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The Coker family at home in Houston. The kids stayed in Houston as the parents flew Down Under.
If you think that nobody actually ends up winning these sweepstakes - well the Coker's are proof to the contrary. Kevin and his wife Nisha won the Aussie Sweepstakes last year and will be blogging about their adventure Down Under.

Click here to register to win a trip to the '09 Australian Open

January 17, 2008
Tennis Channel at The Coker's

I can't place a finger on when the tennis transition occurred in our household. It might have happened overnight on the heels of the phone call from Neil from Tennis Channel, notifying us that we had won the Aussie Mania Sweepstakes. That could be considered by some to be a little superficial, so I propose other scenarios that have since influenced the sports flavors in the Coker house. It could have been our time in Sydney, relaxing with the views of Circle Quay and the Opera House outside of our hotel room, to unwinding after a tough day at the McWilliam's VIP winery tour with televised tennis tournaments on the TV day and night. What I consider the leading culprit and catalyst responsible for moving Tennis Channel up on my favorites list, was actually watching the live matches featuring Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Venus Williams at the Australian Open in Melbourne. That is a tough call, it could be all of the above, a perfect storm, so to speak.

With this revelation, a paradigm shift has taken place in the Coker household where the reigning sports platforms were all football and baseball. When I say reigning, I mean we have a dedicated sports television in the house that has forbidden access to Nick, Cartoon Channel and Food Network on every Saturday, Sunday and Monday Night. College, Pro and high school football for us! No exceptions unless there is a random Red Sox or Astros game being televised in October (more so the Sox in offense Houston). All that has changed now - names like Federer, Roddick, Williams, Henin and Nadal have found their way into our conversations. During our trip back from Melbourne, I found myself wondering who would be on the court today at the AO and how soon we could get home to tune in to Tennis Channel's latest updates and schedules for this holiday weekend. I have now realized that we are tennis converts although I can't guarantee that we will be picking up any racquets soon. I do know that there will be Tennis Channel on my favorites list and the sounds of heated volleys reverberating off the walls at Cottonwood Farmhouse. I could think of worse habits to take up and since my wife has the tennis bug too, at least I have a partner in crime.

It is the 17th and we have finished our international journey back home and are now in LAX waiting for our return flight to Houston. My only suggestion for the next sweepstakes is that it provides tickets for the entire tournament, including the championship. I am not sure how many people could actually leave their lives in the U.S. for that long, I don't think we could, but it would be nice to try at least.

After all is said and done, I have to say that we would do it all over again, without hesitation. We would like to take this time to give our heartfelt thanks to Neil, Tennis Channel and sponsors for making our trip such a wonderful experience. We were fortunate to meet Neil in Melbourne for lunch and at Melbourne Park for photos. He personally saw to it that all of our accommodations, travel plans and needs were met during our Tennis Channel trip to the Australian Open. Thanks again from The Coker's.

Good luck to all of you entering the 2009 Heating Up Down Under Sweepstakes, you are in for the time of your lives! Tell a friend or two or twenty!

-Thanks for reading

The Coker's 

Texans Loose in Melbourne l Who's #1? l The Wife Speaks l Time for Tennis l Dinner at the Rocks l McWilliams Winery Tour l Texas to Sydney


  1. zod (1/22/2008 2:45:06 PM) 

    The BCS was brutal this year, the Longhorns had a huge win in the Holiday bowl...hey, I think Roddick lives in Austin but I know he is a Corhusker from Braska but that is cool tho...I have always known people who said "nobody ever wins those damn contests, but you did it" congrats again. I talk about ya'll to all my tennis buds who do not have internet access. The Coker's are one rocking and rolling tennis family, I have three girls and it is a handful.

  2. simon the dude (1/22/2008 12:27:06 PM) 

    The Coker's enjoyed a wonderful experience, you are very blessed. Hopeful everyone is able to share their thoughts on such a wonderful article. Love Simon

  3. Kathy Head (1/22/2008 7:57:47 AM) 

    WOW! After reading just a few paragraphs and seeing the amazing photos I went to register for next's year trip; only to find out that you have to live in the USA, oh well, when we get back to the US from Czech Republic, I'll register then. What an experience and adventure you two enjoyed. Thanks for sharing. Kathy

  4. The Coker's (1/22/2008 6:05:07 AM) 

    Thanks zod...although having been in high cotton, it is a little scratchy around the boll and might not be such a good thing (big smiles). Agree 100% on the college football and hope to see a tournament schedule for the BCS soon. ..Although we aren't native Texans, we got here as soon as we could...or at least that is what I have read on a bumper sticker.

  5. The Coker''s (1/21/2008 2:04:40 PM) 

    Comrade Jascha,..A hat does not a Cowboy make. My cows appreciate a nice baaeball cap and sometimes request no hat at all when I am tending to the herd. Most times they really don't care what I wear and prefer to leave the fashions up to me. Should I ever receive a request to don the said Cowboy hat, then I would pull my Stetson down and wear it proudly for my fans. ....I will only watch soccer when they pry the remote out of my cold, dead fingers. ....?? ????????!

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