Lamberts Become 1st Father-Son Pair
In Cooperstown’s Most Honored Ranks
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – It was a lesson in the right attitude.
County Judge John Lambert, honored as the latest recipient of the Clark Sports Center’s Fetterman Award today at an Otesaga luncheon, was able to relate a first-hand story about Patrick Fetterman, a fabled director of the Clark Gym.
It was at a Biddy Basketball Tournament in St. Johnsville more than three decades ago. Lambert was in sixth grade; Fetterman was coaching, when one of the Cooperstown players made everyone’s concern explicit: “They’re cheating with the clock,” he said.
An unruffled Fetterman replied, “I don’t see it that way. I just see us winning by 30 points instead of 20” – a response that guides Lambert until today.
Another quote that lives on, from the honoree’s father, Paul Lambert, the former coach and CCS superintendent who passed away in January. The father, awarded the Fetterman in 2010, would encourage his players to be “humble in victory and gracious in defeat.”
While not always living up to his father’s dictum, the judge said, “I find myself telling it to my own children and other players” all these years later.
The packed luncheon included pretty much all of the living Fetterman honorees – with Lambert, 26 in all over the past 25 years (Ed and Pat Hazzard received it jointly in 2001.) Annually, the award recognizes “service to youth.”
And when Jane Forbes Clark, who emceed, introduced Lambert as the newest addition to “Team Fetterman,” the judge received a standing ovation.
In his remarks, Lambert described “the joy in a child’s eye, whether 7 or 17,” on making a play or winning a game. “There’s something about that that never gets old.”
All of his coaching – from Little League, to Peewee football to CCS basketball teams – has put Lambert into a web of common experience: “I still have bonds with all the guys I see downtown.”
Always an emotional gathering, Lambert teared up only once, in recognizing his wife Katie. “I may be the only one’s who’s name’s on the plaque – but it’s for the both of us.”