The Norman Transcript

May 24, 2010

Sherri Coale offers graduating high school seniors life lessons at baccalaureate ceremony

By Nanette Light
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — As Norman seniors navigate the waters of post-high school, OU women’s basketball coach Sherri Coale listed 10 turns Sunday night to point them north.

“You will fail, but you will succeed, too. If you do anything of any significance, you will fail sometimes,” said Coale as her first right turn Sunday night at a baccalaureate service for students at Norman and Norman North high schools at McFarlin Memorial United Methodist Church.

“Life is very, very hard, even when it’s good,” she said.

And in a world where evil abounds, Coale said to look for the good, adding there are people who will give directions, beyond the physical left and right, to help lead students to their goals.

It’s all about the search she said, noting that the kind of people students search for is who they will find.

She said picking up the bread crumbs dropped — and sometimes hidden — along life’s course is the only way to make it to the preverbal bridge and move forward.

“Drink it all in. Live life fully ‘cause time just keeps on trucking at full steam,” Coale said of time’s quickening speed with each passing year.

Coale cautioned the students not to fear life’s pace or its unpredictability.

“That’s its greatest joy,” she said as she described an unbroken rainbow that streaked the sky after a June storm, a sight of grandeur she said her children still tell.

In one of her final turns, Coale advised students to steer toward their passions, rather than pulling over to society’s expectations, for a life of metaphorical riches.

“The difference between the good and the great is the soul of a thing,” she said. “Try to find what makes you come alive.”

And in a journey where wrong turns are unavoidable, Coale said she looks to her constant compass — God — to clear her uncharted path.

“You have access to him anytime you want,” she said. “He is a constant in a sea of constant change.”