Why do 151 kids like Ed Lockwood?

October 26, 2015

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— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD
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If you don’t know Ed Lockwood, that’s him in the gray silhouette, above.

This is him, below.  Calm, thoughtful.  Unflappable.  A man at peace with himself and the world.  Should you ever find yourself stranded on a desert island, Ed’s the guy you want to be stranded with.  Besides having a wonderful temperament, he can build stuff, including houses.

“I’m no savior,” he quietly tells me, “I want to help.”  The man exhales modesty.
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Ed coaches kids’ soccer and hockey.  No, not at one of the Malone schools — Ed’s not a schoolteacher, although he is, in fact, on the Malone school board.  He’s a local businessman.  (He’s a manager for Adirondack Energy.  Before this, he was Operations Manager at Suburban Propane.  Before that, a supervisor at GM in Massena, where his dad had worked for many years.)

Ed coaches kids at the Malone Rec Park.  For free.  As a parent.  (He and his wife, Jenn, have two kids.  Owen, 11, and Laney, 9.  Jenn’s a vet tech at the High Peaks Animal Hospital on Bangor.  She grew up in Chateaugay.  I told him we could forgive her for that.  Ed & I chuckled.  I hope Jenn’s not reading this.  Ed & Jenn are passionate about sports and the great outdoors.  Camping.  Fishing,  Hiking.  Boating.  Skiing.  That stuff.  Owen plays soccer, hockey, and football.  Laney is a figure skater.)

I used the word “passionate,” above.  The thing you need to know about Ed is that his name is synonymous with the Malone Recreation Park.    He’s passionate about the kids’ athletic programs.
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For starters, he’s vice president of the Malone Minor Hockey Association.  There are currently 150 “Huskies” (boys & girls) in the hockey program.

One hundred and fifty kids!  These 150 youngsters are the future of Malone and NYS and America.  I often preach against drugs and ruined lives in these pages.  The Malone Minor Hockey Association is one of the best ways of keeping 150 children away from marijuana, “spike,” cocaine, “street” pills, and heroin.  So is the Rec Park figure-skating program, which currently enrolls over 100 girls and (yes) boys.

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150 kids + 100 kids = 250 kids learning self-confidence, self-control, and self-respect.  (Incidentally, Village Trustee Andrea Dumas is one of the prime movers behind the figure-skating program — keeping it alive and enthusiastic.  If you know Andrea, you know what the word “enthusiasm” means.)
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Andrea Dumas

Understand something clearly.  Ed and Andrea and all the other parents running these programs at the Rec Park are doing this in their spare time!  They all have full-time jobs.  None of them is paid for this.  Ed and Andrea and the other adults are quietly yet diligently molding and teaching and encouraging and coaching and giving confidence and skills to hundreds of local children.

As I write these words, I’m smiling.  I can’t help it.  Watch the evening news on TV.  The world is going to hell in a handbasket.  And yet we’ve got 250 children at the Rec Park, plus hundreds more in after-school sports, being coached in life’s most fundamental and necessary and enduring skill — the art of being a self-confident, worthwhile human being.

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May I use myself as an illustration?  What I’m going to tell you may surprise you.  I was a university professor.  I won major scholarly awards, including several book prizes, had a scholarly book written about me, blah blah blah.  Yes, I was a good student as a child in public school, though a troubled child, owing to turmoil at home.

Now the punchline:  I became a university professor not because of my brains (such as they are), but, more fundamentally, because of my athletic commitment and training.  The lessons I learned in athletics — self-respect, self-confidence, perseverance, and pacing myself — made my academic performance possible.
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It was the training I got as a swimmer, beginning in summer camp, and the discipline I learned as a cross-country runner in my early teens that taught me to discipline myself, stay off drugs (I was a college student in Southern California in the 1960s, when drugs were everywhere), avoid becoming a boozer, and so on.
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The point is that Ed and Andrea and all the other parents who make the sports programs a reality at the Rec Park — are gods!  These parents are ensuring that kids like Calvin Martin, who are perhaps growing up in a tempestuous home, will survive in whatever course they pursue in life.  Not only this, but ensure that these kids will have the wherewithal to reject the siren song of drugs, alcohol, self-loathing, despair, crushing shame — the demons that seek to tear us limb from limb.
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Think of it this way.  All kids go to school.  We don’t learn self-control, self-confidence, spirit, determination, strength of character in a classroom, I would argue.  We learn it in after-school sports or at the Rec Park when we sign up for hockey, soccer, baseball, football, swimming, figure-skating, or what have you.  Our best teachers for these life skills are school coaches like my neighbor Chris Yaw, and parents like Ed Lockwood and Andrea Dumas who give freely and generously of their time, money, and talent, give freely of their spirit and love and support and enthusiasm.

The kind of enthusiasm that cheers on a mediocre athlete named Calvin Martin:  “Hooray, Calvin!  You can do it!  Keep going, son!  Only one more mile to go!  You’re looking good!”
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Coaches teach us to like and respect ourselves.  (Do you understand how important this is when you have a father who calls you names, ridicules you, ignores you, and flogs you?)  Coaches teach us to have confidence in ourselves.  To work as a team.  That we’re worthwhile.  And, yeah, that we can do it — whatever “it” happens to be.  They implicitly teach us that there’s a better life ahead than all the bullshit we get ourselves into as teens.
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We’ve got two outstanding candidates running for Franklin County District Attorney.  Craig Carriero and Peter Dumas.  Both accomplished, impressive young men.  Both lead exemplary lives.  Both had a tough row to hoe in life, as we all do.  Talk to both men — I have — and you will detect that what molded them and keeps them going was their athletic training.

That’s Craig, above, with his son.  In many ways, Craig can thank a coach for the man he is today.

Ed is one such coach.  The Ed Lockwoods and Andrea Dumases and other parents are molding character and success.  Backbone.  Vision.  Spirit.  Joy.  Confidence.  Decency.  Poise, literally and figuratively.
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Ed’s running for Malone Town Council.  He’s running, he tells me, mainly because he wants to make the Rec Park even more successful and “center stage” than it already is.  I said, above, that he’s on the Malone school board.  He’s also on the Rec Park committee.  When he joined the Rec Park committee it was financially in the hole and lacked a vision for the future.  Ed was instrumental in balancing the budget and planning ahead for programs and facilities needs.  He wants to do the same thing as a member of the Malone Town Council — get appointed to the Town Council’s Rec Park committee and bring good fiscal sense and exciting new ideas to the table.
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Ed thinks the future of Malone lies chiefly in its youngsters, just as he was once a youth, here.  He considers the Rec Park sports programs, together with after-school sports, vital to making children into exemplary men and women — men and women who will then return to Malone and bring their wisdom and talents back to the community that nurtured them.  So they, in turn, can nurture the next generation.  (Peter Dumas illustrates the principle.  Peter ran cross-country under Bob Fraser at Franklin Academy.  The man Peter is, today, owes a great deal to Coach Fraser.  They still stay in touch, even though Bob moved to Maine.)

Besides being a coach and visionary, Ed’s a “budget” guy.  As Operations Manager at Suburban and, now, at Adirondack Energy, he balances large, scary budgets.  If he fails, he’s fired.  Simple as that.

I’m smiling as I write these words.

When I think of Ed, I think of this oh so lovely song by the French singer, Yves Duteil.  “Prendre un enfant par la main.”  (“Taking a child by the hand.”)
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Taking a child by the hand
to lead it to tomorrow
to give it confidence in its stride
taking a child for a king.

Taking a child in your arms
and — for the first time —
to dry your tears, overwhelmed with joy
taking a child in your arms.

Taking a child in your heart
to comfort its sorrows
very gently, without talking, without reluctance
taking a child in your heart

Taking a child in your arms
and for the first time
shedding tears, overwhelmed by joy
taking a child in your arms.

Taking a child by the hand
and sing it a lullaby
to let it sleep at the end of the day
taking a child with love

Taking a child as it comes
and comfort its griefs.
Living your life for years, then suddenly
taking a child by the hand

And, looking all the way to the end [of the road],
taking a child as your own.

— Anonymous translator

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