Monday, January 31, 2011

2010 Cooper Football Banquet

Tonight we had the pleasure of spending the evening celebrating the Cooper Cougars 2010 football season. It was three hours well spent, as a crowd of 500+ applauded and affirmed the efforts and accomplishments of this special group of young men. Theirs was a memorable season full of special achievements and broken records. Especially for those who had invested themselves fully over the past years. The players, parents and fans enjoyed the banquet immensely! The enthusiam and sincerity of team set the tone. The 30 minute highlight video, by Cindy Gravitt, was the highlight!

A special thanks to all the parents that plotted, planned, prepared, set up, decorated and took down. We too, made a good team! :) I've never seen so much red, white and blue in one place! Everything looked beautiful. You are a inspiring group of parents. I applaud your interest and your involvement in the lives of your children. Nothing means more, than parents that care.

Love the flying jersey's! When the players arrived, the first thing they do is find their number! The second, is find their matted 8 x 10 photo (a gift from the booster club) hanging on the far wall. They make me smile! The football experience has made them men, but there is still a glimmer of boy in them.

The new cougar head looks great! A perfect 'walk through' when introducing the players and their dates.

The ticket table .......

Coaches table! The players get a kick out of this (here's my coach)! I love pictures!

The Hobby Lobby gift wrap (1/2 price Christmas) was a great way to jazz up tables, walls and thank you gifts....all color coordinated!
Again, it was a wonderful banquet! Hearts were full. Faces were happy! I was touched.
note to self: Next year..... wear waterproof mascara!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Coach's Wife Shares Wisdom

By Hannah Boen
Abilene Reporter News

In 1977, Roxanne Spradlin's life looked much like a fairy tale.She had just graduated from the University of Houston, married her childhood-sweetheart-turned-collegiate-football-star and was embarking on what she called "the adventure of newlywed life."

That adventure grew into more of a hardship as she added three kids in six years, an overworked and underpaid husband, and a struggle to overcome a rocky past.

"I was raising three children while my own heart was recovering from my dad leaving when I was 13," she said. "There were many years where I was supportive on the outside, struggling on the inside."

Her story of motherhood is similar to many women today. Looking back, though, she can see a purposeful strategy that was used to raise three kids that she said she genuinely adores and strike a successful balance in her marriage.

"I have just been smitten and crazy about him since I laid eyes on him," Roxanne said of her husband, Mike Spradlin, Cooper High School's head football coach. "We met in the eighth grade at the ripe old age of 13, and we never dated anyone else. Ours is a true love story."

She never had an interest in sports, but her husband knew as a middle school student he would grow up to be a coach, she said, and it was his passion for football that influenced almost every step of her life since that eighth grade encounter, beginning with their wedding.The pair knew long before they graduated high school and attended the University of Houston together that they would get married. However, Mike insisted the wedding not come before Jan. 1, 1977. It was the day his team was scheduled to compete in the Cotton Bowl in the University of Houston's inaugural year in the Southwest Conference.

"Things before had been all about football," she said, "but even then I'm not sure I realized how much it really would affect me and my family."

The pair were married seven days after Houston's first Cotton Bowl win and soon moved to Freeport for Mike to begin his first coaching job. That move was the first of 17, Roxanne said, in 34 years of marriage. However, moving was the least of her worries as she began to have children.

Everything that was difficult about having a hardworking husband got more difficult with children, she said.

"When our children were little I was just drowning," she said. "It was just hard, managing life. It seemed unfair. Having this unavailable husband plus not having a lot of money. But I just can't complain. All I can tell you is it has been a hard road to get where I am now- a place of peace."

Just as football had dictated her wedding, she said, it had begun to shape her marriage and her role as a mother.

"Mike is very goal oriented with work, but also with life. It's crucial to believe it's more about your journey toward the goal than just reaching the goal," she said. "That's just one of the things, many things that I've learned while listening to him coach."

Just as God wired her husband to be a coach, she said, she was wired to be married to a coach. For her, it's meant being less selfish and more resourceful.

"Anyone in that situation," she said of people overwhelmed in their role as a parent, "has to learn to make a lot out of a little. You've got to quickly tend to the business of making your own fun."

She gauges her success as a parent on the people her kids turned out to be.

"I just adore them," she said with tears in her eyes. "They're good people, the kind of people I would want to be friends with."

Mike agreed that their approach to maintaining the kind of balance that creates a happy home life has had a lot to do with football.

"I always say, 'life's not all about football but football's all about life.'" he said. "It's been interesting in that we've kind of all been brought together through me coaching. Football is, I think, just great life lessons."

He said he has recognized the struggles of families with busy fathers, especially coaches, but felt fortunate to have a job that brought his family together despite having a busy work schedule. Although Roxanne attributes the balance her family has found to Mike's work ethic and life lessons, Mike said it is the other way around.

"I could not have married someone more respectful of what I do or how I do it," he said. "She is wonderful and unwavering in supporting what I do. She is a true dream."

Ultimately, Roxanne said, the way to get the most out of parenthood is to dedicate yourself entirely to your children.

"I think it's human nature to be selfish," she said, "to think first about what's most convenient or good for you. We've spent our lives pouring into our kids all our time, energy, money, everything. Now they're grown up and to see them pour themselves into others is the greatest joy."

note: Hannah Boen, a beautiful young journalist, writes for the Abilene Reporter News. Recently we spent the afternoon chatting and today she honored me with this article. She also sent me an email inviting to read a blog post she written....what can I say? I'm glowing and blushing simultaneously! Thanks Hannah, for making me feel so special.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A new year.

The C00per Coaches Wives - 2010 Football Banquet
Wow! The dust has finally settled around here. It's calm and quiet.

The coaching life is an interesting one indeed. It is full of contrasts and color. Depth and dimension. Certainly the makings of good art and a good story. Twists and turns. One minute you're in an endless sprint. Then suddenly... it's over.

We eat, breathe, and barely sleep, September through November. Just in time to catch our breath and bust into the Playoffs with a frenzy. We go and go and go and go, hoping to go all the way. A State Championship or bust! Believing our team can do it... Knowing they can! Hoping that everyone will be strong and stay the course! We will and we wish but most of all you pray because ultimately, so many things are out of our control. We keep the faith. Trusting, leaning not on our own understanding but acknowledging in all our ways. Winning round 1, leads to winning round 2 which leads to Round 3! Playing in Cowboy Stadium was mind blowing! It's all so exciting! Like a big snowball, momentum is building, one game at a time. You peek ahead to see it's all downhill. Yeah, baby! We're on a roll! Go! Go! Go!
Then bam!!! It's gone. Without warning, we're done!

The silence is painful. The 'what ifs' deafening. The realization that something you have poured your all into, is over. People who have worked endless hours, scatter. Coaches, team mates, family, friends and fans all go their separate ways. It's time to breathe. Take time to reflect. Process, then ponder the past, present and future. Count your blessings! Every season is full of victories and accomplishments. Acknowledge them and celebrate! Yes, there is so much to celebrate!

On January 31st, the Cooper Cougar community will gather to support, encourage and recognize the young men that made up the 2010 football team. They were a special lot, their goals were big. Their accomplishments were great! I look forward to being( one of a 500 plus crowd) at this annual event. To commend and applaud the amazing efforts of this group of young men. They were fully invested all year long and now they'll receive the first of many rewards to come. Others will come in the future, when life challenges cause them to draw from their experiences. I'm convinced that the lesson's learned all year will provide them with a reservoir of strength, commitment and determination. God bless you guys...we won't forget you. In the future, may each and every one of you look to God for all your needs. May you, like us, let Him be the coach of the rest of your life. You will find that He is the secret, to being a true champion!