Real Men Wear Pink - Butch Cooper
By Tina Marie Caouette
Over the years, I’ve met a number of extraordinarily lively characters, heck I’ve even created some in my writings. Recently, at the Luci Bonneau Mixed Doubles Tournament, one such individual stood out from all the rest. This individual, for one day a year, sets aside his own personal embarrassment and endures plenty of ridicule to do something so genuine that it couldn’t go unaddressed. A bowler that was unmistakably detectable even throughout the hundreds that crowded the bowling center. It wasn’t for his talent on the lanes that weekend so much as, for his courageously outward flaunting of the color pink. Yes boys and girls, real men can wear pink, and wear it well he did. That bowler was none other the Butch Cooper.
So who is the flamboyant force that goes by the name, Butch Cooper? Well, who better to talk about Butch than; Butch. “I’ve been bowling around the South and usually Louisiana. I live now in the Houston area.” He continued sharing a glimpse at his bowling experience. “I’ve been in and out of the bowling business for twenty-five years. I was on staff with Ebonite for a very long time. Now I’m doing work for Donna Conners and her shop, Carol “Stormin” Norman’s Pro Shop – U Can Bowl 2.”
As a writer, I enjoy getting an interviewee to divulge something they’ve never openly shared with fans. So what is one thing so secret that the NSA couldn’t uncover on Butch that I did? Well, when asked to reveal something no one might know about him, including the over two thousand followers on his Facebook page, this is what Butch had to say. “Well, if I had a fan. I don’t know if I have fans.” Well Mr. Cooper I can’t speak for others, but you have at least one fan, me! “I’m the biggest LSU fan in the bowling business besides maybe Darrell Doucette Jr. of course.” Yes, that was a shameless plug for LSU. Yet from his head to toe LSU gear, he proudly exhibited while doing the interview, I think that was evident.
As obvious from the photo attached to this piece, Butch wasn’t difficult to miss during Saturday’s qualifying or Pro-Am. His unique attire was the talk of the weekend and well worth the discussion. Yet, it wasn’t merely his colorful outerwear, but his absolutely fantastic charisma on and off the lane with fellow bowlers and fans that caught my eye. I sat down Sunday with Butch as he graciously took time for a quick interview to discuss Saturday’s colorful fashion statement.
This was my first appearances at the Luci Bonneau Mixed Doubles Tournament and I hadn’t the pleasure of seeing Butch’s prior outfits. He started this trend four years ago as a way to generate donations for the event and has progressively found a way to out due himself every year. “Probably over the past four years I have raised over five thousand dollars,” Butch humbly professed. “Out of the generosity of my friends and everyone on Facebook,” he continued, “All the money, every penny that I’ve collected, one hundred percent of it, goes straight to Donna Conners and this great event.”
I wanted to know, as this was his fourth year raising funds, what sparked this creative gesture, and how it escalated. “The first year started off with a pink shirt. Then went to the pink pants and now to the outfit I wore yesterday with the pink knickers.” I can count on one hand the number of men who could’ve pulled off this outfit as it takes a self-assured personality. A man comfortable with his sexuality and Butch pulled it off as if it born to wear pink. He continued, “So from there it blossomed into something really big. And it seems to be catching on as others seem to be trying to get better pants then me.”
Yes, the weekend was overflowing with pink conceptual shirts, pants, and skirts. It was also packed with others pushing the vibrant boundaries of fashion faux pas. Saturday’s panoramic view of Palace’s forty-two lane center, at times, was to the uninformed eye an episode of ‘What Not to Wear’. I half expect to see Stacy along with Clinton dashing out on to the lanes and fashion slapping someone upside the head. However, as you dug deeper into the meaning behind the vibrant fashion it became apparent this was a premeditated attempt to top one Butch Cooper, which in my opinion no one did. When asked about the other models/bowlers that walked on the verge of the outrageous that weekend Butch had but this to say. “As long as you raise money for it I’m all for it!”
I attempted to sneak a peek or get a clue to what was on the horizon for next year. However, Butch hadn’t thought that far ahead and was just enjoying the rest of the weekend. At least, the best one can after having not bowled well enough to make the top 12 finals. When pushed he would only say, “It’s only been twelve hours since I finished bowling and I wish I would’ve bowled a lot better then I looked. Cause I looked good! I know I looked good, but I wished I had bowled a lot better that’s for sure.” So Butch, when will the world know how you are going to top this for next year? “Probably in the next month or two I’ll start looking for another outfit. It’s going to be hard to top this one.” I have to agree, yet I am convinced that if anyone can surpass their performance, Butch Cooper would be the man to do it!
The day wouldn’t have been complete without soliciting Butch for a free bowling tip. I know I’m shamelessly frugal. I wanted something that all those looking to bowl the Luci Bonneau Mixed Doubles Tournament next year, as well as those bowling sport shots, could use. “Stay focused,” he said. “Learn to play patterns straighter. Try to keep the ball, including your break point, in front of you. Where as a house pattern you can play around it as opposed to these tougher patterns.” I concur with Butch, that on tougher patterns the more you keep things in front the less chance for giving away the pocket. And as always spares, spares, spares, something this weekend I failed miserably to do.
The interview wouldn’t have been comprehensive if I didn’t ask at least one question that fit my unique style of writing. Butch, the character on and off the lane that he is was, kindly enough responded. The question, what else! Would you allow extraterrestrials to steal your DNA to create the ultimate bowler? His answer, precisely what I would have expected from such a personality. “No, because that might be the demise of all bowling.” I pressed on and asked why? “If they took any of my DNA for bowling they wouldn’t get very far for sure.” Well Mr. Cooper let me just speak on behalf of all those extraterrestrials that bowl. You might not let us take your DNA, but we would be honored to clone a sample of your heart and passion. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for this tournament. You are a first class act and that is a title I rarely bestow on people I’ve met for the first time.
Normally I would wrap up with a creative quote about how Real Men Wear Pink, but this time I will give that credit to Butch Cooper. “I friend pretty much everybody so you’re more than welcome to send me a request,” he explained. “If you want to help the cause, help the Luci Bonneau Foundation, or anything to do with breast cancer research contact me.” He continued, “And it’s not just breast cancer, but cancer in general, their trying to find a cure for. Anything we can do for that. If you have any questions or ideas shoot them to me, we’ll do something that’s for sure!” If you would like to follow, Butch Cooper and his quest to top this year’s outfit follow him on Facebook here
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