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A L O U D O U N D E S T I N AT I O N R E S TA U R A N T

March 2015

irtually every Hall of Fame athlete in any sport can point to a parent or two being instrumental in their staggering success. From playing pitch and catch in the backyard, retrieving errant jump shots in an empty gym or even driving long distances to games in faraway places, a mom or dad (sometimes both) is almost mentioned in typically emotional enshrinement acceptance speeches. Jacy Edelman’s mother, Merrilyn Saint, now Foxcroft School’s director of technology, surely played a major role in her daughter’s athletic triumphs, in a slightly different way. When Jacy was a senior at Foxcroft in 1995, there was Merrilyn in the stands or on the sideline, trusty video camera frequently focused on her child, filming her field hockey games, the better to show college coaches her considerable talents. It certainly paid off. After a fine athletic career at Foxcroft, playing both field hockey and lacrosse, Jacy’s expoits caught the eye of the Wellesley field hockey coach, and four years later, she was named an All-American in both sports at the prestigious Massachusetts school. Just last month, on the final Saturday of February, Edelman also was honored along with equestrian Alison Firestone of Middleburg as the two newest members of Foxcroft’s Athletic Hall of Fame. “My mom sent videos to coaches,” said Jacy, whose father, the late actor, Herb Edelman, died while she was still in elementary school. “She was my biggest fan. She always encouraged me to play in college, and that was critical for me. I’m lucky. My mom, she was a good one.” Good, too, was Jacy’s entire Foxcroft experience. “ I think the competitive nature of Foxcroft’s program prepared me well for college sports,” she said. “But there was definitely a learning curve, and a weight lifting curve. Practices and workout regimes at the college level are very intense and time consuming, so the hardest part of the transition was figuring out a sports/academic balance. I have to say, though, it definitely made me keep a tight schedule and I can thank sports for giving me a much needed physical and emotional outlet to keep me on track with a rigorous academic load.”

Edelman’s second biggest fan no doubt was the woman who started her playing competitive sports back in the fifth grade. That would be longtime Hill School athletic director and field hockey coach Sydney Bowers. “I definitely caught the sports bug from her,” Edelman said. “She was really intense and passionate about cultivating a sport for everyone at Hill. I remember to this day that she would always tell students to just do your best, that as long as you were doing your best, you would be successful in anything you tried. I know that sounds kind of cheesy, but it carried me through my high school career, in college and even in my professional career.” Edelman, now 37, lives in the Boston area with her partner, Jef Czekaj, an author and illustrator of children’s books, and their 20-monthold son, Oliver. She played high-level club field hockey until she finally stopped about three months into her pregnancy, and hopes to get back to playing her favorite sport at some point. She also works at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as the project coordinator of an educational technology grant from Merck, the pharmaceutical company. She supports teachers and students at a Cambridge public elementary school in integrating technology into their classrooms. She’s also been teaching an interactive technology graduate class at Lesley for the past seven years. Edelman clearly credits her virtually lifelong participation in competitive team sports with any other success she’s achieved along the way. “For me, it was always my outlet in terms of being grounded and and having some balance in my life,” she said. “I always liked to study and work hard, and it was critical for me to expend that energy out on the field and get rid of any frustration I may have had. Sports was my rock and my balance. It seemed like the more I had to do, the more I was able to get done. It pushed me both athletically and academically. “I can’t tell you you enough about the values it gave me. We’re always talking in education about teaching 21st Century skills. Sports gives you tenacity, perseverance, grit, problem-solving, lead-ership skills. And all those traits have always supported me in my professional life, too.” And always with a proud mom still cheering her on. n

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By Leonard Shapiro For Middleburg Life

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M i d d l e b u r g L i f e

Jacy Edelman: From Hill and Foxcroft to a Brilliant Athletic Career

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Middleburg Life, March 2015  
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