Local coach remembers kind words from superstar

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 1, 2010

Human interest stories about people reaching out to encourage others always touch my heart. I have the privilege, along with Danny Louque, of conducting weekly Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings at Riverside Academy. My friend, coach Mickey Roussel, is the sponsor of the group.

At last week’s meeting, the subject of the Super Bowl came up. I shared with the group about the relationship that Roussel had with Peyton Manning.

I told the group that in 1997, Roussel, at age 40, was diagnosed with chronic leukemia. I’m sure the news was devastating to Mickey. He was treated at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston.

During the same stressful period of Roussel’s life, Peyton Manning, a senior at Tennessee, was being considered for the Heisman Trophy. He eventually finished second in the voting, which, to this date, most people consider an injustice.

During this time, Peyton Manning wrote Roussel a letter. He told Roussel he had recently heard of his illness and said that he would be praying for his recovery.

He said that while playing at Newman, it was always a challenge to play Riverside. Your team was well coached, disciplined and competitive.

As I finished relating the story to the FCA members, I asked Mickey if he remembered that. He said, “I still have the letter.”

This Sunday, as the Saints and Colts battle for the championship,

I know Mickey will be rooting for the local team. However, I’m sure

his thoughts will be about that letter which a famous person took time to write during a time in his life when his future was questionable.

Today, Roussel is in remission and excited about the present, not knowing what the future holds but knowing that God holds the future.

If you have any questions or comments, please write to Get High on Life, P.O. Drawer U, Reserve, LA 70084, call (985) 652-8477, or e-mail: hkeller@comcast.net.