I was in New England last week.  My daughter was attending a Congress of Future Medical Leaders at UMASS Lowell.  I was turning it into a vacation, complete with visits with friends and family in my native Connecticut.

But my thoughts were back home with baseball coach Tony Robichaux and his family once I found out he'd had a heart attack.

I have a good relationship with the coaches I cover.  And, the longer I know them, the closer we become.

After 25 years with Tony Robichaux, I know him better than any coach I've ever covered.

He's more than my baseball coach.  He is my friend.

Now, don't get me wrong.  We don't hang out in the off season.  We don't get together to barbecue and drink beer.

But you know how I know he's my friend?  Every time I've needed him, he's been there.  And, I've tried to be there for him as well.  There have been many times Tony has confided in me, both personally and professionally.  I'm guessing there are things he's told me that only his family knows...if he told them.  And, I know when he's confided in me because he's always started with "you're one of my close friends."  And, that meant what he was about to tell me was confidential.

Everyone in this community, whether they are fans of the Cajuns or not, know Tony Robichaux and what he stands for.  He is a Christian.  He is fiercely devoted to his wife, his children, his grandchildren and all of his family.  He is a teacher.  He is a role model of the highest degree.  He is a baseball coach.

And, I think I got that pretty much in the right order.

As Tony lies in New Orleans in critical condition after his heart attack last week, I feel pretty helpless in a way.

But in a bigger way, I feel empowered.

I feel empowered because I, along with everyone who knows and loves Tony Robichaux, have the ability to call on the greatest power of all.

The power of prayer.

I can turn to the Great Physician to ask for healing.  I can pray for comfort for Colleen, Ashley, Justin, Austin, Tony's dad Mr. Ray, Tony's grandchildren, his brothers and everyone else in his family.

I can be reminded that God never makes mistakes and his timing is always perfect.  I can draw strength from that knowledge.

This evening at 6:30, friends and family will gather at Russo Park to pray for Tony and his family.  It is sure to be an evening filled with emotions and filled with hope.

If you are so inclined, we'd love to see you there.

If you can't be there, I hope you'll stop what you are doing at 6:30 and have your own private prayer time.