Get better, not bitter.
Passed down through three generations of his family in one form or another, Tyler Sash heard those words from his father, Mike, every morning growing up.
Those words took him through high school. Those words made him a hometown hero when he started at the University of Iowa. Those words brought him to the NFL, where he won the Super Bowl as a rookie.
"As long as I can remember, my dad (a P.E. teacher who runs five miles every morning at the age of 60) would wake me up in the morning, he wouldn't say 'Tyler, it's time to get up,'" Sash recalled in a phone interview, calling from his home in Oskaloosa. "He'd say, 'It's get better day, not get bitter day.' That's how he set the tone for the day whether it was me going in before school running or lifting for football or whatever it was. It just put that mindset in me right away that you have two choices each day."
Now those words are doing a lot of charity in central Iowa.
While training in San Diego for the NFL combine last year, Sash, a sixth round draft pick at safety, took to Twitter and began using the abbreviated form as a hashtag for motivation -- #GBNB
It quickly caught on and people started asking for t-shirts with the imprint. From there, it grew as Sash and the Giants began their Super Bowl run.
"I never even thought how big this could get," Sash said. "In the last year alone, we've raised over 100,000 dollars just selling t-shirts for charity."
The money goes back to Oskaloosa, where, along with his pastor and lifelong mentor Bryan Latchaw, Sash is starting his own foundation.
"All of the money goes back to kids," he said. "If a kid can't afford to go to a football camp, we're going to pay – or band camp, it's not just sports."
In a state without a professional team, the University of Iowa reigns supreme in Sash's town of 10,000 people. So you could only imagine the reception a Hawkeye gets when he returns.
Now add a ring to that.
"Iowa football was it for me -- that was the biggest team in the world," he said. "The support that I have back home is crazy all the way from elementary-aged kids to senior citizens. Every time I go home, I try to give back to the community."
In a few short weeks, Sash will return to his second home in East Rutherford for workouts while his sophomore season is right around the corner.
Sash turned heads in 2011, primarily for his motor on special teams. With his help, the unit produced some of the most dramatic moments for the Giants late in the season and into the playoffs, which led coach Tom Coughlin to these comments during an interview at this year's combine at the end of February:
"Sash, for example, the job he did on special teams was incredible," Coughlin said. "Can you imagine bringing in a rookie and he is the fullback on a punt team. The number one play in an entire season is your punt team. You do that more than you do anything else, any play on offense or defense. This guy was the personal protector that called the protections. That is a lot of responsibility for a young guy and he did it very well."
Sash, who never played much special teams prior to the NFL because he was always a starter at every level, now has his eye on more snaps on defense.
"First and foremost, I'm going to do whatever is asked of me. That's the type of person I am, that's the type of player I am. Whatever is asked of me, I'm going to do that to the best of my abilities. If that translates into getting more snaps or starting on defense, that's what I want to do. Obviously I think everybody's goal going into the season is to be the starter at whatever position they play or get in packages. Whatever it is, whatever I can do to help my team win games and get back to where we were just at is obviously the goal."