Cooney has spent 20 seasons as head coach at Florida Atlantic University. He has
compiled more than 700 victories with the Owls and more than 850 wins in his
24-year career as a head coach. Cooney has
spent the past five seasons offering his thoughts on baseball - and other
things - for CollegeBaseballInsider.com. Cooney's Owls finished their first
season in the Sun Belt Conference at 36-22 in 2007.
April 17, 2008
The Price You Pay
Now they'd come so far and they'd waited so
Just to end up caught in a dream where
everything goes wrong
Where the dark of night holds back the light
And you've gotta stand and fight for the price
Anyone involved in athletics learns early on that
there is a price they pay for the chance to compete. For the
college athlete it means forsaking the carefree lifestyle of the
average college student. The serious athlete spends hours in the
weight room, study hall, classroom, as well as the practice
field, for the chance to put their effort and dreams on the line
against those who do the same.
Coaches choose to continue the pursuit of perfect
competition in the only way left to them after their playing
days end. As young aspirants to the profession they work for
nothing - or less. Hours are spent in paying dues by trying to
make themselves and their players better. When families are part
of the equation, birthdays, First Communions, graduations,
little league and high school games of their children are
Everyone pays a price.
Last night was special. We had the largest crowd
in FAU history packed into our ballpark to see us battle the
nation's number one team. It was so crowded that Frank Brogan,
our president, and his brother stood behind me in the dugout all
Talk about pressure!
The night started great with a 10-3 lead and the
hope of another upset like last week's 6-3 win in Coral Gables.
But like the song says we "got caught in a dream where
everything goes wrong".
Before you knew it (actually after four hours)
our lead was down to one run - but there were two outs in the
ninth. I don't know what other coaches think about at times like
that, but my mind was flooded with the realization that we might
beat Miami in back-to-back games.
I'm closer to the end of my career than I am the
beginning. Many of these games take on an added flavor when
viewed in that context.
As our closer recorded his second strikeout in
the ninth, I thought it would happen. All the frustrating years
of walking over to Jim Morris or Ron Fraser and offering
congratulations on their victory might just be eased with one
Now some say forget the past, and don't look
But for every breath you take, well buddy you
leave a track
And though it don't seem fair, for every smile
A tear must fall somewhere
Yonder Alonso's two-run homer to right, and
Miami's joyous celebration, brought those lyrics to life for us
last night. As I watched the scene unfold from the dugout I felt
for the young kids in white who came up short and would have to
live with the mistakes made.
To me, "it don't seem fair"; the underdog needs
their turn. One team smiles, while for the other, tears
It's the price we all pay for the choice we made
in this life of sport.
The Price You Pay -
Bruce Springsteen - The River