St. Mary students gathered in the school gym to hear an important message from a very special visitor recently. Ex-NFL player Zoltan Mesko joined the school’s pep rally to help inspire them to be resilient in the face of challenges and keep moving forward after set backs. Zoltan was born in Romania and spoke of times his family hid during war in his country and often dodged bullets by getting on the floor of their apartment. Seeking a safer environment, his family relocated a few times before coming to the United States. After landing in Twinsburg, Ohio, Junior High brought a pivotal moment in his life when during a kickball game; he knocked out a light in the gym. The gym teacher promptly asked him to sign up for the football team as their kicker or pay for the light. Although Zoltan became one of the most decorated kickers in high school and highly recruited by several colleges, he spoke of a time he missed a field goal that cost his high school team the game. He said, “I gave myself one day to feel bad about it, and then I told myself I need to move on”.
After high school, Zoltan went on to play for Michigan. There he found himself in an unlikely position fighting for the starter job after being ranked so high coming out of high school. Again, Mesko called on his perseverance and pushed through to become one of the best punters in Michigan history. Meskó ranks ninth all-time in career punts and seventh in punting yardage in Big Ten Conference history. At the close of his collegiate career, Meskó was rated the number one punter prospect for the 2010 NFL draft by Scouts.com.
Meskó was drafted by the New England Patriots in the fifth round (150th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. He played there until 2013 and then moved on to the Pittsburgh Steelers and finally the Cincinnati Bengals. During his NFL career, Zoltan suffered a concussion. From this he said he learned what it is like to over come physical injury that is not visible to others, and has now begun work to develop a new type of helmet technology that will help reduce the number of concussions experienced by players.
Students eagerly asked Zoltan questions about who his favorite players were and if he knew Tom Brady. Zoltan said that Brady is “one of the most hard working players he knows. He would often be studying film right after the games on the team flights”. Zoltan brought a great energy to the pep rally and even stayed around to show off his dunking and punting skills. The students wrapped up the rally with a school relay race and cheers for the fall and winter CYO teams.
Pictured In Photos: From Left to Right, Zoltan Mesko pictured with Mrs. Julie Fedak, Augie Rosace, and Mrs. Jenny Rodriguez during the school pep rally.