There is often so much competition in today's sports world that we forget that there can be and often IS a greater purpose in athletic competition. Chris Kenny is our Associate Athletic Director here at Saint Michael's College and a very, very good man. Chris is so easy to work with and he is always thinking about others. He sent this email message out yesterday morning and since he seldom asks for anything for himself, when Chris asks for a favor, we ALL respond. I did go over to the Sports Center and did sign the T-shirt as Chris asked. Those of you who follow my blog know that I end each one with a simple request - PLEASE keep all of the members of our military - active and veterans AND their families in your thoughts and prayers - this is why......................
Chris' message to our community:
"Hi everyone -
The next time you are over here in Tarrant, would you please take a moment to stop by the main Athletics office to sign a shirt for John Coker?
Coker is a former student-athlete at Louisiana - Lafayette, and was seriously injured recently in combat in Afghanistan.
We recently received a heartfelt note from Kristi Stake, Director of Athletic Compliance and Academic Support at UMASS-Lowell. It was a call for support for this young man, who is battling for his life. It reads, in part, "I know that we don't often email unless it's about a compliance issue, but I wanted to ask each of you for a personal favor. I recently learned that one of my former student-athletes, John Coker, (from when I worked in Louisiana) was shot while serving in Afghanistan. He is seriously injured and on a long road to both physical and mental recovery. (His legs were both badly shot, he may never walk again, and he witnessed three of his fellow soldiers die right in front of him.) As a student-athlete, he was one of the "good ones" that makes our jobs as administrators enjoyable, always popping in to say hello, always smiling, always volunteering to help in any way that he could. I know we're supposed to be impartial, but truth be told, he was one of my favorites :) I know he's not a NE-10 alumnus, but I know how much college athletics meant to this young man. I have spoken to our baseball team here at Lowell about signing a baseball cap in order to show John support while recovering. I know it would mean the world to him to know that other student-athletes out there, even ones he didn't know, were supporting him in a tough time like this. I plan to send him a care package with other personal items from me, but then I started thinking how much more impactful it would be to flood him with signed baseball caps from other schools to show him just how much the baseball community supports each other. I know it's cliche, but sometimes the best family we can have is our athletic family.."
Coker played center field for the Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette, and joined the National Guard after graduation. Like many "citizen soldiers" in the Guard, he was deployed to Afghanistan early this year.
Our baseball team is signing a cap for him, but we thought some "U-Knighted" support from our entire varsity program might really give him a good feeling. The shirt will be displayed on the desk as soon as you enter the office suite on the second floor of Tarrant. Just grab a Sharpie and sign your name. The shirt and the SMC ballcap will be sent to him as part of a NE-10 Care Package that Kristi is putting together at Lowell.
Thank you !!!!!
This IS the right thing to do - period........
Take care, be well, and please keep all of the members of our military, our veterans and their families in your thoughts and prayers and especially John Coker