By Josh Beavers
Lakeside’s Roo Johnson is stepping down as the school’s softball coach at the end of this school year.
Johnson, in her second year as the leader of the Lady Warriors, said a recent sermon at her church pushed her to make a decision she had been wrestling with for some time.
She believes God has led her to “step out in faith and let go of my riches and start building His Kingdom in my home.”
“I don’t want to look back and realize that what I missed in my family’s life wasn’t worth it,” the former all-American told me Thursday afternoon. “God spoke to me that day in church and asked me to let softball go. It’s hard to grab onto the purpose God has for your life if you’re already holding on to something else.”
She spoke passionately about what led her to this decision.
“The sermon was on where we are putting our anchors in life,” she said. “We were questioned on what we were firmly attached to. I started thinking about it, and my anchor has always been softball. I have always clung to that comfort and a familiar place for safety. But as the sermon went on, we learned that not all anchors are designed the same. Some can only hold so much. Not all anchors can withstand the storms.”
Softball has been a part of Johnson’s life for as long as she can remember. She said chasing the next big season or the next championship comes with 15 seconds of awesomeness but so many moments are lost with her two boys and husband. These are moments she cannot get back.
“It has been one of the most important things in my life for a long time,” she said. “I don’t even really know who I am outside of this game. It is such a huge part of my identity.”
She continued: “My heart needed softball for many years in my life to help get me to where I am today. Softball was the stability I needed in many of my trials and storms. But I have built my kingdom around softball, and that anchor is no longer equipped to hold me from drifting.”
As for Lakeside, she spoke glowingly of its administrators, facilities, support from the community, and awesome kids. She said the team has a strong core of players the next coach will inherit as well as state-of-the-art facilities.
“I have touched many kids and families’ lives and they have touched me, but now it’s time for me to focus on what God is calling me to do,” she said. “I will boldly and faithfully step out of my comfort and safety of softball and into the presence of the Lord. Even if it doesn’t make sense. And the only way for us to find if we are anchored in the right place is to step out in faith and follow Christ with EVERYTHING we have. Perhaps God is calling me to a bigger purpose, to find who Roo is outside of this game and step into who I am in Christ alone. He is my true anchor in the storms.”
Johnson, a two-time All-American during her playing days at Otero Junior College and UT-Tyler, came to Lakeside following a decade-long stint as a coach on the college, high school, and travel ball levels.
After a couple of yearlong stints as an assistant coach at UT-Tyler (2009-10) and Otero Junior College (2010-11), Johnson spent time at Cushing High School (2012-14), Airline High School (2014-2015), Evangel Christian Academy (2017-2018) and Glenbrook School (2018-20). She then coached for Louisiana Tech.
She was an All-American (NFCA, Easton in 2009), a two-time NFCA all-West Region honoree, a two-time all-American Southwest Conference selection, and the 2009 American Southwest Conference Player of the Year. She was also named academic all-conference.
Johnson helped lead both Otero and UT-Tyler to World Series berths in 2005, 2007 and 2009 before playing for the Swiss National Team in the summer of 2010. She helped lead the team to the Swiss National Championship and a runner-up finish in the European Cup.
The next Lakeside coach will inherit a talented roster as well as walk into some of the best facilities in the state. An artificial turf field is being installed as is a new batting area.