The Turnaround: Lubbock Cooper Week

The Turnaround

by Jason Strunk
Lubbock High School Head Coach
Follow @WestTXCoach

The bye week has come and gone. It was perfect timing.  We got our first win and rolled into a bye week. We couldn’t have scripted that any better.

If you ask coaches around the country, you will get a mixed bag on what they think of the bye week.  For me, depending on when the bye week is, I enjoy them.  We played five non-district games, finishing 1-4, and had a week-off before we start our five district game schedule.  This was perfect for us.

I never understood what the point was of having a bye week the last week of the season or Week 8, for that matter.  Find a way to schedule them all for weeks 4, 5 or 6.  Problem solved.

Anyway, we are getting ready for the Lubbock Cooper Pirates (4-0) this week. They are coached by my good friend, Max Kattwinkel.  The Pirates are tough.  They are physical.  They are a good team.  They play the game the right way.  They play with class.  They just do things right.  That is a direct result of Kat and his coaching staff.  It’s always a fun week getting ready to play these guys.

This is going to be a good game.  We have had two weeks to prep.  We need to continue to play with effort and attitude.  The “we control we” mantra that we use, is going to be huge this week.  We just need to be us. Tune-out the noise.  Just play some Westerner football.  The 2016 version of Westerner football, that is.

Five district games left, and they determine the fate of the Westerners.  It’s time to throw the kitchen sink at everyone.  We will.  We always do.  Football is fun when you get creative.

The countdown to Friday is on.

Change Of Pace

For only the second time in 21 years, I ventured away during football season.  I took full advantage of the bye week and hustled the family off to San Antonio for the weekend.

It was awesome!

Spending quality time with the family, including Pops, was the best decision I could have made.  I stole time with the family.  That is an important win to add to your victory list.

I purposely avoided football.  Why?  Because I get sick of it.  It’s the same routine every week. The same routine on weekends, every fall.  Do that 21 straight years and you begin to forget what life is like.  And now, with social media such as Twitter, you can never escape it.  Well, I almost escaped it completely.

I avoided about 99% of football and football talk this past weekend.  I saw the Tennessee receiver showboat and get woffed before the end zone.  I also saw the second half of the Clemson game.  Finally, I saw the second half of the Steelers game when we got home.  That’s all I saw, and it was beautiful!  Not the football I saw; being away from it all was beautiful.

I scrolled through Twitter.  Saw the usual people diagramming plays and breaking down what they are seeing on television.  Just shook my head.  For one weekend, I’m glad I enjoyed life away from the game. It’s really not all that bad being away from it.

So, I won this weekend again.  Two weeks in a row.  Spent quality time with the family. It was great. You cannot ever replace that family time. Yes, not even with football.

Mental Health Tip

Hey…here is one for you. Use your bye week to get away.  Turn the football off.  Try it once.  You may realize there is more to life than a game.  Maybe it will refresh your perspective. The game doesn’t define us. Do not ever let it happen.

So basically I’m telling you to FIO.


-Jose Fernandez was one of the best.  Could have been one of the best ever.  Life is so fragile. It can also be very short.  Live life to the fullest while you have the chance to do so.

-The Giants WR, whatever his name is, needs to grow up.  He acts like a childish punk on the field. He isn’t someone I want my players to emulate.  Now, if he just played the game with some dignity and class, he would be the ideal role model.  Too bad that isn’t the case. I’m pulling for him to FIO, however.

-Yankees missed the postseason.  So what?  They had a successful year while unloading people at the deadline.  They will be back next year.

-Saying it again.  The Cubs will win the World Series.  Who they will beat?  I’m going with the Red Sox.

-NFL prediction. Seahawks will play the Steelers in the Super Bowl. The Steelers will win, naturally.

Neal Tull uses mustard and ketchup on chocolate cake. Very odd combination.

Tyler Trout requested off for the Cubs postseason game on Thursday night.  I said no, but will allow him to wear a Cubs jersey on the sidelines on Friday night, if he gets Steve Bartman to our game.

-Steve Ribera hitchhiked to San Antonio.  Only in Texas is hitchhiking still a thing.

That’s it.  Need to go watch some Seinfeld.  Need to keep up with Kattwinkle over there in Cooper.


About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.