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The fortitude of the Del Oro football team is perfectly exemplified by its star two-way player, and his long-suffering father

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Del Oro senior tight end Tyler Meteer fights for the extra yard in the Golden Eagles’ CIF regional bowl win over Serra-San Mateo on Dec. 13. Photos by James Leash Support Your Local Business • Say You Found Them In SportStars™

By david kiefer | Contributor

he ball left Michael Moore’s hand with the look of indecision, but in truth the pass that floated through the chilly night air was brilliantly precise. Two players stood in the end zone waiting for the ball to come down. Those who didn’t know Tyler Meteer assumed the ball was poorly thrown. Those who knew the Del Oro-Loomis tight end were confident he would find a way to catch it – and they were right. Leaping and stretching with all his might, Meteer outfought an all-league safety to gather in the pass on a play that Serra-San Mateo coach Patrick Walsh would deem as the turning point to Del Oro’s 28-20 victory in the California Interscholastic Federation Division I Northern Regional championship game. The 22-yard play capped a 99-yard drive. Not only did it give Del Oro the lead, but shifted the mental edge permanently to the Golden Eagles. “He threw it in the perfect spot,” Meteer said. Only 20 feet from the catch, Steve Meteer had a front-row seat from the back of the end zone at San Jose City College. Some may have been surprised that Tyler came up with that ball, but not Steve. He’s always seen that kind of resourcefulness and fight in his son. Of course, Tyler got it from dad. For most of Tyler’s life, Steve has been in a wheelchair. Diabetes, nerve damage, and cancer have taken a toll. Steve began chemotherapy during Tyler’s sophomore year, and has been hospitalized seven times in the past 18 months. The diabetes is the biggest immediate worry. There are no warning signs before Steve falls into insulin shock. He says Tyler has twice saved his life, by stabilizing him before he could fall into a coma. The constant pain has been so great that Steve described it as “from Level 7 to Level 10” for the past 10 years. “After five years, I’d given up mentally,” Steve said. “Morally, I knew that suicide was not a way out, but I was hoping God would take me. I didn’t want to deal with it anymore.” There was pain and there was anguish. Steve felt guilty that his oldest son, Andrew, a receiver and defensive back at Del Oro, bypassed college and a potential collegiate playing career to stay and help care for him. He also wrestled with the idea that his poor health did not allow him to be the father he wanted to be for his children, Andrew, Tyler, Alicia, and Madison, or even the husband he wished to be for his wife, Mary Ellen. “It’s been hard,” Steve said. “I can’t do most of the things that I used to relate to being a man. I can’t drive, I can’t work. I think of the lost opportunities with my boys in being a father. It’s hard to rely on other people. It’s been hard and humbling.” But what Steve’s odyssey also has done is allow each of his children to grow a sense of responsibility at a young age. They have learned to appreciate the things they can do

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December 19, 2013

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SJ Issue 78, Dec. 19, 2013  

Sac-Joaquin Issue 78, December 19, 2013