Yesterday as I was recovering from a road trip to Nashville I started getting texts and Facebook messages asking if Edward Woods had passed away. I was trying to get in touch with someone to confirm when Honeybee called me from WLAF and confirmed this sad news. I could write volumes about Ed as I am sure many folks could but for the most part I am gonna talk football with Ed.
Edward and I go way back. If you have read any of my stuff in the past most of you are aware that as a young child I grew up on Gibson Field at Jacksboro Middle School (Jacksboro Junior High at the time). One of the first people I met there was Ed. He was the manager for the Eagles and was always kind to this awful fat child that made his hobby into harassing every football player I could.
Though that was my first memory of Ed it certainly was not my last. Over the years Ed came in and out of my life on many occasions. But no matter what the occasion he reentered my life it was always with that big hearty grin he wore.
My senior year of high school Jim Freeman gave me a shot to be the spotter for the WLAF football broadcasts. This was where Ed truly reentered my life. He was always present when the Cougars played and despite the dismal season they had he was always upbeat about the team. In fact I never understood Ed’s optimism towards the team that year. Even though many of my close friends played it was the worst coached team in the history of the program under Don Rawls. That never once phased Ed as he just knew that we were gonna break out and do well. This was the theme for our next several years together.Ed would be optimistic about the team and I would sit there and think he was crazy.
As I got older I realized that Ed was not crazy he simply had faith. In fact if Ed was blessed with one thing it is the strongest and truest faith I have ever encountered. His faith in God was always incredible. His faith in the young athletes he stood by was almost as strong. In fact I can say Ed taught me to have faith in the most hopeless of situations. Until Dewayne Wells arrived I had long ago lost faith that we could ever put together a winning football program on the hill. Ed was the opposite. He knew better days were on the way. Sure enough Wells came in and did the impossible and the Cougars made the playoffs.
When dirty politics forced Wells out and they hired some random guy I once again lost faith in the Cougars. I had not talked football with Ed but I knew he still believed. Then something happened that restored my faith. Random guy quit because the same dirty politics that fired Wells also flat out lied to this fellow about what he was going to be given so off he went. Now this would seem like a huge blow that would crush the tem as they were left with no coaching staff for spring practice. I had basically written the program off at this point.
The I got the call that Justin and Matt Price were coming home to take over the team. My faith had been restored. When I went to the press conference I was greeted by Ed and once again he had the big grin on his face. He knew the program would be ok all along because Ed’s faith never wavered. Throughout the last several years we all learned what Ed knew all along, that Cougar football was going to be great. Ed was always on the sideline making sure anyone who needed it was taken care of. The players, the coaches, the officials, even a certain sports reporter were all watched over by Ed.
Last night when I first posted to social media that Ed was gone it was a sad moment for me. It was not until Eagle Coach Brent Peel posted that I knew everything was ok. Coach Peel pointed out that while we may all be sad that Ed was the happiest he has ever been. He was home with his Heavenly Father. It was then I realized Ed was free of his limited earhtly body and was probably up there running, probably playing some football and most importantly I knew he was still smiling.
We will all miss Ed. He was one of the true good guys of the world. I can genuinely say of all the sould I ever encounter Ed’s was the most human of them. We could all stand to be a bit more like Ed.