TUTTLE — The phrase “bucket list” has become so referenced, it almost seems a little trite. Making a list of things to do before you die has become a way of expressing wishes and dreams of the future, maybe even the distant future.
When Tuttle boys basketball coach Paul Meuser used the phrase Friday night, it came with some weight, the almost tangible heft of goals a man has his mind set on accomplishing.
Meuser spent three days in the hospital last week, undergoing a battery of tests. He had a blood transfusion to boost his struggling immune system. He had a bone marrow biopsy and is awaiting the results that could tell him he has cancer.
He was released from the hospital Thursday evening and cleared to coach his team Friday. And he hopes to coach them again on March 13 — the first day of the Class 4A state tournament.
“I told the kids before the game (Friday), ‘I've been on my death bed this week, but I had one thing I needed to do, and that was to come coach you guys,'” Meuser said. “The Tuttle boys have never been to state. Not once. So that's on my bucket list. I'd just like to see these kids have that opportunity.”
Meuser's son, daughter and their spouses were in the bleachers directly behind his seat on the bench for Friday night's district playoff victory over Bethany. His daughter, Melanie — the wife of NFL quarterback Brandon Weeden — is pregnant with the couple's first child, due in July.
“It was such a blessing to have my kids here at the game,” Meuser said. “My first grandchild is on the way. I've just got so many blessings.”
And he counts a pretty darn good basketball team among them.
Meuser's state tournament pursuit isn't a personal one. He's been to state as a coach before. In fact, he won it all four times at Preston, lost in the finals with Norman, and took Moore to the dance once as well.