Thursday, August 09, 2007

An Impromptu Mini-Reunion of West Point Baseball Players

I was pleased to be the catalyst in pulling together an impromptu reunion of a couple of Black Knight baseball players last week. Here is how the scenario played out.

Mike Cooper, US Military Academy '02, was the first cadet I met when I found myself sitting in the midst of the West Point baseball team at Fenway Park in June of '01. Coop and I had a great conversation that day. He asked for my business card, and we have been in pretty constant communication ever since, including during his two deployments to Iraq. I was at his graduation from West Point and his wedding in Jacksonville a couple of years ago.
Mike recently completed his commitment to the Army, and Captain Cooper once again became Mr. Cooper. He just took a job in sales with a company that provides laboratory diagnostic services for veterinarians. His territory is the Orlando area, so Mike and Christie have recently settled in Orlando. A few weeks ago, he was going through some sales training in Portland, Maine - which is not that long a drive from Boston, so I made the trip up - or rather, Down Maine - and Mike and I had dinner together in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
During our visit, I made Mike aware of the fact that I was going to be in Tampa during the week of July 26-31- in part to be with my sister while she went through some orthopedic surgery - and in part to see the Red Sox play the Devil Rays. Mike decided that he and Christie would make the drive from Orlando to St. Petersburg for the Sunday game.
One of Mike's friends and USMA teammates is Josh Holden, '03. Josh is playing Single A ball for the Sarasota Reds. A quick check of their schedule told me that the Reds would be playing in Clearwater during my time in the Tampa Bay area, so I called Josh and told him to expect to see me at his game on Thursday night. He left tickets for me and my sister, and we had great seats near the front row next to the Sarasota dugout.
After the game, as I was visiting with Josh, I mentioned that Mike and Christie Cooper would be joining me on Sunday for the Sox-Devil Rays game. Josh's eyes lit up. "Our team has Sunday off. I think I'll make the drive up from Sarasota and join you!"
So, on Sunday, July 29, we all converged on Tropicana Field, and had a great time, despite the Red Sox loss to the Devil Rays that day. Mike's youngest brother, Tyler, a student at the University of Florida, also joined us. I had e-mailed Tyler to suggest that he go to Orlando to visit his brother and then join Mike and Christie for the trip to St. Petersburg.

FYI - for details on how the Army granted Josh Holden permission to play professional baseball, see this article:

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