The affect that Ed has had on me is a weird one, especially since we are better friends outside of school than we ever were in it. He had such an affect that it required no association on our part, just a drive for the same thing.
Besides Jim Holmes and I, I have never met someone who was completely obsessed with playing dodgeball when the tournament came. We all shared a passion for a game that most others wrote off as a pointless gym class activity. The game to us was much more than throwing a dodgeball, it was all about winning, and that is the way it should be.
As to the actual positive affect on me that Ed had, it can be summed up in an ironic phrase, “friendly rival.” This rivalry started minorly in my junior and his sophomore years in high school. We shared a second period gym class and were always pitted against each other in games, dodgeball included. He, to me, was a guy I loved facing in games. I liked even more knowing that once in awhile we were on the same side of the gym, combining our works.
The climax really came in my senior year and beyond, when I was captain of my team and Ed was on his team, the DP Snipers. His team had just won a game and was walking off the field as ours walked on it. For a reason I will never know, we shook hands as we passed each other. Our team went on to win that game but both of our teams would lose that year. This was my last chance to win the dodgeball crown, but Ed would have 2 more, both of which I was present for.
I visited the school three main times Ed’s senior year, once for pep rally and two for dodgeball tournaments. The first tournament I watched as once again Ed and his team came up just short. The second tournament I had the honor of returning as a player. I campaigned (successfully) to get an alumni team into the games and we were to play the winner of the tournament. As we sat on the sidelines, we saw the Snipers regain their old form from my junior year, the last year in which they won. Ed had been part of that winning team, as had 2 of his teammates. The time came for us to play the winner, and it was who I had expected it to be. I had spoken with Ed online the night before and we had ended our conversation with “see you on the court tomorrow,” both knowing it was the truth. This marked the first time we would ever face off in tournament play, a match-up I was looking forward to.
In that game, another fitting end came my way as I was eliminated by the old rival. This time I honestly felt honored in some small way to have been done in by him, knowing that he was the man on his team with the ability to do so. After our team had been completely beaten, Ed and I met at halfcourt for a handshake and I told him that I was proud that he won this tournament, he deserved it.
All in all, this may not be a piece that people reading can understand, but to me it meant something. To have someone that is your equal physically in so many ways, including left-handedness, was a pleasure. Alot of people saw Ed as a loudmouth who couldn’t back up his words with wins, but in the end he proved that to be false. I always kept my passion inside, choosing to do my talking through action. Ed was more outspoken but not lacking in skill. As good a player as I was, I never won a title, he won 2. Enough said.