At the conclusion of every game, win or lose, all players on the Ballard High School lacrosse team line up and file past goalie Cooper Fogle.
Some offer their thanks; others commend him on a job well done or simply pat him on the back.
It’s a ritual born out of respect.
No one on the field shoulders more responsibility for the outcome of a match than the goalie, and few in the state play the position better than Fogle.
In his first year as a starter, the junior captain has maintained an impressive 60.38 save percentage and led the Bruins (7-2) to a 6-0 record against in-state competition.
“He truly is one of the better goalies in the state, if not the best,” said second-year Ballard coach Brian Moore. “Everybody feels very confident with him in goal and they know that he’s going to make some great saves and keep us in games.”
After finishing as runners-up in the Kentucky Lacrosse Association’s second division last season, the Bruins were promoted to the eight-team Division I for 2012. They have a 3-0 record so far in league play, including wins over Lexington Catholic, Collegiate and Paul Dunbar.
Before departing to Florida for spring break, Fogle took some time to discuss his approach to life in the cage.
Chris Cahill: You played baseball and lacrosse through middle school. What made you want to devote your time exclusively to lacrosse in high school?
Cooper Fogle: My freshman year I had my mind set on baseball and worked out with the baseball team until a week before lacrosse started. I got to playing both and I just liked lacrosse. I like the non-stop action a lot more than waiting for the ball to be hit or pitched in baseball.
C.C.: How did you become a goalie?
C.F.: I started out as a midfielder, but in eighth grade at Kammerer, our goalie got injured and our coach, Mark Downer, said “Who wants to be goalie?”
I just raised my hand and said I’ll try it out. From then on I stayed in the net.
I just love the way a team reacts to a goalie. I feel like the adrenalin runs off how I’m playing that day so I make sure my energy is always up.
Honestly most of being a goalie is in your head. You always have to have a positive state of mind. If you get down after a goal gets in, you’re going to lose.
C.C.: Do you have any strategies for staying positive?
C.F.: This is going to make me sound really weird, but I have a fascination with the Buddha and what I do when I get scored on is come to my Zen.
If I get down, then the team will get down with me so I stay positive and forget about the goal and think about stopping the next one.
C.C.: Your parents, Rachel Platt and Gary Fogle, have been fixtures on local TV news for years. What has it been like growing up with them on TV?
C.F.: It’s weird seeing them on TV because you’re home with them all the time.
It’s like they’re two different people — one minute they’re at home and then five minutes later you see them on TV. Also, it’s hard to be sneaky when you’re with them because my mom has covered stories on everything and knows everything. It’s hard to sneak anything by her because she knows what’s up.
I also have a younger brother, Logan, who is a freshman on the lacrosse team.
C.C.: What do you do in your free time?
C.F.: I listen to music a lot and I like reading. I’m a huge fan of Barack Obama and lately I’ve been reading a couple of books about him.
I like this Northwest rapper. His name is Sol. He’s not really well known, but that’s kind of why I like him. He raps about everyday stuff if you’re a high school or college kid. I also like Maroon 5 a lot just because they’re upbeat.
C.C.: Do you have any colleges on your radar?
C.F.: I’m visiting Jacksonville University (Fla.) over the break and I like Virginia Military Institute a lot because I want to go into the Marines after college and they have a competitive lacrosse team.
C.C.: How did you get interested in the Marines?
C.F.: One of my grandpas was in the Air Force (Harry Platt) and the other one was in the Marines (Avon Fogle) during World War II. Grandpa (Fogle) would always tell me about how being in the Marines and in the military overall is a brotherhood and it’s not about you, it’s about doing something for the person next to you. That’s what I really love about the Marines and the military is not only protecting the country but fighting for your brother next to you.
That’s what I love about lacrosse, too. A team comes together as a family and you can really do great things.
C.C.: You are one of four captains on the team. What is your leadership style?
C.F.: I’m more of a quiet leader but when the adrenaline gets going and, you know, it’s a big game, I’ll snap out of my shell and get the team pumped with a couple of screams or a little speech or something like that (laughs).
C.C.: You’ve been interested in Buddhism since your freshman year. Did playing a high-pressure position have anything to do with your interest?
C.F.: Actually there is a connection because with me being a goalie, I always have to have a certain state of mind on and off the field. With Buddhism, it’s always about having a clear mind and keeping your mind calm. When I’m in the goal that’s what I have to do 24/7 so that’s why I’m so attracted to it and it really relates well to my position.
C.C.: Who do you look up to as a player?
C.F.: I guess my lacrosse idol would be Scott Rodgers. He played for Notre Dame two years ago and now he’s the goalie coach at Marquette. He was just an insane goalie. His leadership skills were ridiculous. Throughout the game he would just never stop talking to his defense. He was the Peyton Manning of lacrosse.
Marquee Matches for Fogle and the Bruins:
April 18, St. Xavier, 7:30 p.m. (home)
April 26 at Trinity, 7 p.m.
May 3 at Christian Academy, 7:30 p.m.
May 9, Kentucky Country Day, 6 p.m. (home)
Contact columnist Chris Cahill at firstname.lastname@example.org.