If the Bulldogs were playing, Edwina Burke was in the house.
Edwina Burke, 83, still attends Freeport basketball games when she can, but back in the ’60s she didn't miss a one.
"Everybody knew I was there," says the spunky lady who lives in Bruce about 20 minutes from Freeport High School.
"I was rough on the referees back then," she laughed. "They never did call it right. I was loud … it was exciting. I really enjoyed it."
Burke, the mother of David Burke who played on Freeport's 1968 Class C State Basketball Championship team, attended last week’s ceremony honoring that championship team after 45 years at the school. She was also honored during the ceremony as the lady behind the wheel that drove the bus for the players to the state game in Gainesville as well as most of their games during the school year.
"Coach Rentz had asked me to drive and I was going anyway," she said noting she was a school bus driver for the school.
Burke has since retired after 35 years of driving the bus for the Walton County school system.
And buses back in the ’60s were different than today.
"They had gears," she said. "You didn't just mash the pedals."
She didn't get paid for driving the team to games. However, her payback as a bus driver was free entry to the ball games.
"That was worth something," she said.
Nevertheless, she said, "I liked driving a bus, especially those boys. I knew them all from when they were small. The boys knew me and talked to me."
"I just like being around the kids and the ball team," Burke said, noting she loves sports. "My favorite is basketball, then football. But back then they didn't have football at Freeport.”
Basketball was the game of the day.
"I don't remember every missing one. It was just part of my life," said the mother of four.
And the trip to state was one she will always remember.
"If they'd had 3-pointers back then … no telling how many points they'd scored. They were really good," she said. "We really had a ball at state. I'm proud of them.”
Even after David graduated from Freeport and went to play at Gulf Coast Community College, Burke said she went to all the home games in Panama City.
"I was always there," she said.
After college days, David Burke came back to Freeport and later took the helm of the basketball team he once played on — and again mother was in the bleachers.
"He had more of a tempter than I ever thought he had," she said with a chuckle. "But I enjoyed watching him play and coach."
David retired at the end of the school year last year, but mom still enjoys the game and can be found in the stands at Freeport High on occasion.
"I plan on going as long as I can," she said.