It’s his job to care about our kids
It was a fitting end to the year in Little League, Major Division. The manager’s younger son scored the tying run on a hit by his older son. Then his older son scored the winner, giving our beloved Giants the championship.
It was the fifteenth win in a row. Comparing them earlier in the year to some of the other excellent teams with their outstanding coaches, they didn’t seem to be the best team, but they played every practice and every game with tremendous positive support from their coaches.
I’ve never seen him lose his cool with a player. So it was a huge shock to me when I coached with him last year and heard him get upset in the dugout when our guys screwed up out there. He didn’t (never does) curse or anything like that, he just puts his head down and says something like “Come on! What was that?”
I’m so glad he is human.
When I see him, he compliments my son, seemingly every time. He also knows enough about what’s going on to compliment my daughter too. She’s a gymnast, part of a much smaller circle of athletes, but he knows them too. He writes them up in the paper whenever he can. My kids are growing up believing it’s normal to see their name in the paper every couple of weeks and it’s because of this man that this is their reality.
He’s your community sports editor Steve Yingling.
He always seems to be going off, through the snow or late into the evening, to places in Nevada, to cover or to just watch the area’s teams. He seems totally dedicated to his work. His boss says he spends “half the week defending him” from parents who are upset that he doesn’t write enough about their kid’s team. But when he writes honestly about the disappointing season a team has had, because he really knows how good they could have been, it’s open season for letters to the editor. It seems to me that people should be glad he cares enough to write honestly about the story of that team. I’m starting to get really protective of the guy. Seems like a no-win kind of job to me, but I know the community is really lucky to have him. My fear is that there are some people out there who just don’t get it. This guy is truly concerned about our children’s future, communicates the issues and is involved in making things better. Seems like more folks could take his example to heart.
Coaching (if you’ve ever done it, you know this) takes a big chunk of time out of your life. It’s also really difficult. Keeping everyone positive, working on them to get to that higher level of play, teaching young people to handle the challenges that team competition brings, these things are not easy, but these experiences are true building blocks of character. One reason I’m writing this is to let Steve Yingling and all of the coaches know that some of us really appreciate what they are doing with our children. It is impossible to thank you enough. Another reason is that no one ever writes about the sports editor, and somebody should.
He has earned numerous awards for his writing, but you would have to pry that information out of him and he’d never mention it again. Knowing him a little bit, I have to doubt if any award could come close to being in the dugout with the team when his guys came across home plate with those last two runs. But, it’s the struggle to do well for many players that makes those moments meaningful. Steve has a special smile that goes to the young player who has come through for the team after not doing well in the past. When that player has made that play that we’ve all been hoping for, you can see him acknowledge them and that he shares the joy with that person. This year on the Giants, we saw a lot of those moments.
I heard Steve say something recently that I have never heard him say before. When asked if he was coaching soccer or in the summer basketball league, he said “No, I’m going to take a break.” I’m having a little trouble with that one, coach. I guess it’s OK until the fall basketball season. …
– John Pillsbury is a South Lake Tahoe resident.