iMow Lawn Care
For a college football player, the summer is a unique season. Your lifts and runs are harder at this time than at any other point in the year, as the season kickoff is only a few months away. However, other than those intense workouts, the rest of your life during summer can actually be kind of relaxed. You usually only take one or two classes, and you have all of your weekends off to do as you please. Summer is really the only time of the year that you have a good amount of free time.
I know all of this now. But my first summer in Chapel Hill I didn’t have a clue. All I knew was that by enrolling in summer school I was moving one step closer to achieving a childhood dream. My whole life, I spent Saturdays cooped up in my basement watching great college quarterbacks go at it. Honestly, I probably knew the name of every QB in the entire country. For example, I could tell you pretty much what you needed to know about the Tar Heel’s quarterback TJ Yates. In fact, I even knew a little bit about his backup.
So, the summer I came to Carolina to finally become a college football player myself, I tried to soak in every single bit of my new life that I could. Whether it was workouts, classes, or learning the playbook, I was giving it everything I had in me. It was easy. I was chasing a dream.
When my first full week in Chapel Hill came to a close on Friday afternoon, I took the elevator up to the offensive staff meeting room to try to find one of the only friends I had made in my first week. Keith Heckendorf, an assistant offensive coach, had made the effort to take me under his wing, and make sure I knew that he was there to help me in any way that he could. So that afternoon I tried to find him in hopes that he would teach me a thing or two about the pro-style offense before he went home for the weekend. When I opened the door to the meeting room, I was excited to see that Coach Heck was, in fact, still there. However, I became a little nervous when I saw who also was there, sitting across the table from him. It was our soon-to-be starting quarterback, Bryn Renner.
Up to that point, I had not really spoke to Bryn other than in passing. All I knew about him was that he was the living-breathing embodiment of my childhood dream—he was a starting quarterback for a Division I college football team.
They were in during the middle of playful dispute, so I remained quiet as I took a seat at the large conference table. That is where I sat for the next hour and a half; it was just me, Coach Heck, and Bryn Renner. However, they didn’t talk about the pro-style offense one time, and I am not sure that I even talked at all. Listening in admiration, I couldn’t help but laugh at the excitable, crazy personality of Bryn. You see, I didn’t know that a well-known college quarterback could be like that—so sociable and transparent. Honestly, I didn’t know anybody like that. As the conversation began to wind down, Coach Heck asked Bryn what he had planned for rest of the afternoon. Bryn said he would probably hit the local pool, and then go from there. He then looked at me and asked if I wanted to come with.
That is Bryn Renner. Over the last three years I have been blessed to be in a group of quarterbacks led by him. In that time, he has become one of my closest friends—both on and off the field. That is why it kills me to see his senior season end on the unfortunate note that it did.
This weekend, journalists will write about all the adversity he overcame in his career—from playing on a broken foot as a sophomore, to adjusting to a spread offense that didn’t always coincide with his natural skill-set. Journalists will write about all of that, as they should. However, what they probably will not write about is how great of a person he has remained through it all. They won’t know to write that he still knows the name of every person who works inside our football building, from receptionist to custodian. They won’t know to write that while I was home earlier this season mourning the loss of a high school friend, Bryn refused to answer my questions about his health, even though he knew he was about to miss his first game since becoming the starter here. Instead, he insisted that I tell him how I was doing, and asked me how everything was going in Asheville. Bryn has done some amazing things on the football field, and that is how many writers and fans alike will remember his career here at Carolina. I too will remember the way he played the game. However, I am fortunate enough to know the other side of him as well: the side whose favorite celebration is pretending to push-mow over the ground he just conquered. Even with all of Bryn’s on-the-field accomplishments, I am convinced that—at least in the three years that I’ve been here—his greatest contributions to the Carolina program have come from this “other side.” And since the papers probably can’t do justice to showcasing this part of Bryn, I have decided to try to take matters into my own hands.
Like I said, summer can sometimes leave you with more time than you know what to do with. Well this past summer, Bryn, myself, and a couple more of my favorite teammates got together to shoot “iMow Lawn Care.”
The video I am releasing today is actually only one of four “iMow Lawn Care” videos that I wrote screenplays for. However, after we filmed this one, some logistical issues left us unable to complete the series. For this reason, I decided not to release this one that we did finish because I was unsure if it would make sense by itself. However, a couple of months later, and a month too soon, Carolina faithful everywhere are beginning to reflect on Bryn’s career, and I want to make sure that they remember to reflect on his most important trait of all.
I have no doubt that he will be remembered as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play at this university. Yet, I hope that “iMow Lawn Care” will give you a short glimpse into the other side of Bryn, because his other side is what makes him unique.
Three years ago Bryn invited me to go to the pool with him on a Friday afternoon. I didn’t go. I think I was scared because I had never met anyone else like him.