Teeling Tough

Rylee Beardsworth, Sports Editor

Author Harper Lee said, “She did not stand alone, but what stood behind her, the most potent moral force in her life, was the love of her father.”

Roger Teeling’s love of his daughter, Brynn Teeling, was just this. Their child-parent relationship was unlike any other. Roger supported Brynn in any decision she made, including the latest one. 

Brynn is one of the two senior managers for the Xavier volleyball team this season. Brynn transferred to Xavier her sophomore year of high school and has been a player on the team until this year when she decided to transition into the role of a manager.

“I have played volleyball for so long that I have gotten to the point where I am burnt out on playing,” Brynn said. “Instead of completely quitting, I decided to be a manager to stay involved because I love the game.”

Brynn’s mom, Shannon Keller, commented on how seeing Brynn be part of something that is bigger than herself has been her favorite thing about Brynn’s volleyball experience.

The greatest role model Brynn has looked up to while fulfilling this position has been her dad, Roger Teeling. Tragically, in March of this year Roger Teeling passed away unexpectedly from complications with a brain tumor.

“Losing someone during a pandemic is even harder [than normal] because it is complicated to process,” Brynn said. “During a time when nothing feels normal, it was really easy for me to be in denial for a long time. It is finally starting to set in now that we are in school.”

 Although Roger is no longer here, Brynn knows he is always cheering her on.

“My dad was my ultimate cheerleader, so I use him as my inspiration. He was always there for me, so I try to do that for my teammates,” Brynn said. 

The inspiration Brynn has from her dad shows through her actions on the court. 

“One time I was having an extremely rough tournament and after every game Roger was there to give me a fist bump and tell me to keep working,” junior volleyball player, Bella Musick said. “I see that in Brynn. She is always there, good game or bad game, to help us pick our heads up and to keep working.”

Soraya Teeling, Brynn’s step mom who had been married to Roger for 12 years, explains how blessed the bond Brynn and Roger shared was. 

“Roger and Brynn shared a passion for sports. They were buddies,” Soraya said. “He never missed a game and it was effortless for him to be in her presence. I saw the most joyful version of him when she was near.” 

When Roger attended one of Brynn’s games, everyone knew.

“My dad always yelled, ‘Let’s go!’ He had such a booming voice it filled up the whole gym,” Brynn said.

Even when he was not vocalizing it, his pride for Brynn was glowing on his face.

“He was so proud of her. He was always on the edge of his seat and quietly smirked with every kill or serving streak she had,” Soraya said. “I think his favorite was when the tournament had no place to sit so he could nervously pace or lean against a wall. Her joys and successes were air to his lungs.”

Through this very difficult time, Brynn’s younger sister, Elena, Brynn, Soraya, and the rest of Roger’s family have been very grateful for the outpouring of love and support they have received. Soraya explains that shortly after Roger passed 30 to 40 cars drove by to drop a smile, card or flower for Brynn. They also received countless cards with Hy-Vee gift cards letting them know they were in their prayers. Baskets were dropped off and there were many texts checking in on them.

“The Xavier community loves without expecting accolades for their kind gestures. They just love,” Soraya said. 

In the face of this adversity, Brynn has not cowered away by any means. She has been the definition of strength and faith and has been an inspiration to many, not only in volleyball, but in how she lives her life. 

“Brynn has had a year that very few adults could handle, let alone young adults that are learning how to navigate challenges in life. There will always be hills and valleys when you lose a loved one,” Head Coach Austin Filer said.  “Brynn made the decision to be selfless and commit her time to our players and program. She comes in every day with a smile on her face and an attitude of being a servant.”

The Xavier volleyball team has taken inspiration from Roger and Brynn’s strong bond and are honoring him by having #TeelingTough on their warm up shirts this season. The other senior manager, Grace Zaugg, mentions how great of an impact Roger had on her life, just like he had on many of the other volleyball players.

“I was very fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to meet and spend time with Brynn’s dad,” Zaugg said. “I did not know him for very long, but he taught me so many life lessons. He was overall an outstanding guy.”

The memory of Roger Teeling will forever live on through his daughter and best friend Brynn and the amazing impacts she has had on the lives of those around her, especially the Xavier volleyball team.