Cooney has spent 19 seasons as head coach at Florida Atlantic University. He's
spent the past four 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.
Thanksgiving has come and gone; like an old friend heading home, Christmas is on
its way. These are supposed to be the happiest times of the year. For most of us
it generally works out that way. We hop in the car and head for dinner and some
football at Grandma's house, and then a few weeks later, the presents are
wrapped and under the tree as we all gather with our families to celebrate.
painted some beautiful scenes depicting the joy and love shared by families on
those special days, with generations gathered around the table waiting for the
turkey to be sliced.
It is a nice image.
But for so many of
us, those times coincide with something much different.
My wife lost her
mother at Christmas when she was four. That most wondrous of holidays has always
been a little muted for her. As with any hurt, the passing of time makes things
somewhat easier for people, but those holiday bells will always ring differently
for anyone who lost a loved one at a holiday.
My brother and I
each have what society calls "blended families".
to someone as a cousin, grandson, uncle, or whatever takes some explaining, but
the relationship is still true in their hearts. Pat's "step-grandson" lost his
life in a car accident Thanksgiving weekend. Spenser fell asleep driving to see
I remember the
tall, skinny 19-year-old this summer at my nephew Mike's wedding. Spenser had
just completed his basic training with the Air Force National Guard and was
looking forward to his deployment to Afghanistan in the spring. He looked great
in his dress blues, all grown up. Now his mother Pam will forever see
Back home in Boca,
one of the good men from the Boca Raton Youth Baseball League was struck by a
car while bicycling and is gone. Chuck was a friend to many and a great father
to his twin boys Dalton and Mitchell. Two nine-year-olds will have to face each
Thanksgiving with the memory of the loss of their father.
At the funeral
service, adults tried to help two kids grasp the concept that the father they
loved was with God, and someday, after a long, happy life, they'll join him. In
the meantime, they and their mom Suzi will try to live the same normal, everyday
lives that their friends and neighbors get to experience.
But their holidays
are now forever changed.
Chuck and his boys
loved baseball. It was the same special bond that so many of us had with our
dads and then with our sons. But now Suzi prays for many things, one of which is
that the boys will still have baseball in their lives.
The BRYBL and FAU
Baseball have offered to do their part.
I hope you can
This "diary" was
started back in 2002 to give an inside look at a season in the Florida Atlantic
baseball program nearly six months before "blogs" burst on the scene. It was
never meant to go beyond that season which became so special. But somewhere
along the way I developed a subconscious need to keep writing.
As years passed and
the diary continued, some days, like life, the process of writing was easier
than others. The ups and downs of teams, players, and coaches sometimes made it
difficult to produce anything that reflected my feelings, or that would remotely
Thanks to the folks
at CollegeBaseballInsider.com, the size of the audience changed drastically.
Now, instead of the FAU family and my relatives being the only readers, I know
there are people out there who must be really hard up for something to read,
because so many of you are kind enough to comment to me on what I've written.
Whether it's an empathetic laugh at something that also happened to you or your
team, a music reference that takes you back, or our shared love of the NCAA and
its treatment of college baseball, I now realize that there actually are people
So this is for all
of you in that community.
I'm asking you,
please try and find a way to help two young boys cope with the loss of their
father. Use our fortunate place in the baseball world for the good of twin boys
whose dad instilled in them the love of the game we all share. Grab any hat,
t-shirt, sweat shirt, media guide, bobble-head, or anything else you can think
of that represents your team and drop it to me in the mail. I will be sure
everything gets to Suzi and the boys. Don't worry about sizes; if the article is
too big it will still be there when they grow into it.
What you'll be
doing is providing two little boys with a reminder of their dad and the game
they all loved, and each Thanksgiving as their loss hits home, they'll have a
room full of baseball memories of how special their dad was.
whatever you feel appropriate to:
1243 NW 14th St
Boca Raton, FL
Thanks in advance
to all of you.