Edgar’s Journey as an Athlete
From an Amateur Athlete to a Successful Athlete
Edgar used to fondly relate his time in Huntsville to me since that was where he grew a taste for the outdoors. The atmosphere nurtured a love for physical activity and sowed the seeds of the active athlete in him. The habit of rising early and kicking off the day with a bout of physical activity before breakfast was a habit that Edgar formed when he was as young as six years old. Mostly, he would work out with a punching bag while his father coached him in the enclosed back porch. Occasionally, Edgar would do jumping jacks or trot around before rushing in to enjoy the delicious breakfast prepared by his mother.
A job change with better prospects prompted Edgar’s father to move to Sedalia with his family. This migration proved to be quite a change for Edgar who found more opportunities to hone his skills as an athlete and as a musician. The simple everyday chore of fetching groceries presented itself as an opportunity for the young Edgar who thought his biggest competition was himself. While running this simple errand every morning, he would time himself and try to make the round trip shorter and more eventful every day by accommodating jumping over hedges and other hurdles.
On entering junior high, Edgar began pondering upon the idea of improving his performance as an athlete. He decided to try his luck with the track since football and basketball did not seem to be appropriate for his height and build. After his sophomore year, when he acutely felt the lack of stamina on the tracks, he started getting drawn toward the jumping events. He learned and perfected the long jump, or the Western jump, and the broad jump. Though he continued to run sprints when required, he was dedicated with jumping. He set out to educate himself about the ideal athletic lifestyle by reading books on athletics, diet, and training in the library in order to improve.
After completing high school, Edgar enrolled at Central Methodist in Lafayette for a year where he found more time to hone his athletic skills. He became popular with his smooth jumps and made his first six-foot jump in the spring of his sophomore year. Even he could appreciate the style and technique with which he made his jumps after looking at footage of himself. As a result of a strict regimen comprising diet and training from being an amateur athlete, he became successful and also received a mention alongside a two-by-four picture in The Kansas City Star.
In junior year, Edgar managed to clear six feet three inches, and he was determined to set a record in his senior year. However, this could never be because of the war which led to the suspension of all competitions due to the scarcity of gasoline and tires.
At his fifty-year reunion, Edgar—or Eddie, as he was fondly remembered by all—found out that his classmates used to watch him train in the stadium and that he was quite popular, owing to his athletic feats. Leading the athletic life not only helped Edgar become popular; it also helped him develop a well-rounded personality. He would often credit important character traits like determination and perseverance to his athletic training.
Are you also a budding athlete or were you one in the past? Share your journey in the comments section below. You can also reach out to me on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads. Looking for stories about life before the Second World War? Read my book, Of Raincrows and Ivy Leaves.