thankfully not been in their situation before (knock on wood) but I would like to think that it is stories like these you tell that will help me remember a loved one even that much better.
For what its worth, Teddy will live on so long as you remember him fondly and try to live your life to the fullest as it appears that he did in his time here.
I am sorry for your loss Brian. I lost a very good friend of mine our junior year of high school. He had heart issues and suddenly his heart gave out a few days before the end of the school year.
It's tough to this day, because he was going to re-join the football team the following fall and we were going to be offensive line mates, side-by-side at guard and tackle.
Keep your head up Brian and remember him for the memories you have.
Very sad story!
I am friends with his brother and was lucky enough to meet Teddy a few times. It only took about 2 minutes with him to discover what a genuinely good person he was. He fought his illness with such strength and bravery that it was an inspiration. The Scott Family and the Michigan Community lost a great one and he will be missed.
I knew him, although I hadn't seen him since college, but I remember him being witty, funny and all around good guy. Really sad for you and Dave for your loss. Not exactly what I was expecting when logging on to MGo, but well written, sir.
"65 roses" is a bitch.
For those of you who want to learn more or donate to help find a cure:
But for some reason I didn't get choked up till I watched the South Park vid, and pictured/related it to Brian's storytelling.
What was once funny seems very, very sad now. Sorry for your loss.
We went to high school together, and I had no idea he had passed away until I was eating lunch and catching up on MGoBlog. I barely knew him but from all accounts he was an awesome kid and a great hockey player. I'm sorry for your loss, and for his family's loss. Thank you for this piece- it's a great tribute to a good kid.
You're a great friend.
I knew Teddy. I went to high school with him, shared the same group of friends, played on the same baseball team, played on the East Lansing Trojan's varsity hockey team, and shared countless Michigan memories with him.
He was my first friend at MacDonald Middle School in the 6th grade. We met in Mrs. Merritt's class on the first day of school. Despite his small stature, he was incredibly outgoing and and made that first terrifying day of school easier. We quickly developed a bond through Michigan sports, and If ever there was an embodiment of a "Michigan Man" that is so discussed on Michigan message boards, it is Teddy.
I hadn't spoken to Teddy in a few years. The news of his passing was shocking and heart breaking. He had a great family, all of whom shared his love for Michigan, and my thoughts go out to them for their loss.
RIP Teddy, you will be missed.
Hey, i went to school with teddy from ms. merritt's class all the way through college. my memories of teddy from that year are all of him either wearing a throwback Bruins jersey or a yellow michigan hockey jersey. He definitely held it down for the East Lansing michigan fans.
Teddy was always my go to guy for michigan hockey info. his passing really hit me when Adam Janecyk got the shutout this weekend. i wanted to call teddy and ask him all about the guy who came from nowhere to get all those saves. but teddy wasn't going to be there to answer the call. that was a tough moment.
here is why I'm glad Brian wrote about teddy, and why i think it's important for this community to know about him. it's because he's a guy who devoted his life to michigan sports. I'm an avid sports fan, but underneath there is always a place I can look to and say, you know, it doesn't matter in the end. teddy didn't have that place.he made sports(michigan, red wings, tigers) the focus and meaning of a life that he must have known would be short, and in doing so, he elevated them to something greater than they were before. if a caring, generous, perservering person can truly hold these teams in the foremost place in his heart, then you know what, they matter in a real way and it validates this blog and the people here more than any other tribute can.
has come a long way in the past 30 years. it used to be that 16 was a long life, now that is pushed all the way to 40. there is a generation of CF kids who live right on that line though and its tough to hear their passing. he fought a good fight, RIP.
Thanks for posting your story about Teddy. But I need to defend your comment about ladylungs. You met Teddy after his double lung transplant so you have no idea what he went through before then, or what we all went through as his close friends right by his side.
We all met Teddy the first day of our freshman year of college - we all lived on the same floor in the East Quad dorm. We spent time together nearly evey day. We went to hockey games, studied, ate together, even played cards while he was using his therapy vest. We obviously knew he had cystic fibrosis but he kept up with all of us. We walked to the Big House to watch home football games together, he schooled us in broomball, we played touch football, soccer and frisbee to pass the time after class, and we played about a dozen IM sports together. He surprised us with team tee shirts one day, which united our little family. He was the most genuine, upbeat, kind person I'd met.
And yeah he had that "no." He knew his limits and we all respected him for that. But he seemed as healthy as the rest of us most times. And then things started to change. In our sophomore and junior years his limits quickly deteriorated along with his lungs. Eventually he couldn't play sports with us. And then he couldn't walk as far, so his "maniac extrovert" brother, the best brother Teddy could ever ask for, who took care of Teddy and would do anything for Teddy, drove him to class and to the Big House so he could watch football games with us. But it kept getting harder and harder for Teddy to breathe. He was so frail and weak. Someone we loved, our close friend, was dying before our eyes.
Then, thanks to the death of a lady, Teddy was given a new set of lungs. I remember visiting him in the hospital. We played with his heart monitor to see who had the lowest heart rate, and he thought that was funny, especially since he won. He was always so competetive. We joked and smiled constantly. Our friend was alive.
He eventually got strong enough to come back to school and started eventually playing sports with us again too. He was the same Teddy, always cheerful and ready to tackle the world. Barely 20 years old, we were faced with death, with losing a part of our silly little family. We didn't know how to deal with it so the nickname ladylungs was born, not to make fun of Teddy, but as a way to say "I love you," our affectionate way of showing how scared we were of losing one of our best friends and how thankful we were that he was healthy again but not knowing how to say it. As immature 20 year olds we were just glad to have him back. Calling him ladylungs was our way of saying dude, we love you and we thank god every day for giving you these new lungs so we can continue getting to be a part of your life.
Teddy was fortunate enough to live a few years longer than he would have without his ladylungs and we are all so thankful he had more time on this earth. And I am glad you were able to get to know Teddy as well. Everyone who was lucky enough to meet him understands this tragic loss. My thoughts go out to Teddy's parents, Teddy's fiancee, Gordon, and the rest of his family and friends, no matter how deep or how long they knew Teddy. He is truly unforgettable.
From Brian's perspective, I know how he lost some of the subtleties about our terms of endearment for T. I mean, Gordon did get T a bra on the first anniversary of the transplant, so its easy to misinterpret that. Also, Brian first met Gordon on Michigan's disastrous trip to the Frozen Four in Denver, and his contact with him was always in passing...never enough to get the full brunt of just how much the family did for Teddy and all of his friends.
But I can attest to this; Brian was fiercely protective of Teddy as much as any of us who knew him...if it came out in a slightly different way, so be it.
On a side note, which of 2nd Hayden is this? This is DLL.
Playa Hayden, ah yesssss. Dave, sorry for the loss, but thanks for the head's up on FB. We should catch up soon.
Even though I hadn't spoken with Teddy since college, I was still heartbroken to hear about his passing. One of my most vivid memories of Teddy was one, not of his illness, but of us just being dumb college kids. I lived in the basement of Hayden, but spend all of my time on the 2nd floor with these guys and one night we decided to sneak in some 151 and have a little party in Teddy's room. During the course of our evening, we started playing poker and at some point, as college kids who have had a little alcohol are prone to do, a shot was knocked over onto the table. As we picked up the chips to clean it up, I remember thinking, we are gonna get busted because that 151 had already burned the image from the poker chips into the table.
Not sure why I wanted to post this, as there isn't a profound message about him hidden in it, just more that he was a normal kid who shared the same experiences as the rest of us, even if every time we went to dinner, we waited a few minutes for him to shake the mucus in his lungs free by putting on a vest that vibrated so violently that you could barely understand what he was saying while he was wearing it.
DLL, glad to get the perspective you had knowning Brian and Teddy. The landylungs comment in the article got me a bit as well, but I'm glad its meaning could be more fully explained.
Such a vivid memory..
I am also curious who this is, but I wanted to post to say, thank you for this response. If I remember right, we also played the oposite of that game with the heart monitor, and had guys doing pushups and running in place to see who could get their heart rate the highest, which had Teddy cracking up. Unless this was a different hospital visit...
Pretty sure you all know by now but this is Lish. 2nd Cooley. Yep Ryan, same hospital visit. Great memory, Mike, I also vividly remember that poker game. And DLL thanks for posting too. Sorry I couldn't attend the memorial today. Miss you guys.
I met Teddy at Yost back when I had my student tickets. He and his crew were drawn to me because I was the only other guy as obnoxiously loud as their burly friend Dave. That was 2004, I believe. Since then I had probably seen him about every 6 months or so, on or off. Reading Brian's story kind of made me laugh because he described him as a the kind of dick you are to your friends. Clearly he was not as comfortable with me --he was never anything but kind. The last time I saw him was at the Joe during our double OT win against BG this past spring. His girl had to go to work and couldn't stay for the overtime, so he hunted me down (probably by my voice) and asked if I could give him a ride back to Ann Arbor. I was headed that way anyhow, so of course I agreed. I remember thinking at the time that I just loved his dedication; he would rather tell her, "no just go to work, I'll find a ride" for the chance to watch Michigan win, than take the easy way out and just listen in the car. I know he would've done the exact same for me. I'm sorry you never got the chance to repay the favor, Teddy. I really wish you were still around -- I'm sure most of us who knew you feel exactly the same way. You will be remembered as lively and kind; which is especially impressive when someone was dealt the hand that you were. You will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, friend.
Very sorry to hear that. I lost two siblings (well, my parents did anyway, since I was too young to remember them) and a cousin to cystic fibrosis so my family knows first hand how horrible of a disease it is. Thoughts and prayers for Teddy and his family and friends.
My condolences. Thanks for sharing the story for those of us who did not know
I think you've remembered him beautifully here.
excellent writing, and I'm sorry for all of his friends who are posting here as well. thanks for sharing your stories.
I love this tribute to your friend, especially the part about him being a dick on the ice. Only a friend could call someone a dick and mean it as a compliment.
Also, several readers have commented on the excellence of your writing. One of the main reasons I have read this blog for years is the quality of your writing. This piece is especially good because you clearly are writing from the heart.
Sorry again for your loss. Sounds like Teddy was a great guy to hang out with.
I joined specifically to respond to this topic. I am truly sorry for your loss. Full disclosure, I am a Spartan. More importantly, I have a son with CF. It's a horrible disease. As someone mentioned above the CF community is making advances every day. Hopefully my son and many others will live longer and more 'normal' lives.
I wanted to point out that the CF center at U of M is amazing. Our Doctors are second to none and the entire staff is wonderful. Kudos to U of M and the Mott facility. I know my son is in good hands.
A good friend of mine had a son about 5 years ago who barely made it home from birth, and they shortly found out that he had been diagnosed with CF. He got well and has been a normal youngster since, aside from the treatments and enzyme pills, etc.
The couple decided to have a second child, and the odds of having a second with CF were something like 1 and 4...their daughter was also diagnosed with CF, but they have accepted and embraced the challeges that come with the condition.
They said it best when they realized that "God blessed us with these two amazing children because he knew how strong and loving we are, and that we can make a difference." They have. Anyone who is looking for a place to make a holiday donation for a great cause, consider CF. Here is a link to their story and all they have accomplished in the last few years (http://cckt.org/). CF is one of, if not THE only disease that does not receive federal funding for research for a cure. It all comes from people like us.
Thoughts and prayers to Teddy's family and friends. Remember the memories and cherish them for a lifetime.
I don't post often. I knew teddy from IM sports. It took me two seasons to learn that he had CF. his heart and dedication in those sports made it unbelievable to me that he had so much drive even with this situation. CF is a bitch of a disease. One of my close friends from high school past away from it as well.
I will never forget our time playing IM sports teddy. You were a hell of a competitor and an even better person.
too young to lose friends. My thoughts go to you and all the friends of Teddy.
What a stupid article. Seriously, Brian, how lame are you? I've gone to this blog site for years. I've always enjoyed reading the stuff that's on here especially the football articles and the recruiting stuff. Once in a while, some other blogger writes an article and puts something or say something that I might find a little racially insensitive. But I've always just ignored them. I figured it comes with the territory since this is a free blog and most of the "writers" on here a probably just a bunch of 17 year old white guys still living with their parents anyway. But after reading this article and reading the line "if you really like sad Filipinos" I think I will stop coming to this blog site. What does football and football recruiting have to do with pictures of sad Filipinos? There are many UofM alumni and fans who go to this blog site and read the articles on here. And many of them are not white. Some are even Filipinos like myself. Years ago before this place got way to ad-heavy, it used to be just about Michigan-related stuff. Now it is filled with ads and writers who write about almost anything. In my opinion, a little too commercialized. I'm going to be spending all my reading time from now on at blog sites like Tremendous and Touchthebanner. At least they keep most of their content strictly on Michigan or Michigan football and not on "pictures of sad Filipinos."
Of everything, didn't you?
You're trying way too hard to be offended.
At first I thought you were yet another example of the adage: you can't please all of the people all of the time. The more I thought about it, M-Wolverine sums it up perfectly. You just really missed this one all together.
...just pull this chitown post off of here.
Could you be any more self interested chitown? And you registered just to write that? Dude...
who knew him. He seemed to have touched and left an impact on many people, Who seem to have many great memories. Thanks for sharing them. Its sad when they go so young.