Truckin' Along

Published 12:11 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2005

By By Tim Cottrell
(Editor's note: This is the eighth in a 10-week series of candid interviews with managers of Atmore Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth Baseball. The interviews will appear weekly on Sundays.)
Many youth baseball coaches wish to instill values in the young men they coach, or want to help them become better players. Others simply coach because their child is playing. But in some rare cases, you find a man who enjoys being around young men.
Eddie Jackson, who managed the Atmore Vision Center Cardinals to the Atmore Cal Ripken Baseball Minor League city championship and also managed the Atmore Cal Ripken 9-year-old All-Stars, can be placed into all those categories; but he especially enjoys the opportunity to spend time with young men.
"I've enjoyed it," Jackson said. "I found out there's a lot of kids that are just dying for attention. (If) you work with these kids it goes a long way. A lot of them that have moved on remember playing for me. I just enjoy spending time with them trying to make a difference. Kids these days need to be involved in something."
Jackson has two children, Chance, 11, and Casey, 9. He is self-employed as a trucker.
"I worked at Solutia for 15 years," he said. "I'm running my own truck. We lost our pension so I decided I'd worked enough shift work. I drive my own truck now and it frees me up and allows me more time to spend with my kids. I'm enjoying it."
Jackson's main hobby outside of being around his children is his love of the University of Alabama.
"…Chasing Alabama sports, whether it's football or baseball," Jackson said. "I did play some softball but I'm over that now, too. Pretty much I just enjoy spending time with (my kids) and working with ball. Back at the time when they were little, I was playing ball. I felt like they would get a better chance of playing if I stayed involved and helped them. I've had them playing ball since they were old enough to play at the Y. I enjoy spending time with them."
Jackson keeps things simple when coaching.
"I had some kids this year, that would sometimes pout if we were losing," Jackson said, "but I told them you have to lose before you can learn how to win. Winnings the easy part. I believe in starting out with the fundamental work and defense. I think the hitting will come. That's the way I've always done it. I work on fundamental work and defense and then hitting later. It seems to work well. I haven't lost much. I move up next year so I get to go to the next phase and see if it works there. I believe in hard work, discipline, and good sportsmanship. That's the key to it. If a kid doesn't have that you can't teach him a whole lot."

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