07/01/2009 9:39 AM
Remembering Our Friend, Vice President Phil Edwards
Eulogy given by Paul Galop at the Memorial Service
June 27, 2009, Brewster Baptist Church
Good morning. It seems rather appropriate that we have the nicest day of the summer for what is the most important day of the CCBL summer. Phil, if you had something to do with this beautiful weather, we would appreciate it if you could pull some more strings for the next seven weeks!
On behalf of the entire Edwards Family, thank you for coming today to honor the life of Phil Edwards.
Phil was our sincere friend who epitomized the word volunteer in the Cape Cod Baseball League. He was always ready, willing and able to quickly step up and do more than his fair share for the benefit of the entire league. This was evidenced by Phil chairing many CCBL committees and never expecting anything in return. He managed these many assignments because he wanted to and believed it was the right thing to do. How refreshing in this day and age when few people do things for that very reason. All too many times there is the undercurrent of what’s in it for me. Not with Phil. What a great example he set for all of us by his kind-hearted “can do” attitude. We all learned a lot from Phil’s behavior and values and now, as a tribute to Phil’s legacy, we have an obligation to continue his exceptional work.
Rather than detailing so many specific examples of how Phil contributed to the CCBL and too many of us personally, let’s look at what a dynamic impact he has made on our lives.
We all recognize this great loss. Donna (Phil’s wife), Bruce and Scott (Phil’s sons), Phil’s brothers, Phil’s sister and Phil’s grandchildren and all of his friends here today celebrate his life, his friendship and his guidance. So, I believe it is more than appropriate, to not dwell on this loss, but rather on the gain. What did we all gain by knowing and befriending Phil?
We gained a renewed sense of confidence and decency, knowing that there are still very good people out there that lead by example and do things for the right reason, not for any personal gain. That was Phil.
We gained a new level of faith in mankind. We as a society actually will help others, we actually can guide others in a positive and productive manner and we actually do nurture others. Phil was the master at this and the real beauty here is that he didn’t even know he was doing it. That is truly the real sign of a sincere human being. That was Phil, the man.
So, even though Phil lost this battle, we all actually won the war, thanks to Phil. He contributed greatly to making us all better people without the fanfare, without any formalized plans, and without any strings attached. His daily behavior of doing things because he believed he had a civic and social responsibility to do the right things for the right reasons is the prototypical CCBL volunteer. We are all much better people because of Phil.
In closing, I recall a key passage at the end of the very legendary sports movie Brian’s Song. Brian Piccolo was a professional football player for the Chicago Bears, and had passed away from the same disease as Phil, at the very young age of 26, almost to the day as Phil’s passing 39 years ago. Actor Jack Warden played Brian Piccolo’s coach George Halas of the Chicago Bears in the movie and at the end he said, “This is not a story about how Brian Piccolo died, but how he lived, oh how he lived”. We can all share the same accolade for our friend Phil.
(**This is where I decided to “ad-lib” the highest moment in an athlete’s career when they receive a standing ovation from their fans. Although this would be atypical for a church setting, I think it would be apropos to give Phil Edwards a standing ovation right now.**)
Paul Galop, Commissioner