theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

February 8, 2013

'Everything happens for a reason'

Hannah Cochran
The Ada News

Latta —  

"Everything happens for a reason"

I've told myself this quote many times, often many times a day, but for some reason this year in general I have leaned on it reminding myself.

As we near the tipoff for the fourth (Latta) alumni game, so many thoughts have and are crossing my mind. To think that four years ago, three high school kids had a vision to help a coach in need, and where we have come since then. 

I was telling a friend about how much we have raised in these past years and it's crazy, but it is well over 35 thousand dollars. It's hard to believe it really has happened and been such a great event.

Four years ago when we started, we had nothing but support and ideas and people giving us the green light to go. I tear up as it all replays back in my head, sitting in my kitchen on the phone with Wacey (Henderson), creating this "idea" we had. The impact you feel that night of the game is one that is indescribable. To look up and see the stands filling up, the amount of players, the funds that are donated — its definitely a God thing. When we finished the first alumni game, I remember people saying "this can't die" and thinking "I hope not." It still is going, and hopefully stronger than ever.

Looking at Lauren Watkins, our year two beneficiary, her smile warms me every day. To see a girl at such a young age be the fighter she is reminds me to keep my head up and keep going, no matter how rough life can get. That little girl will never know the impact she has on me by just her running up and giving me one of her big hugs.

    In 2012, (year three) it was a bit different because we were training new committee members. Keeli Kessinger will never realize how much of an impact she has had on me with helping. That girl and her organization are sorely missed this year. 

With newcomer Jake Collins, we were fighting and clawing our way through that night, not knowing what to expect. Jake said it best: "It really hits home when you see the generosity of others being poured out to help someone they might not even know."  

It is so true, the population that fills the gym and the funds that are collected are unreal. And to see the appreciation in the eyes of those affected makes everything worthwhile.