When the Schenectady High School boys varsity basketball team suffered a tough loss early last season, coach Eric Loudis remembered he and his players took it hard.
But Loudis remembered Eddie Stanley, a sophomore on the varsity squad, coming up to the first-year coach, putting a hand on his shoulder and giving him a compliment.
“That was the kind of person he was,” Loudis told hundreds gathered for a funeral service for the 15-year-old at Refreshing Spring Church of God in Christ. “He was always looking out for others.”
It was that person that was remembered Friday, nearly a week after Stanley was shot and killed early Sunday at a party on Bridge Street.
The tone of the evening was set at the outset, when the Rev. Harold West, pastor of Deeper Life Fellowship, said the service was to be a celebration of Eddie’s life. It was a celebration shown through songs, poems, words and simple gestures.
Those simple gestures included members of Stanley’s team presenting his family with a Schenectady High School jersey, then forming a circle near Stanley’s larger-than-life portrait and, as if getting ready for a game, locked arms and chanted “OMG, Oh My God.”
Amid the celebration were calls for peace and non-violence, for disputes to be settled with words instead of guns or fists. Authorities are continuing to investigate the shooting.
The church was packed for the service, with extra chairs brought in but many still left to stand in the back and along the sides to pay their respects.
Stanley’s casket was surrounded by flowers and mementos of the basketball game he loved. There was a basketball and a No. 24 Los Angeles Lakers jersey, the jersey of Stanley’s favorite player, Kobe Bryant. Photos of Eddie also rotated on a monitor.
Aside from Stanley’s skills on the basketball court, speakers remembered his skills off the court. West recalled a respectful Stanley, a boy who would be quick to apologize if he felt he said something wrong.
“That’s a testimony to where he came from,” West said. “That’s what we want to celebrate today.”