The scrapbook was given to me upon graduating from high school. My sister had compiled newspaper clippings from my three year varsity basketball career. Sixty-some stories of games made up the keepsake, but the one that stood out was the coverage of my team's final victory in our senior year.
Attica beat Danbury Lakeside, 78-68, in the Super Sectionals played at Heidelberg. The story was written by the Sports Editor from the Bucyrus Telegraph Forum. The man wrote some awful nice things about me and my teammates as well as sending compliments to our worthy opponents.
In describing my contributions to the victory, he used phrases such as "fantastic ball handling" and "putting on a display long to be remembered" that had me thinking that I was the second coming of Bob Cousy. I apologize to the younger readers, but trust me, Cousy was a great player. I didn't know the man who wrote those kind words, but I decided then and there that I liked him!
The writer was Dick Edmond, and my first instinct was correct. Once you got to know the man, you surely were going to like him.
Edmond came to The Advertiser-Tribune in the mid-1970s and became a fixture as sports editor. As I started coaching at New Riegel in the same time frame, I had the opportunity to deal with the man on a regular basis. He was always smiling and frequently laughing. He made you feel good just to be around him.
In 1980 I became the girls basketball coach at NR and as most coaches do, went to Columbus to attend the state basketball tournament. Along with Mohawk coach Brett Willoughby, I spent a lot of time between games with Dick Edmond. The three of us went out to dinner and the two coaches were regaled by stories from the sports editor.
He had us laughing all night long. One story in particular - it had to do with a friend and a goose - was so funny that Brett and I spent the whole weekend using lines from it. In fact, to this day, when Brett and I meet, we greet each other with "you silly goose," which is a testament to our vivid memory of Dick Edmond.
Dick passed away at the tender age of 59 from complications due to diabetes. His three sons, Tim, Ted and Todd have organized a golf scramble dedicated to his memory. I had the chance to sit down with Todd this week to get more details on the outing. We also had a chance to share some memories of the man whose sports stories graced the pages of this paper for so many years.
Todd told me about some of the stars of the sporting world that his dad had the chance to interview. The names sound like a litany of who's-who in sports including Joe Montana, Archie Griffin, Howard Cosell, Arnold Palmer, Larry Holmes, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus. It was an interview with the latter that was one of the thrills of Dick's life.
He was at Muirfield Village to chat with the golf legend and was waiting patiently. It would not be his first interview with Nicklaus, but it would turn out to be his most memorable. When Nicklaus spotted the sports writer, he asked Dick if he had his golf clubs with him. He did indeed and Jack Nicklaus invited him to play a few holes with him as they chatted. Certainly sounds like a dream come true to me.
Dick Edmond was a true Ohio State fan as evidenced by the fact that he was buried in a scarlet and gray casket with a big block O on it. The two oldest boys also were Buckeye fans, but youngest son Todd was a bit ornery. He decided to be different and started rooting for that team up north. Dick didn't understand, but did not try to dissuade him from his preferred team. It did create a situation once, according to Todd.
His dad was scheduled to interview an Ohio State person and Todd was just old enough to tag along. As they approached the place where they were to meet, Dick turned to his young son and wagged a finger in his face. "You will not embarrass me," he intoned. Todd said he would not mention anything about the Wolverines. That was a good thing, as Woody Hayes would not have taken kindly to it I'm sure.
Todd recalls his father suggesting that the sports stars he interviewed were just people like everyone else. Getting a chance to meet and talk with them though was certainly one of the great perks of his job.
His greatest joy however, was the chance to watch high school athletes compete and then report on the game. When Todd expressed an interest in following in his father's footsteps he had some advice for him. This will tell you what kind of person Dick Edmond was.
He told Todd when covering a high school sporting event the object is to report on the game. Personal feelings and bias should be left out. He also suggested that you should spread the wealth. No one athlete in a team sport can do things without the support of his teammates. All should get some publicity. He also noted that high school athletes are not professionals. They are playing sports for the love of the game. One can see why people enjoyed the stories that Dick Edmond wrote.
Another story that Todd told me was Dick's insistence that his own children not have their photographs in the paper. All three of the Edmond children played sports, but not one photo made the A-T - until Todd's senior year, that is. Unbeknownst to Dick Edmond, an A-T staffer put a small picture of Todd on the front page of the newspaper advertising the fall sports tab. It was the last son and his last year of school and it was time. Dick was shocked when he saw it and immediately let everyone know it was not his decision. My guess is that he had a tough time hiding his pride though.
The golf outing will consist of a four-person scramble and will take place at Seneca Hills Golf Course. The date is September 22 and it will involve a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. The entry fee is $200 per team and the day will include 18 holes, cart, 50-50 drawing, skins, mulligans, prizes and food. Sports memorabilia will be available as well. Money raised from the outing will be donated to the American Diabetes Association.
Todd pointed out that he would like to see this become an annual event with different charities being the beneficiary each year: "Dad was always trying to find ways to give back to the community. This is our opportunity to do the same."
Now you have the chance to play some golf, honor a fine man and contribute money for a good cause. You can get more information about the outing by visiting the website dickedmondmemorial(dot)com.
As for me, I feel like I have come full circle. Dick Edmond wrote some very nice things about me over 40 years ago. Today I get to return the favor to a great guy. It's a good feeling.
Al Stevenson is the golf columnist for The Advertiser-Tribune.
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