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Ed Wilson Still Supporting Kids — By Tommy Purser

Looking back through the old Ledgers each week fills me with nostalgia. I came here in 1973, 50 years ago, so I’ve seen a lot of high school sports in this county.
Looking this week at a copy of a 1955 Ledger, I saw a small article on the fact that Mark N. Durden was described as: at “every basketball game, all the baseball battles, the football dragouts, you’ll find a loyal Hazlehurst fan — and he’s 82 years old.”
Mark N. Durden, who lived on Cromartie Street, hardly ever missed a game in the 1950s and he was at the game when Jeff Davis High’s girls won their 4th straight state basketball championship.
That 1955 edition of the Ledger, highlighted the girls’ 4th straight title and it included photos of the event. Two of those photos caught my attention. The photo credit went to none other than Edward Wilson.
1955 — that was 68 years ago. And today, at 94 years of age, he’s still at it.
Last fall, at the home softball games, Ed Wilson was on the sidelines, most times with his wife, Sue. He even made the trip to Columbus to watch the Lady Jackets win the state championship.
And now, with softball season long gone, he still continues, following the Jeff Davis High baseball team and cheering them on.
Over my 50 years here, the crowds at sporting events change every year. As the athlete’s grow up, graduate and end their careers, the crowds following the teams change as most parents go to the games to cheer their children on. When the children are gone, the parents are gone.
But there are lots of exceptions. Lots. I consider those who continue to follow the kids, long after their children are gone, to be the true fans. Fans of both the games themselves and the children playing the games.
I can still remember when I played high school sports, there were always a few people who came to the games, not because their children were playing, but to watch the games and watch us children.
I remember two in particular — Broadus Carter and Mr. Posey (I can’t for the life of me remember Mr. Posey’s first name).
And I can still remember how much I appreciated them for supporting us. Their presence formed an invisible bond between them and me and my teammates.
Today, they’ve both passed away.
And I regret that I never took the opportunity to thank them for their support and tell them how much it meant to me personally that they were there at every game.
I suspect today’s youngsters feel the same way about those older folks who come to the games and support them, even when there is no familial tie. I hope they’ll let them know in some small way how much their presence means to them.
Because I know they appreciate that support.

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