All that being said, I wish the article, as well written as it is, could have included more of what Joey related. Space is limited and costly for the newspaper -but the gifts of these individuals are priceless. See, he is a part of a fraternity whose bond has been strengthened and demonstrated time and time again. It is a brotherhood of coaches- and as trite or neanderthal as that may seem to some of you, it is a reality for me that has yet to fail.
Members of the coaching family were in the waiting room of the Intensive Care Unit for hours. Ron Smith, who has replaced brake pads on our cars and repaired our garage door when we couldn't afford the repairman, prayed at the foot of Taylor's bed. His wife, Paula, there and praying, too. Coach and Sharon Lancaster, forever Taylor's Poppy and Mammoo just as they were Jessie's, held us and cried with us and fed us multiple times just like they did in Sallisaw. Coach Blankenship and Angie came to our house and to her service. Brad and Susan Farrow stood for hours just to be our strength. Coach and Tina Spavital just kept offering to do anything, something, the pain evident in their eyes and in their texts. Kirk Fridrick met our extended family, prayed with those waiting, and had ice chest after ice chest delivered with water and soda. Scott Morgan, Craig Simmons, Jason Stumbo came to see Joey. Matt and Luke Wells sent cards and texts from their busy lives. Coach Pat Jones and Coach Houston Nutt, Joeys' college coaches, called and Midwest City Bomber coaches Dick Evans and Dennis Huggins and their wives Mrs. Evans and Kathy Merkx, came to Taylor's service and waited to hug our necks. Coach Trimble stood in the gap for our girl as did Scottie Bethel and Kevin Jones. Our friend Garrett Davis joined us, also. From Bristow, coaches Scott Hall, Brett Jones, Mike Wayland, Brian Burden, Freddie Hall and Curtis Shelton came to support our family. Even though we don't know him personally, Coach Stoops wrote a heart-felt, hand-written letter about our girl, and Cale joined Mike at Taylor's funeral. Finally, the Union Athletic Department fed our entire extended family while Mike Rose, Emily Barkley, and Steve Dunlap texted each of us often. As certain as I am of these acts of kindness, I am certain I am forgetting others. I see pieces of memories and hear echoes of voices from the 36 hours we spent in the ICU and the days and nights that followed.
Of course, this doesn't even begin to touch how many texts Joey received from other coaches and former players. Our phones ran out of memory before our minds could think to screen capture.
If you recognize these names, I hope someday you get to know their hearts as we do because their hearts are far more impressive-one no more important than any other.
It's an amazing revelation to be surrounded by this much love; it's humbling and the strength on which we have stood for days.
Life-long friendships, a common love of ball, and competition connected us - dedication to young people - even in loss -unite us, and that's a good thing.