They call him Superman
The quiet, unassuming kid hiding behind the no-nonsense spectacles looks like he would be far more at home in the library than on the track or the gridiron, but make no mistake, this kid is fast and he can leap tall buildings in a single bound. His name is Edward Wright, but most people just call him Superman.
Ed is a two-sport athlete and an accomplished one at that. Over the last two years, he has compiled a 35-1 record playing football for the Forest City Cavaliers.
This past season he shared the offensive load with Grantt Logan for the undefeated 7/8 year old team winning both the conference championship as well as a regional all-star tournament.
“We just bring a phone booth to the game,” coach Darrin Logan joked. “He goes into the booth in his civilian clothes and changes into his uniform and out comes Superman.”
Watching him cut and weave his way through defenders one really begins to wonder if the other team could tackle him if they were all in the phone booth together. He’s just that good.
He’s also a fan favorite. Ed is the kind of kid that is easy to like, because he is genuinely good and he is still humble. He doesn’t seem to fully understand how far above the competition he is.
Ed, the youngest of 11 siblings, takes his success in stride and is very low-key. His mom and dad on the other hand, are not.
Ed’s father, James Edward Wright, Sr., spends most of the game leading cheers about his son’s exploits all of which are made up as he goes along. His mother Sandra glows with pride and keeps everyone up to date with Ed’s latest accomplishments. She is literally his first PR agent, and she’s a good one. If every kid desires that their parents be proud of them, then Ed is one satisfied young man.
Track and Field is Ed’s other passion.
Coach Van Wilkins, with the help and support of area churches including Cornerstone, founded God’s Track and Field Club in 2012. One of his first athletes was Ed’s sister, Helen.
“(She) ran for me last year and did an excellent job. Her 4x100 relay team placed third in the state,” Wilkins said. “I encouraged her to get her little brother to come out, but she said he was too busy running around.”
However, Wilkins didn’t give up, and this year both Helen and Ed signed up for the team.
“I had no idea (how good he was) and then I put him against the older boys, and he beat them. All I could say was ‘Whoa!’” said Wilkins.
Whereas football is a team sport, the events that Ed competed in for track and field are individual contest. You are either the best, or you aren’t. Ed is certainly among the best, and he has the wins to prove it.
He took first place in the 50 and 100 as well as the long jump at the regional meet in Asheville earlier this year qualifying him to compete in Raleigh. Heading into the State meet against older kids Wilkins was confident in his young star’s ability and drive.
“He has the potential to be the next somebody,” Wilkins stated. “The fastest kid I ever coached was John Avery. The Miami Dolphins drafted him out of Ole Miss, and Edward is easily in that category, by far.”
Ed placed first in the 50-Meter dash in Raleigh and qualified for the 100-meter championship. Unfortunately, the weather washed out the final race, so he settled for the second fastest time of the day in the 100.
However, it was in the long jump where his talent really shined through. Ed not only won the event, he qualified for Nationals securing a spot on Team Southeast. He placed first out of five states.
“This kid is jumping a 7’8” long jump, and he is only 9. The average in the long jump is maybe 5’5” or so... maybe. He’s jumping almost eight feet,” Wilkins said. “He just makes it all look effortless.”
So now it is off to the National Youth Track and Field competition in Hershey, Penn. for this local kid from Graham Town. His talent and heart have him poised at the door to a great big world. However, it is the people in this town with their love and support that have helped make this possible.
Of course it starts with mom and dad, but it doesn’t end there. Everyone from his youth football coaches to his teachers, from his track coach to the members of Cornerstone and every other church or community member that has supported a car wash, yard sale or hotdog supper has impacted not only Ed’s life but countless other kids just like him. In the end, no one gets anywhere alone.
So as he packs his bags in early August for the biggest day of his young life, maybe a little piece of our community will go along for the ride. It’s kinda like Clark Kent going off to Metropolis if you ask me, and that is exciting.