From the desk of Wally Dawkins, Athletic Director:

I love all kinds of music.

When I was younger I would listen to Jackson Brown, James Taylor or maybe the Eagles.  As I “grew up”, I enjoyed Bruce Springsteen, The Stones, & U2. Lately I have become a huge Sinatra fan while throwing back a little to Don Henley, Jimmy Buffet, and Phil Collins.  Although I grew up in Abilene, Texas, I have never been a really big Country Music fan.  But when you lived in the “Big Country”, names like Steve Earl, Gary Stewart, and George Strait were a big part of the West Texas culture so you were pretty much inundated with the sounds of steel guitars and nasal whang.  There are however, some songs by a popular singer named Kenny Chesney that resonate with me because of the lyrics, and they say that every country song tells a story.

A few years ago, Kenny Chesney put out a song entitled “A Lot of Things Different”.  The theme of this song is basically describing some of the things that Kenny would have done different if he had the chance.  One of the last lines says “I think we’d all do a lot of things different”.  And I agree with that!  Most of us, if we could, would do a lot of things different.  I am puzzled sometimes when I hear people say “I wouldn’t have changed a thing”.  When I hear that my first thought is “Wow…they have had it all together this whole time and have no regrets.”  But then I start to wonder “are you really that stubborn…cynical…arrogant…perfect”? (I’m thinking that is usually the case more times than not).

When the song A Lot of Things Different was popular a few years back, almost every time I heard it, I would begin to think of many things I would have done different.  Some of those things were minor and fairly insignificant.  Some of the others things I would do different however, could have made a bigger and more positive impact in my life.

Below I have listed a sampling of a few of the things I would have done different.  I will let you guess which ones are the most significant:

1. I would have said “thank you” more.  *Note: I heard a minister say a few years ago that you should “Thank God” five times, before you ever got out of bed in the morning.  I think that is good advice.

2. I wish I had worried more about how other people’s day was going instead of just caring about my day.

3. I would have taken more walks on the beach in October, instead of spending so much time lying on the beach in July.

4. I would have noticed and paid more attention to the kids at school “who didn’t matter”.

5. I would not have gone on as many hunting and fishing trips so I could have stayed home more often to tuck my kids in bed at night. (I always liked the way my kid’s heads smelled when I would lean down and kiss them goodnight as they were growing up.  I can still go hunting and fishing, but I don’t think their heads would smell the same way to me now that they are adults!).

6. I really wish I would have “played catch” more with my dad.

7. I would not have pushed the “send” button.

8. I wish I would have eaten one more piece of my grandmothers chocolate fudge pie.

9. I would not have told my 6’8 Postman Eric Raska at Whitehouse that “he was a weenie” for missing practice that day due to a tummy ache.  Little did I know that later that afternoon he would have his appendix taken out.  Now that resulted in a tough coach-parent conference.  (Eric by the way became a demolitions expert in the U.S. Army and served eight years including two tours of duty in Iraq.  Some weenie huh?).

10. Stretched.

This list could go on and on, and I am sure most of you would have no problem making up of your own list of the things that you would have done different.

Now I realize that most of my musical interests are “a little edgy”, and I’m not sure that liking songs by Mick Jagger or “The Boss” is the best choice.  However, most art…and artists, do push the envelope a little with their sculptures, lyrics, paintings, etc.  But just so you know, I do follow a personal rule now that before noon each day, I only listen to Contemporary Christian music, and on Sunday Mornings it’s “Songs of Praise on KVNE.  But as I mentioned earlier, and since country music does tell a story, another song by Kenny Chesney I like is titled “Don’t Blink’.  You have probably heard it.  The song begins with a man who is a 102 years old talking about his life, and how fast those years have gone by.  In the second verse Chesney says the old man looks right at him and says “better start putting first things first”.

As we look back on our lives and our relationships, most of us would change a few things if we could.  I remember hearing a preacher talk about the number of times he had gone to a hospital room, and sat beside a person who was terminally ill, and in their last days on earth.  The preacher said that in all those times that he had visited dying patients in hospital rooms, he never had someone say that “I wish I had spent more time at work, or done better on my investments, or eaten more foods with less carbs”.  It was always about wishing they had spent more time with their children, their spouse…family.

At Brook Hill, we talk a lot about how we are just like a family.  We also talk about priorities, with our student athletes, and as a coaching staff. It is my hope that over the years, as we grow, and get older as a school, that we will focus on what is good for the family, because putting family first is something we will never regret.

Just another reason to be “ALL ORANGE…All The Time”.