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.
May 3, 2006
Terry Alexander brought his second-place Jacksonville Dolphins to Boca this
weekend, and left town in sole possession of first place in the Atlantic Sun
Conference. JU’s sweep dropped us into ninth place and brought our record to a
JU dominated in all phases of the game, winning handily in the first and
third games, and hanging tough for an 8-7 victory in the second. The Dolphins
have had some injuries to their pitching staff that worry their coaches, but
their offense and defense are solid. We were outclassed.
Before the series, I felt that we needed to concentrate on three areas to
give us our best chance - pitching, defense and base running. Despite my best
hopes for solid play in those areas, we seemed to be at our worst in those
phases of the game. A look at the stats for the weekend says it all - 33 runs on
43 hits and 10 errors. When you factor in several instances of poor base
running, which hurt our chances, it was a perfect trifecta of failure.
Now we find ourselves with three conference series to play, and a game out of
the last spot in the tournament field. The good news is that two of our
remaining series are against Lipscomb and East Tennessee, two of the teams we
trail by one game. The bad news is that the schedule also includes three games
with Stetson, which has been red hot for the past month.
So our path is clearly marked.
We need to avoid a sweep at Stetson and win the other two series to have a
I’m just dumb enough to say, “So you’re say’in there’s a chance?”
Usually the men in blue who occupy my thoughts are the umpires who so often
seem to see things differently than I do. However, Thursday I was surrounded by
some other men in blue, as I watched my son Jim graduate from the Palm Beach
County Police Academy.
Today he was sworn in as an officer in the Boynton Beach Police Department.
On February 19, 1999 a young black man from Guinea, Amadou Diallo, was shot
41 times by four New York City police officers in the vestibule of his apartment
building. The police officers testified that they believed Diallo was reaching
for a gun. He was unarmed. The pocket he reached for held his wallet and ID.
The officers were acquitted of charges of murder.
The Diallo case received national attention and was the focus of a great deal
of protest in New York City, being called a clear instance of racial profiling.
President Clinton, influenced by the case, called for increased police officers
on the streets. The story was national news for awhile and then the media moved
on to other stories.
At an Atlanta concert in June of that same year, Bruce Springsteen and the E
Street Band played a new song called American Skin. The band’s next stop
was New York City for the completion of their tour. I was visiting New Jersey at
the time and heard the media coverage of a Springsteen song that was being
described as “anti-police.” Police were being urged to boycott the upcoming
concerts, and to refuse to work the venue.
The song contains only 89 words, repeated over and over. The line “41 shots”
is repeated 28 times.
One could see that it might be mistaken for an indictment of police.
However, if you pay attention to the lyrics, you see that the police are
portrayed as having made a horrible mistake. They pray for the life of their
I’ve always believed that part of the song is sung from the viewpoint of the
police - here is the first part of the song:
(repeated 7 times)
and we’ll take that ride
‘cross this bloody river
to the other side
41 shots…cut through the night
You’re kneeling over his body in the
Praying for his life
Is it a gun, is it a knife
Is it a wallet, this is your life
It ain’t no secret
It ain’t no secret
No secret my friend
You can get killed just for living
In your American skin
Every cop on the street is faced with the challenge of protecting their
community at risk to his own life. In a stress-filled situation, a citizen
reaches for his pocket…is it a gun, is it a knife, is it a wallet, this is
As I sat in the audience, surrounded by officers and their chiefs, men and
women who have made their career choice - one which presents such a deadly
challenge - I prayed for my son and his fellow graduates.
Their lives will never be the same.
They have chosen to be different from the rest of us. Jim and his classmates
will spend the rest of their working lives living in their “American Skin,” the
uniform of a law enforcement officer. My prayer is that none of them is ever
faced with the situation in this song. I pray that they see through the
“American Skin” of the people they encounter, and make good choices out on the
pray that he comes home every night.
Information regarding the Diallo case and the controversy over American
Skin was taken from Samuele F.S. Pardini’s “Bruce Springsteen’s ‘American
Skin.’” ARTVOICE, June 2000.
No Surrender (4/27/06)
And after all this Time We're Just Like all the Rest (4/19/06)
Trying to Rise Above (4/12/06)
Turnpike Tussle (4/6/06)
Crimson and Camels (4/4/06)
Everyone Wants to be the Man at the Top (3/28/06)
A Great Day for the Irish (3/22/06)
Renewing a Friendly Rivalry (3/17/06)
A Few Good Men (3/14/06)
Songs about Texas (3/7/06)
Regression, Depression, Confession (2/27/06)
Cardinals, Owls and Captain Albano (2/20/06)
The Salukis and No. 98 (2/13/06)
The Adkins Diet and a Sunday Split (2/7/06)
Here we go again (2/2/06)
Holy Innocents (12/28/05)
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)