Honoring dad is more than celebrating Father’s Day once a year.
When a handful of Fallon youngsters discussed their time with their fathers this week, it rapidly became apparent that spending time with dad is a 365-day relationship, whether the patriarch of the family is home or away on business.
Raelynn Neumann, who will be a student at Churchill County Middle School in August, said she cherishes the time spent with her father. A former sailor, her father now works at the Lovelock Correctional Center, a one-hour drive from Fallon.
“I think the whole world of him,” said 11-year-old Raelynn, who was throwing a baseball to an all-star baseball teammate at Oats Park Wednesday afternoon.
With Raelynn being the only girl on the all-star team, she credits her father for helping her develop baseball skills and encouraging her to play baseball rather than softball. Raelynn said they have spent many hours together playing catch or doing batting practice.
So what kind of advice has Raelynn’s father offered during her short youth baseball career.
“Don’t let whatever they say get in your head because you’re a girl,” she quickly responded.
Baseballl, though, becomes more than a summer pastime for Raelynn. She said they like to watch baseball on television or go to an Aces baseball game in Reno.
“We like to watch the game … and eat the food,” she said, grinning.
For this year’s Father’s Day, Raelynn said she is happy because her dad has the day off.
Damein Towne, another 11-year-old on the all-star team, said he and his father are planning to drive out to Cold Springs on Sunday and ride their side by side ATVs. In the meantime, though, Damein and sometimes his younger brother have been practicing baseball.
“I want to spend as much time with him,” Damein said of his dad.
One of the events both father and son like to attend, said Damein, is an Aces baseball game.
Likewise, Ian Baldwin, who stood next to Damein while warming up before practice, said his father pilots an E2 Hawkeye for the U.S. Navy.
Ian, 11, who attends Oasis Academy, had a bounce in his attitude on Wednesday and also a big smile. His father had returned to Fallon on Tuesday after being away from the family for two weeks.
“It means a lot having my dad in the Navy,” said Ian, who said the greatest part of being in a military family is that they move every two to three years.
“Before we came here, we were in Japan and saw a lot of neat places,” Ian remembers.
While in Japan, he said his father took the family to baseball games, a memory Ian still remembers vividly.
“They were awesome,” he said of the games. “They (their games) are different than in the U.S.”
Keeping a secret, Ian said a surprise awaits his father on Sunday
The coach of the all-star team, Jeff Prinz, also grew up with a military father, having come to Fallon because of his dad’s transfer in the 1990s. Prinz said he is not a big believer in holiday or special days because as far as he is concerned, those events occur every day.
As a father of three, he coaches one son on the 11-year-old team and has a younger boy playing on another team. Prinz said he likes watching their games and being with each son. Prinz said he also has a daughter whom he cherishes.
This is the first year Prinz has coached youth baseball, and judging by his team’s record, the 2015 season was successful. His team finished 9-2, and the league asked Prinz if he wanted to coach the 11-year-old all-star team. It didn’t take long for him to make his decisions and begin preparing his team for the regional tournament in Utah in late July.
While not on the diamond, Prinz prefers to be with his children on the ranch doing “cowboy things.” For Prinz, who volunteers at numerous rodeos including the Lions Junior Rodeo in early September, that is important bonding with his three children during the year.
“A lot of kids don’t get that opportunity,” he said, referring to the time spent on the ranch.
Yet, for Prinz, he said he wouldn’t change a thing if it means spending as much time as possible with his children.