WILLSBORO — Sports, especially local ones, have been dear to the hearts of Willsboro octogenarian siblings Ed Collins and Beverly Dickerson for seven decades.
Whether it is the chilled sidelines of a soccer game or the heat of a basketball competition, the duo can be seen cheering for the home team while applauding the efforts of all, analyzing the playmaking, scouting the opponent and keeping track of statistics.
During the chill of the fall, 88-year-old Ed generally can be seen in his pickup truck parked behind the goal, while Bev, four years younger, is usually close to the 50-yard line to catch the action on both sides.
There is a running commentary for anyone who is in earshot.
“It seems that the goalie should have kicked the ball the other way once in a while. He always kicks it on this side,” said Ed, pointing to the right.
PLAYED YEARS AGO
Ed supports the school in other ways as he annually shares his experiences in the U.S. Navy during World War II with the third-graders just before Veterans Day.
He was trained for amphibious landings at the Great Lakes Naval Station and then was shipped off on less-than-luxurious accommodations to New Guinea, then the Philippines and finally Okinawa.
“They didn’t tell you where you were going,” Collins said. “You learned where you were when they stuck another pin in the map.”
Two years ago, WCS bestowed a high-school diploma upon Ed, who left school early to work in the mines near Mineville.
“I only went to the third year of high school,” Collins said of his education. “I kick myself that I didn’t go back to school.
“I played basketball and one year of soccer in school and a lot of baseball. We won the league; I believe it was in ‘41. I went in the service in ‘44,” Ed reminisced.