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PERMIAN HIGH SCHOOL...COACH GAINES...BE PERFECT

WOW, WHAT AN EXPERIENCE I HAD YESTERDAY. TWO MONTHS AGO MY DAD GOT AN EMAIL, THAT WAS A DREAM COME TRUE FOR ME. MY DAD GOT AN EMAIL FROM FOOTBALL COACH GARY GAINES ON ODESSA, TEXAS PERMIAN HIGH SCHOOL. COACH GAINES HAD HEARD ABOUT MY STORY AND HOW MY FOUNDATIONS NAME BE PERFECT, CAME FROM THE MOVIE FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, WHICH IS BASED OFF PERMIAN HIGH SCHOOL. COACH INVITED ME TO COME OUT TO TEXAS, TO SEE THE HIGH SCHOOL I’VE DREAMED ABOUT, AS WELL AS SPEAK TO SOME OF THE STUDENTS. I WAS HONORED, AND MORE THAN EXCEPTED THE INVITATION TO GO OUT THERE ON APRIL 14.  I SHOWED UP YESTERDAY TO PERMIAN HIGH SCHOOL, IN ABSOLUTE AMAZEMENT AND WAS GREETED AT THE FRONT DOOR BY COACH GAINES. I GOT THE CHILLS PULLING UP TO THE SCHOOL AND SEEING THEIR MOTTO “MOJO” IN BIG LETTERS ON THE FRONT OF THE SCHOOL. I WHEELED IN THE FRONT DOORS, AND COACH GAINES POINTED OUT ALL THE GLASS CASES FILLED WITH STATE TITLES. PERFECT! SUDDENLY ALL MY DREAMS OF THE SCHOOL AND COACH THAT I LITERALLY THOUGHT WERE FICTIONAL, WERE COMING TRUE. HE ESCORTED ME, MY DAD AND MY BROTHER TO THEIR AMAZING AUDITORIUM, WHERE I WOULD BE SPEAKING. THE FIRST GROUP I SPOKE TO WAS A GROUP OF ABOUT 100 FRESHMAN AND SOPHOMORE FOOTBALL PLAYERS. I SPOKE TO THEM ON THE TOPICS OF PLAYING TIME, PLAYING YOUR ROLE, BEING A LEADER , ADVERSITY, DECISION MAKING, WILLINGNESS, PERCEPTION, MY FOUNDATION AND THE STORY OF BEING PERFECT. BASED OFF THE REACTIONS AND EXPRESSIONS I GOT FROM THE KIDS I LIKE TO THINK THEY WERE PRETTY TAKEN AND HOPEFULLY INSPIRED BY WHAT I HAD TO SAY. I THEN SPOKE TO A SECOND GROUP WHICH WAS THE LEADERSHIP CLASS AT THE SCHOOL, ON WAYS TO BE A GOOD LEADER AND HOW WE HAVE STARTED A SUCCESSFUL FOUNDATION. AFTER I SPOKE TO THESE CLASSES I HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO SPEND SOME QUALITY TIME WITH COACH GAINES. HE GAVE ME A LONG, AND DETAILED TOUR OF PERMIAN HIGH SCHOOL AND SHOWED ME WHAT THEY ARE ALL ABOUT. THE SCHOOL WAS INDOORS AND ABSOLUTELY HUGE FOR ONLY 2,200 STUDENTS.WE STOPPED BY THE GIFT SHOP THAT IS ALWAYS OPEN DURING SCHOOL HOURS. WE GOT OUTFITTED WITH A BUNCH OF MOJO GEAR AND I GOT TO MEET THE HEAD BASEBALL COACH, WHO PLAYED FOOTBALL UNDER COACH GAINES, DURING THE STATE AND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP YEAR IN 1989. AFTER THIS COACH GAINES TOOK US ON A TOUR OF THE REST OF THE CAMPUS AND ITS FACILITIES. FIRST WE SAW THEIR BEAUTIFUL STATE OF THE ART GYMNASTICS GYMNASIUM, WHICH LOOKED LIKE A FULL SIZE OLYMPIC TRAINING FACILITY. PERFECT! NEXT WE SAW THEIR VARSITY BASKETBALL GYM, YES I SAID VARSITY. THEY HAVE A SECOND GYM FOR THEIR JV AND FRESHMAN TEAMS. NEXT WAS ONE OF THE COOLEST PARTS OF ALL, WE WENT INTO THEIR LOCKER ROOMS AND THE COACHES OFFICES FOR THE FOOTBALL TEAM. I GOT THE CHILLS SITTING IN THE LOCKER ROOM WHERE THE MOVIE WAS FILMED. IT WAS SO COOL TO BE APART OF HISTORY. FUN FACT: WIDE RECEIVER ROY WILLIAMS WENT TO PERMIAN. AFTER THE LOCKER ROOM WE WENT INTO COACH GAINES OFFICE AND SPENT SOME QUALITY TIME TALKING FOR HALF HOUR. THEN AFTER THIS WE SAW THERE NICE TRAINING ROOM, THEN WE WALKED OVER TO THEIR FIELD HOUSE, WHICH WAS UNBELIEVABLE.  IT WAS AN INDOOR TURF FOOTBALL FIELD, TRAINING FACILITY WITH A HUGE WEIGHT ROOM ATTACHED. AFTER THIS INVITED US TO DRIVE OUT TO RATLIFF STADIUM, WHICH IS FOUR MILES OFF CAMPUS. I GOT A CHANCE TO RIDE OVER TO THE FIELD WITH COACH GAINES, WITH MY DAD AND BROTHER FOLLOWING US, AND GOT A CHANCE TO ASK HIM SOME ONE ON ONE QUESTIONS ABOUT LIFE! WE PULLED UP TO THE FIELD, AND I WAS JUST IN ABSOLUTE SHOCK THAT WHAT WHAT I HAD BEFORE SEEN IN THE MOVIE, WAS NOW RIGHT BEFORE MY EYES. IT WAS SO NEAT TO BE SITTING AT THE SAME SPOT WHERE THE MOVIE HAD BEEN FILMED, ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT WAS THE LAST SCENE OF THE MOVIE WITH MIKE WINCHELL, DON BILLINGSLY AND CHAVO SITTING IN THE PARKING LOT OF THE STADIUM. SO COOL. I WAS LIKE A LITTLE KID IN A CANDY STORE IN AWE. COACH GAINES HAD SOME NEAT STORIES TO TELL US ABOUT HOW HE STILL REMAINS CLOSE WITH MIKE WINCHELL AND DON BILLINGSLY. BEING DOWN ON THE FIELD WAS SO AWESOME, ALL I COULD THINK OF WAS HELL WEEK AND ALL THE GRUESOME HOT PRACTICES DURING SUMMER. WE DROVE BACK TO THE SCHOOL AND I SPOKE TO TWO MORE CLASSES, WHICH INCLUDED THE BASKETBALL, SOFTBALL, TRACK, BASEBALL AND FOOTBALL TEAMS. I FELT LIKE I REALLY CONNECTED WITH THE KIDS, AND THEY UNDERSTOOD MY POINTS ABOUT LIFE. THERE WERE A FEW NEWS CAMERAS THERE WHO INTERVIEWED AND FILMED ME, AS WELL AS A WRITER FOR A MAGAZINE, WHO PUBLISHED A GREAT ARTICLE ABOUT THE FOUNDATION AND MY STORY. HERE IS THE LINK:http://www.oaoa.com/news/slid-45865-high-behind.html. THE DAY ENDED WITH COACH GAINES AND I TAKING A PICTURE IN FRONT OF THE PERMIAN PANTHER AT THE FRONT OF THE SCHOOL. AFTER RECALLING MY WHOLE EXPERIENCE AND SEEING HOW THE MOVIE RELATED TO REAL LIFE IN ODESSA, AND PERMIAN HIGH SCHOOL, AND COACH GAINES, I HAVE SUCH A GREAT DEAL OF RESPECT FOR EVERYONE THERE. COACH GAINES IS AN AMAZING, COACH, HUSBAND, FATHER, FRIEND AND MAN. A MAN VERY LEVEL TEMPERED AND MELLOW, HIS WORDS IMMEDIATELY CAPTIVATE YOU AND SHOW HIM RESPECT. HE IS A MAN, WHEN HE SPEAKS, YOU LISTEN. IN THE SHORT TIME I SPENT WITH HIM, I LEARNED SOMETHING ABOUT LIFE. ITS HARD WORK, AND WHEN YOU GET HIT, YOU GOT TO KEEP GOING. WHAT AN EXPERIENCE…… I’VE COME TO REALIZE MY LIFE IS PERFECT, BASED OFF MY PERCEPTION. THINGS HAPPEN FOR A REASON, AND ME SITTING IN THAT AUDITORIUM AT PHS, PUT EVERYTHING INTO PERSPECTIVE AND MADE IT ALL WORTH IT. CAN YOU BE PERFECT?……