ROBBINS, N.C. — Plenty of people in vice presidential candidate John Edwards' hometown of Robbins watched the North Carolina senator on national television as he accepted the nomination Wednesday night.
Many in the crowd watching at North Moore High School were seen as well. A satellite link from Robbins to Boston gave the entire country a glimpse at Edwards' small-town roots.
It was a coordinated cheer for the TV audience, but for Edwards' hometown crowd, the emotion was sincere.
"I think it's wonderful, because Johnny Edwards today is the same Johnny Edwards I saw coming out of this dressing room whenever they were playing ball. He's always been the real thing," family friend Shirley Mashburn said.
"It's good to look up and see someone from the lower ranks, your hometown. It makes you really proud," resident Lisa Brower said.
Edwards' hometown supporters watched his speech from the same high school gym where the senator once played basketball.
"He could dribble between his legs and behind his back--he was a talented individual," said Bobby Caviness, a basketball, football and track teammate.
Caviness says the messages of unity that got the crowd cheering on Wednesday night is the same Edwards he remembers.
"John and his family took me to their house to eat on game days. For blacks in those days to eat at a white house -- it just wasn't heard of," he said.
Caviness says in high school, Edwards was nicknamed "the mailman" because when he was the passed the ball, Edwards always delivered. His hometown supporters say Edwards delivered in his convention speech, as well.