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Creating community across generations

Story by Titus Mohler

Photos submitted

Edgar Jones is a two-generation participant in the Prince Edward-Farmville Youth Association (PEFYA).

He has four boys, all of them have played PEFYA sports, and he has coached PEFYA baseball, soccer and basketball across the last 13 years.

“PEFYA and local sports have been just such a big part of my life, not only as an adult, but I grew up here,” he said. “And so I played in PEFYA … Dixie Youth and baseball and basketball and all as a kid, so it’s special in that regard.”

The experience of returning to PEFYA as an adult has resulted in a parade of nostalgic moments for Jones.

“For example, I guess playing Minor League PEFYA as a kid, I remember specifically playing in an all-star tournament in Crewe-Burkeville,” he said. “And then to come back around with a couple of my boys and play in tournaments that have been hosted at Crewe-Burkeville has been really special in that regard.”

Traditions like going to the Tastee Freez there after the game to get a snack also endured from one generation to the next.

“I remember doing that as a kid, so it’s very nostalgic to be able to make that same memory with my family now,” he said.

Describing himself as a coach, Jones said he is neither the best nor the most knowledgeable.

“But I love being around the kids and watching them grow and develop,” he said.

He noted that he tends to serve as head coach of younger age groups, like those including 6-, 7-, 8- and 9-year-olds. As his own boys get older, he has always let other coaches take over.

Time constraints have also played a role in this transition. Jones is a business owner in the community, serving as a State Farm insurance agent, meaning demands on his time can already be significant at work.

“I have definitely been a head coach, but as my boys have gotten older, it’s been a little bit hard to juggle the schedule, so I’ve moved to more of an assistant role,” he said.

His overall coaching experience, however, has been more than substantive enough to give him added perspective as he thinks back to his PEFYA playing days.

“It definitely makes me appreciate all the coaches that coached me along the way, who gave and volunteered their hours probably a lot more than I’m able to do, so I admire those coaches who give so much,” he said. “And again, (in) my role (in) what I feel like is more of an assistant role on a lot of teams, I know how much the head coach puts into it, and we have so many great volunteers in our local league that give so much.”

Jones shared what he thinks is the great value of PEFYA, both for the kids playing sports and the parents coaching and cheering them on.

“I would say that for one, as a parent it’s just such a great opportunity to watch your kid play a game that you all love, both as a parent and a kid,” he said. “So that’s a blessing for the parents, to be able to watch your kids do something that they enjoy.”

Next, he highlighted the power youth sports have to unify and create community.

“It brings the community together in a way that very few other activities do, and that’s been a lot of fun to watch families come together and communities come together to cheer the teams as they progress through different tournaments, and not just big tournaments,” he said. “Just the local games that are played create such a great sense of community, and that’s probably what I love most about it.”

And he said the bonds and relationships formed on the teams are special.

“I know that my youth league coaches growing up, I look back on those relationships fondly and still communicate with some of those coaches,” he said.

He said he values PEFYA so much from a community standpoint that he tries to do everything he can to support it in any way possible.

“PEFYA means so much to me and to my family and to the community, and I love that I’ve been able to stay connected with it and watch that organization thrive as it did when I was a kid,” he said.