MYERS WRITES TOUCHING BOOK ABOUT FATHE
Morgan Myers started writing about her dad and his cancer because it was the easiest way to share information. He coached high school football, and his life's work had taken his wife and two kids all over the state. Plainview. Chickasha. Moore. Woodward. Moore again. Chandler. Friends and family were spread far and wide, so Morgan used her Facebook page to share the latest. Appointments and treatments. Triumphs and setbacks. Highs and lows. But as she shared, her writing became about more than details. “It healed me in some way,” she said. Typing the words was oftentimes painful, but the end result was always cathartic and comforting. When Scott Myers died on Nov. 7, 2012, his daughter decided she wanted to write a book about him. She needed to, actually. She borrowed the slogan used by so many supporters — Play 4 Coach — and spent nearly three years writing “P4C: The Life and Times of Coach Scott Myers.” This isn't her first Father's Day without her dad, but it is the first with a paperback labor of love that has helped her grieve and remember. And yes, it has helped her heal.Morgan Myers always hated the portrait of Vince Lombardi hanging in the living room. Wherever her dad's job took the family, the portrait of the legendary football coach went along. Morgan thought it was ugly, and to this day, she says she doesn't know why her folks kept it. But of course, she does know. Lombardi was the gold standard for coaches like her dad, and the quote at the bottom of portrait encapsulated everything Scott Myers felt important. “I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle victorious.” The summer after her dad died, Morgan was home in Chandler on break from classes at Central Oklahoma. Sitting on the couch looking at that Lombardi portrait, she knew it was time to start writing her book. There was still pain. There was still grief. But she felt like her head was finally clear enough to start the process. She began outlining the sections she thought a book on her dad's life should include. As she looked at the different stages and stops that would likely be the chapters, she realized something. There were 11. That was her dad's number. He wore it when he played high school ball in Chandler and led the Lions to the 1984 state title. He wore it in college at East Central. He even passed it along to son, Mason. Morgan knew without a doubt she was supposed to write this book. * Morgan Myers wrote whenever she had free time, but with her classes and her sorority and her student teaching, then her teaching job, it wasn't always easy to find time. She also had to gather stories about the years of her dad's life that she didn't witness, and that meant interviewing family and friends. Because her dad didn't often talk about himself, Morgan heard all sorts of fun stories. After Scott met wife, Shelley, they were visiting her family when he decided her dogs needed their hair trimmed. He moved the electric clippers along their backs, but instead of turning on the clippers, he made a buzzing noise. “What are you doing?” Shelley and her family asked. Scott explained that when he'd trimmed horses growing up, he'd learned to simulate the buzz to get the animals used to the sound. “This is how you get them to calm down,” he said. As soon as he turned on the clippers, though, the dogs bolted like they'd been shot out of a cannon. Shelley and her family hooted and hollered. Morgan heard all kinds of stories like that, memories that brought laughs and smiles and happiness. But there were also stories that ended in tears. Remembering could be painful, and that was hard for Morgan, seeing her grandparents or her uncle or even her mom crying. But easily the most difficult moments for Morgan came when writing the final three chapters that chronicled the years that her dad was sick. In late 2009, Scott Myers started having severe back pain, and by early 2010, he was diagnosed with renal kidney cancer. Worse, it had already metastasized and spread all over his body by the time doctors found it. The cancer was in his hip, his shoulder, his spine. He fought it any way possible. High-dose radiation. Chemotherapy. Even though the treatments left him frail and gaunt and even zapped the pigment right out of his hair, he never stopped coaching. Over the next three years, Scott's last two at Moore and first back at his alma mater in Chandler, there would be uplifting stretches when the doctors would say the cancer had halted. And there would be heartbreaking moments when they would say it was raging again. It was hard for everyone around him, but no one more than Shelley, Morgan and Mason. Writing about those days, reliving them really, was a struggle for Morgan. “I put them off for a long time,” she said.
THE OKLAHOMAN | 6/19/2016
THE OKLAHOMAN | 6/19/2016