Conversations by Candlelight: An Intimate Talk with Dean Edmonds

By SAM MATHAI

Every week, senior Sam Mathai sits down with a new member of the CC community, bringing a student athlete’s perspective to the table.

At 10:26 p.m. on a Monday night, I was reading a text that said, “Bring a Coke Zero and you get the world.”

This was not a late-night appeal for emergency munchies or code for something illicit. Nope, this was a text from Dean Edmonds, preparing me for our interview the following day. The timing was flexible, but the Coke Zero was not.

An avid sports fan, Edmonds approached me about being interviewed, personally calling me from his cell to set up an appointment. Unfortunately, I was wrapped up in the exciting life of a sports columnist, and failed to return his call. Not a great start. After some mending, wheeling, dealing and pleading, he agreed to chat with me. The Coke Zero was our sacrificial lamb of forgiveness.

Entertainer, philanthropist, late-night texter, dean of students, laugher, thespian, vice president for student life, diet soda connoisseur, encyclopedia of alumni—there are many ways to characterize the amiable, easygoing man who is Dean Edmonds. However,  no single word is sufficient, as I continue to learn from each of our interactions.

Edmonds is often smiling, and does so freely talking about sports. He is a former athlete—a veteran of the Royals, a t-ball team I am told had great potential. He still sports the colors of his old alma mater in the royal blue and white glasses that don his face.

I would give you a transcript of our talk, but it mostly consisted of nonsense and laughter. Somewhere in between, I managed to probe his opinions.

He is of the opinion that sports are an integral part of Colorado College as an institution, which actually surprised me a little bit. I argued that there are students at the school who may have never been to an athletic event in their full four years at CC, and who don’t care to ever go to one either (I texted a classmate later to test my hypothesis. She has been to one game in three and a half years…could be worse). He persisted: attendance isn’t necessarily correlated with importance. For example, he believes that sports offer a unique opportunity for the school to interact with the wider Colorado Springs community, which I would argue we do poorly, at best.

Furthermore, the statistics that he prepared seemed to suggest that for those who participate, varsity athletics is a not-insignificant facet of the ‘CC experience.’ He postulates that this is a result of a having something stable in a world where “everything changes” every 18 a a half days.

He brought up the CC mission, which is to provide the best liberal arts education possible and nourish mind, body, and soul. He either really believes in it, or someone gave him really solid talking points. Either way, somehow, sports fit in the mission. When I asked him if that meant he would be attending lacrosse games now, he gave a conditional yes.

“I do love all sports… but my attention span isn’t necessarily there all the time,” he revealed with a laugh. In truth, he is a basketball fan, partly because it is exciting, quick, and entertaining. But most of all, it is indoors and climate-controlled.

There is no doubt that sports teams provide a sense of place that allow us to stay grounded when the Block Plan tries to knock us of our feet. I might have suggested that there are some negative side effects to such a community. Wild things tend to happen when 30 compatriots get together.

“Surely you can’t love that from an institutional standpoint,” I pushed. Edmonds smiled and paused, mentally combing through his talking points.

“Community is good. That’s all I will say.” We laughed. Before I could test him more, he checked his watch and informed me my time was up. I had to admit, I protested. I was enjoying myself.

“I have a life you know, Sam,” he said in his distinctive Southern drawl as he ushered me out of his office with his charming smile.

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