The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Community Service 2011

April 16, 2011

Do anything to give kids a chance

Lawrence helped his players grow on, off the fieldBy Lee Coleman Staff Writer Some 30 years ago, a dream was born in the heart of Calvert, Texas, native Sonny Lawrence and that dream was simple: Give young kids a chance to play football. And that he did. From that dream rose Enid Cowboys, a team of 20-plus fifth- and sixth-grade football players at Monroe Elementary School, that has staked its piece of the claim in Enid Joint Recreation Triad. When Law-rence started the Monroe program, the premise was all about the youth, he said. “It was all about loving kids and having fun,” Law-rence said. “We dealt with a lot of kids who couldn’t afford to be in sports, so I took it upon myself to help these kids. “It costs money for kids to play sports these days. Kids don’t have money to do that. We decided if kids wanted to play, they would play. “We would pay for a lot of things out of pocket because if the kids needed it we got it for them.” Lawrence coached the Cowboys hands-on until the 2006 season, when he retired and turned the reins over to James Saunders. Saunders has maintained the primary three rules Lawrence plugged in years ago. First, the kids must do their homework; second, they obey their parents; and, third, no fighting is allowed between teammates. If any of these rules are broken, Saunders said, the offending kid may have played his last down for the Cowboys. “If they don’t behave, they can’t play for us.” Saunders said. Lawrence agreed. “We have always stressed these rules very strictly,” he said. “We make sure if a kid wants to play for us, they have to straighten up if there is a problem. Lawrence has seen his share of big moments but, according to him, none have been bigger than in city hall about 10 years ago. “I was called to attend an Enid city council meeting, and they presented me with a trophy as the Little League Coach of the Year,” he recalled. “I showed that trophy to everybody. It was a very special moment to be honored by the city of Enid for working with kids.” Lawrence is married to his wife of 36 years, Gladys, and they have four grown children, Valgene, Don, Edith and Vaniece. “Gladys has always been very supportive of me,” Law-rence said. “She knew it was something I loved to do.” Throughout the course of 30 years and hundreds of kids, Lawrence said he has many memories, but one instance always has stuck in his mind. “We had a real good team one year, so I called a friend of mine in Oklahoma City and set up a game to go play his team that was supposed to be pretty good, too,” he said, laughing. “Oh my, we got down there and saw that team and knew we were in trouble. We only scored six points, and they beat us bad. “But that taught me something right there. “I don’t care how good you are, there is always somebody better. We try to teach our kids to do the best they can for what we have. That’s what we wanted for them,” he said. “If I could do anything to help a kid out, that is what I would want to do.”

Some 30 years ago, a dream was born in the heart of Calvert, Texas, native Sonny Lawrence and that dream was simple: Give young kids a chance to play football.

And that he did.

From that dream rose Enid Cowboys, a team of 20-plus fifth- and sixth-grade football players at Monroe Elementary School, that has staked its piece of the claim in Enid Joint Recreation Triad.

When Lawrence started the Monroe program, the premise was all about the youth, he said.

“It was all about loving kids and having fun,” Lawrence said. “We dealt with a lot of kids who couldn’t afford to be in sports, so I took it upon myself to help these kids.

“It costs money for kids to play sports these days. Kids don’t have money to do that. We decided if kids wanted to play, they would play.

“We would pay for a lot of things out of pocket because if the kids needed it we got it for them.”

Lawrence coached the Cowboys hands-on until the 2006 season, when he retired and turned the reins over to James Saunders.

Saunders has maintained the primary three rules Lawrence plugged in years ago. First, the kids must do their homework; second, they obey their parents; and, third, no fighting is allowed between teammates.

If any of these rules are broken, Saunders said, the offending kid may have played his last down for the Cowboys.

“If they don’t behave, they can’t play for us.” Saunders said. Lawrence agreed.

“We have always stressed these rules very strictly,” he said. “We make sure if a kid wants to play for us, they have to straighten up if there is a problem.

Lawrence has seen his share of big moments but, according to him, none have been bigger than in city hall about 10 years ago.

“I was called to attend an Enid city council meeting, and they presented me with a trophy as the Little League Coach of the Year,” he recalled. “I showed that trophy to everybody. It was a very special moment to be honored by the city of Enid for working with kids.”

Lawrence is married to his wife of 36 years, Gladys, and they have four grown children, Valgene, Don, Edith and Vaniece.

“Gladys has always been very supportive of me,” Lawrence said. “She knew it was something I loved to do.”

Throughout the course of 30 years and hundreds of kids, Lawrence said he has many memories, but one instance always has stuck in his mind.

“We had a real good team one year, so I called a friend of mine in Oklahoma City and set up a game to go play his team that was supposed to be pretty good, too,” he said, laughing. “Oh my, we got down there and saw that team and knew we were in trouble. We only scored six points, and they beat us bad.

“But that taught me something right there.

“I don’t care how good you are, there is always somebody better. We try to teach our kids to do the best they can for what we have. That’s what we wanted for them,” he said. “If I could do anything to help a kid out, that is what I would want to do.”

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Community Service 2011
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