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29 years coaching experience/Worked Camps/Clinics on 5 Continents

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sirens in Bloomington, IN and a Big Thank You!

(Coach Cooper on the right with Victor Oladipo)
If you know me and/or you have followed my blog, you know that my wife and I were in the Henryville schools on March 2, 2012 when an EF-4 tornado hit our school.  It was a scary time in our lives, something that we will never truly get over, but we use to make our lives stronger.

Seth Cooper, an assistant for IU men's basketball program, is somebody I contact when I want to watch IU practice.  We have texted and spoken a few times throughout the years and I texted him to tell the team that they were providing a time away for people in our community during the NCAA tournament run that year.  He passed that info onto Coach Crean and that started a small relationship that exists even today.  IU football coach Kevin Wilson and the team also reached out and were unbelievably good to our community.  Coach Wilson and some of his staff are from Oklahoma, so they understand what going through this type of thing can do to a community.

Yesterday, we had tickets to the IU vs. Stony Brook men's basketball game.  We set out knowing that the weather could get bad that day, but we weren't going to let that keep us from going and enjoying the day.  We ate in Salem, IN, then headed to Bloomington a few hours early.  My wife and I may be over reacting, but we wanted to have contingency plans, no matter what happened.  We arrived at the mall in Bloomington, knowing that they have bathrooms that could provide safety, and did some shopping.  As we were leaving, we could see that rain was on the way, so we headed to Assembly Hall.

As we got to the front doors, we were waiting in line and I heard the sirens on campus going off.  I started receiving texts that the campus was under a tornado warning, so we headed off to the tunnels below Assembly Hall.  As we got down there, the security didn't know the sirens were going off, but allowed us to stay there.  We were eventually told that the situation was being monitored and they had a plan in case that AH would need to be evacuated. 

We just happened, really, it was an accident, to stop and stand outside the men's locker room.  So my son and daughter, who were starting to get scared saw Yogi Ferrell, Will Sheehey, and others, but it wasn't helping.  They were shaken, especially my daughter.  My children were safe in Sellersburg on March 2, but in the following weeks, they had seen the devastation and understood that mommy and daddy could have died.

As my daughter started to cry, assistant coach Seth Cooper saw us in the hallway.  Cooper, being the person that he is, approached to say hello and to speak with my children.  He saw that they were upset and I explained why.  Seth was kind and reassuring to my children that they were safe where they were and if something did happen, we would be fine.  He explained to my scared children how strong the tunnels of AH were built and we couldn't be safer there.  He was so kind that it actually helped them very much, and maybe reassured mommy and daddy it would be fine also.

Sports reporter Rick Bozich also walked by and saw us.  Bozich did an article on my friends and I during the March 2 time, so I had spoken to him a few times.  He recognized me and stopped to shake hands and could see that we, I mean, my kids, were shaken up.  He also was kind in speaking with my children and reassuring them they would be fine.


(Sports reporter Rick Bozich on the left)
So what's the big deal?  Two guys showed they were human?  The big deal, to me, is that two guys who were extremely busy doing their jobs took time out of their schedules to speak to me and my family.  Not just to speak to them, but to reassure them that we would be fine.  As a father, it was hugely impressive to me.  I mean, they took time to speak to my children when they could have said hello and moved on.  They took time to speak to my children when they could have just ignored us.  Instead what these two guys did was reassure two little kids that they were going to be ok and helped my wife and me in dealing with this stressful situation.

And for that, we say thank you.