Back in 2006, I wrote a column about a gentleman named Ed Amerson. Usually, my columns consist of stories about the exploits of high school or college athletes. However, that story was very different.
My objective was to try and convey to the readers just how important “Mr. Ed” was to Greenbrier High School. Back then I was very proud of the column. When I hit “send” on my keyboard to send the column, I was thoroughly satisfied with my effort. I realize now that I actually failed that day.
Sure, the column talked about how Amerson helped start the Columbia County Recreation Department nearly 40 years ago, and how he volunteered his time and money to the young baseball players in this area for as long as anyone could remember. I included stories of how he met and befriended Terry Holder in Holder’s early days at Evans and became a fixture at Knights’ games, and how he followed Holder to Greenbrier and became the biggest ’Pack fan in the world.
I included the story of his wife’s passing, and how the coaches, parents and kids at Greenbrier helped get him through that trying time in his life. I had quotes from coaches such as Ed Williams, who broke down when Amerson gave his team a speech prior to the 2006 state championship series; and Garret Black, who wanted everyone to know that Amerson was always there to buy food for team cookouts, or provide money for virtually anything the team needed. I really thought I covered every possible aspect of Amerson’s connection to Greenbrier.
It was only a few days ago that I became aware that I was attempting the impossible when I sat down to write that story seven years ago. You see, Ed Amerson passed away on Monday at the age of 77. After reading the online tributes from former players, listening to the phone calls and reading text messages I received from coaches, and going through dozens of emails from parents of Greenbrier athletes, it became clear there was absolutely no way to calculate just how important Ed Amerson was to Greenbrier High School and to youth sports in Columbia County.
The folks at Greenbrier have tried. Last year, Amerson was surprised when he was inducted into the Greenbrier High School Hall of Fame, a tribute he called one of the greatest moments of his life. When Black’s softball team captured the state title in 2004, Amerson received a championship ring along with the players. As a matter of fact, at his funeral on Thursday, his pallbearers included most of the Greenbrier coaching staff, and former players served as honorary pallbearers.
Those tributes are terrific, but I think all Greenbrier supporters would agree there was nothing they could do to pay back Amerson for what he really meant to the school.
However, if Amerson were here today, he would tell you that the relationships he built with the coaches, kids and parents over the years were all the payback he needed.
Somewhere in heaven there is a ball game being played, and you can bet Amerson is there rooting on those players and coaches. He’s probably giving the umpires an earful, too.