- Last Updated on 07:35 AM 12/24/13
- BY Doug Ford
His full name was Walter Addison Marable, Addison to most anyone who knew him, but to generations of boys and girls who knew him best, it was simply, “Coach.”
The long-time sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian and an iconic figure in the sports landscape of Halifax County died Saturday at The Woodview.
You’ve heard the expression, “people person,” it’s one that describes Addison to a tee.
A firm disciplinarian on the baseball diamond, football field or basketball court, Addison nevertheless had a soft spot in his heart for anyone he coached.
His sports knowledge, particularly of sports in Halifax County, was limitless, as was his sense of humor.
All it took was a minute with him to hear countless stories from his days of umpiring and coaching, punctuated by a grin and trademark tinkle of a laugh, but Addison’s main interest was in mentoring youth through sports
I’ve heard countless stories of him taking his recreation league teams out to eat on his dime after a successful outing.
For those who didn’t have a ride to practice, Addison provided it, and to those who needed encouragement, he provided it.
He could be tough if the occasion warranted it, but more often than not his teaching moments ended with a pat on the shoulder or encouraging word.
The long-time sports editor of The Gazette-Virginian ironically came to sports writing purely by accident.
In a 2001 interview, Addison recalled he like sports while at C.H. Friend High School but couldn’t play them very well.
“I kept score and did things like that,” he told current Gazette Sports Editor Joe Chandler.
He asked the late editor of The Gazette, Lynn Shelton, if he wanted some stories from C.H. Friend.
The answer was yes, and Addison was off and running in his sports writing career.
Addison had the perfect mindset for sports writing, including a memory like a steel trap, with names and statistics at the ready to answer most any question.
He had a knack for storytelling, and the last time he sat down with me and talked sports, it became a history lesson.
For some odd reason, the packrat in me said keep those raw notes, and they remained tucked away for years until I came across them mere weeks before Addison’s passing.
I have them still, a testament to a man who was much more than the sports writer, bowler, coach and umpire.
The sum of the man was much more than his parts, and I will miss him greatly.
The Good Lord just bowled a perfect game, and Addison is surely there to report it.