Kevin Cooney 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




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 season.


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.


It 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 his child


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 his child


But like a father he was strong and good

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 child


And like his father, he was strong and good

And I believe he did his best

It wasn’t easy for him but he did all he could

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 child


Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all, and to all a good night.




Previous Entries

WILLLLMAAAAAA!!!!! (10/31/05)

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)