Cynthia James throws first pitch
Wife of G. Larry James
By James Barnes
Tuesday, March 24, 2009, in Richard Stockton’s Softball home opener, in honor of the late G. Larry James, his wife Cynthia James threw out the ceremonial first pitch. G. Larry James nicknamed “The Mighty Burner “was a leader, educator, mentor, and a 1968 Olympic gold and silver medalist. In his career at Stockton dating back to the early 70’s, James has been an assistant athletic director, athletic director and dean. In December 2007, Stockton honored Larry James with a special event, “G. Larry James: Four Decades of Excellence” which included a reception and tribute that drew 1,000 admirers to the college’s Sports Center. During this ceremony, the College renamed its track and soccer facility “G. Larry James Stadium.” In addition, the G. Larry James Legacy Fund was created in James' honor to provide scholarships for deserving students. On August 27th, 2008 the G. Larry James Touchstone Rock was placed beside the track, which Stockton athletes skim with their hands before entering the field of play.
While attending her brother’s track meet at Madison Square Garden, Cynthia accidently met Larry when asking him if he had seen her brother walking around. Cynthia says Larry was very nice to her, even though she was asking about his competitor. It was fate that brought them together. Cynthia James has been Larry’s number one cheerleader. She was always cheering him on, letting him know he could achieve anything he wanted to achieve. Cynthia would always let Larry know that his work was second to none.
When asked what Larry’s vision for athletics was, Cynthia stated “He wished kids would thrive to be the best that they could be, knowing that a champion lied within them”. Cynthia hopes Larry’s legacy will “exemplify excellence, wisdom, faith, and being a winner”. Just as much as Larry wanted Stockton student athletes to be the best that they could be, she also added, “I want them to know that the sky is the limit. They can meet any challenge they set. They shouldn’t be afraid of achieving their dreams,” and as Larry would say, “Work smarter, not harder”.
Cynthia also told a little story that G. Larry James used to tell, which reminds you that character always counts. “Five birds are sitting on a telephone wire. Two of them decide to fly south. How many of the birds are left? Three, you say? No, it's five. You see, deciding to fly south is not the same as actually doing it. If a bird really wants to go somewhere, it's got to point itself in the right direction, jump off the wire and flap its wings, and keep flapping until it gets where it wants to go. Good intentions are not enough. It’s not what we want, say, or think, that makes things happen; it’s what we do.”
Cynthia still remains active in the Stockton community. When the men’s basketball team journeyed to Salem, VA to compete for the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Championship she joined her mother, Ms. Daughtry and granddaughter, Joy, on the fan bus to cheer for the Ospreys while waving the rally rags. The G. Larry James Legacy lives on through the Stockton students, faculty, community, school spirit and Cynthia. Go Ospreys!