is in his 19th season as head coach at Florida Atlantic University, where
he has compiled a record of 650-403-4. Overall, he has a record of 790-453-9 - a
.631 winning percentage - in 22 years. FAU has reached the NCAA regionals seven
times under Cooney, including each of the past four seasons. This is the third year
Cooney has offered his
thoughts on baseball - and other things - for CollegeBaseballInsider.com.
Dec. 28, 2005
The Holy Innocents
This time of year is typified by a reawakening of the religious side of us
all. Whether it’s Christmas or Hanukkah, people tend to pause and think back on
the miracles of the past, which affected so much of the present.
The Christmas story never ceases to make an impression on me. Everyone is
focused on the birth of one little baby who went on to have the most profound
influence on millions of people for thousands of years. Maybe that’s why we all
seem to become a bit more childlike as Christmas Eve approaches.
It truly is a time of innocence.
Prior to Christmas, I had an interesting day that got me thinking about the
innocence of children. I attended the kindergarten “Christmas Tea” at St. Jude’s
School. It’s interesting that my two kids attend a school named for the patron
saint of hopeless cases, but that’s another story.
Six-year-old Luke joined his well-scrubbed classmates in a performance of
Christmas carols and some interesting choreography. At the conclusion, his
teacher spoke to the parents about how hard the kids had worked since October to
get ready for the big performance. Mrs. Lucas is one of those special people who
spend their lives making each student’s experience a special one.
She reminded the parents (I was by far the oldest of the group) that we
needed to treasure this time in our kids’ lives. They would only be this
innocent and loving for a relatively short period of time.
Those words of Mrs. Lucas rang as true as all the Christmas bells of the
I had just arrived from a series of meetings at school with some players who
faced a suspension for violation of team rules.
Those situations are never pleasant but present an opportunity to try and get
through to some kids who are just missing the point a bit. If a player is merely
punished, there won’t be any growth. But if the incident can be used to
illustrate the need for a reassessment of the path being followed, then there
can be some positives gained.
So many times, kids feel they can talk their way out of anything. I know,
because I’ve been there - more times than I’d care to mention. The truth often
is stretched or else completely ignored. When a suspension is involved, there is
no way to prevent the parents from asking questions. These are usually questions
the kid would rather not have to answer.
So, in their minds, the best defense is to lie and plead innocence. Not all,
but some choose this course.
As I sat there listening to one not-guilty story, I felt for the young man,
but needed to impress upon him the importance of accepting the responsibility of
his actions and face the music.
Naturally the thought of music triggered the memory of a song that spoke to
the subject. You’re free to guess the song writer.
Everybody’s got a secret Sonny
Something that they just can’t face
Some folks spend their whole lives
trying to keep it
They carry it with them every step
that they take…
How many of us don’t carry some secret each day?
I tried to convince this young man that carrying this secret would be
something that would be part of him for a long time. Wouldn’t things be better
if he just told the truth, weathered the storm and became stronger for doing so?
He gave me no answer by meeting’s end, and I was off to the “Tea.”
As I sat and looked at all those innocent faces, depending so dearly on their
parents to mold them into the best young people for the rest of their lives, I
wondered how many of these kids would stumble and fall. Who would be the one who
runs away from home, gets pregnant, gets someone pregnant or goes to jail?
Someone in that group was bound to meet one of those fates.
Despite the best efforts of parents, kids will make wrong decisions. It’s our
job as parents to try our best to steer them the right way and understand they
often tend to veer off the course we set. That doesn’t mean they can’t get where
we want them to go. The GPS just needs to get fixed.
As I left the “Tea,” my phone rang.
“I’m sorry I lied to you. I’ll tell my parents.”
Maybe St. Jude had some influence after all.
wasn’t his child
One last song for you, this one written by Skip Ewing and on a Trisha
Yearwood Christmas CD I first heard last year. If there are any other adoptive
parents out there, I hope it hits you like it does me.
He was her man, she was his wife
And late one winter night
He knelt by her as she gave birth
But it wasn’t his child, it wasn’t
Yet still he took him as his own
And as he watched him grow
It brought him joy, he loved that boy
But it wasn’t his child, it wasn’t
But like a father he was strong and
And I believe he did all he could
His son was different from the rest
It wasn’t his child, it wasn’t child
And when the boy became a man
He took his father’s hand
And soon the world would all know why
It wasn’t his child, it wasn’t his
And like his father, he was strong
And I believe he did his best
It wasn’t easy for him but he did all
He grew up with his hands in wood,
And he died with his hands in wood
He was God’s child, He was God’s
Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all, and to all a good night.
When You're Alone (10/11/05)
Another Beginning, a New Beginning, Never Forgetting (9/12/05)
Deja vu all over again (9/1/05)
(photo courtesy of FAU Media Relations Office)