By Kyle Musser -
The name is Kyle Musser, but I’m known as “little T-Muss” by all of my brother’s friends. For a long time that was a bad thing.
T-Muss was the nickname that Tyler was called ever since elementary school.
To all the older kids I lived in the shadow of my brother Tyler and it used to make me very mad.
All I wanted was a name. I just wanted to be considered cool by his older friends.
We would play sports in the backyard and as the tag-a-long brother, I was always the last pick and of course, like always, they didn’t use my real name.
Instead, they called me, “little T-Muss.”
It’s not that I was bad at the sports we played such as football, basketball and baseball. I felt I must have been just too uncool to the older kids.
As the little brother, I was sometimes picked on and I sometimes got discouraged – to the point where I would run home with grass stained pants and tears streaming down my face.
The infamous line I used to hear was, “If you can’t run with the big dogs then stay on the porch.”
I loved sports though so I continued to play with the big dogs whenever I could.
But no matter how well I did and no matter how hard I tried, I was always called “little T-Muss.”
I never despised my brother for it, although it still really upset me that they just wouldn’t call me by my real name.
Then in 2009 my perspective on people calling me “little T-Muss” changed for the rest of my life.
Tyler was a standout senior football player at Penn Manor that year. He played linebacker and wide receiver.
It was a chilly night, with the bright lights shining and the smell of the turf rising into the air. The Comets were the away team at Exeter High School.
My brother used to be the class clown and was always pulling pranks and joking around with the team. So when he didn’t get up after one of the plays, I thought he could be playing a practical joke.
He stayed face down on the field.
Something just didn’t feel right. This wasn’t one of his stupid little pranks that he had been pulling all his life, this was serious.
After the training staff brought him off the field they started checking him for a concussion.
All the time Tyler was begging to go back in the game because he had such love and passion for the game.
He wasn’t allowed to go back in the game and had to go to the doctor’s office the next week.
They found out he didn’t have a concussion.
The cause of him collapsing on the field was because he had a problem with his heart called Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome (WPW).
This occurs when you have extra electrical pathways in your heart.
The doctor who checked out his heart said that this was one of the worst cases he had ever seen and that Tyler should have never walked off the field that chilly Friday night.
I couldn’t have imagined losing my brother. He was the one person I could always rely on no matter what. No matter if we were fighting or if we were completely fine, I knew I always had him.
He had to get a surgery to eliminate the extra pathways.
While he was in the hospital, Penn Manor had another game. It was killing Tyler not to be out there.
This game had a different feel to it because I knew I wouldn’t be seeing my brother playing out there.
Instead everyone on the sidelines decided to wear the number 21 written on their taped up wrists, cleats, and even on one player’s cast.
I was asked to lead the team on the field while wearing his jersey, number 21.
I finally felt cool and accepted by his friends because it was their idea to let me do it.
In the locker room before we took the field his friend, Sean Noll, called back to me, “Hey little T-Muss get up here.”
I ran right up to the front with chills, sweaty hands and the image of my brother lying in the hospital bed running through my mind.
As I was standing there I realized that when he called me the nick name I wasn’t upset that he didn’t use my real name.
I finally realized that I was respected and that I was the brother of a very respected kid in the Penn Manor community. I realized no matter what name I was called as a kid I was just happy to be able to see my brother everyday. It didn’t matter that his friends didn’t respect me then and it didn’t matter that they didn’t call me my real name. It just mattered that I had Tyler.
The name is Kyle Musser, but if you call me “little T-Muss,” don’t worry, I won’t get mad.