Sports was more than just the story

Father and son: Thomas, left, and Steve Ranson stand in the field during a state Cal Ripken youth baseball game in 2006.

Father and son: Thomas, left, and Steve Ranson stand in the field during a state Cal Ripken youth baseball game in 2006.

Trevor de Braga experienced the many sides of one of the valley’s most established figures.

When he played baseball in the Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth programs, de Braga noticed him almost every night at the ball field, umpiring behind the catcher or standing along the first-base foul line. In school, he patrolled the hallways and his vice principal office was the most dreaded on the junior high campus. But when de Braga grew up, graduated from high school then college, he experienced the best side of Steve Ranson.

“He knew my family so I was another kid he treated as a “buddy,” de Braga said. “Now as a coach and young adult, I’ve gotten to know Steve on another level and he’s truly an awesome man. The hard work he puts into the newspaper is phenomenal and top class.”

A name that has become synonymous with the Lahontan Valley News over his 30-year career, Ranson will be putting his keyboard and notepad at the LVN to rest next month when he officially retires. After countless assignments throughout the town, region, state and even overseas, he will be moving onto the next adventure. And while his last position was editor after spending the better part of his career in the sports department, former athletes and coaches remember him for his dedication and passion to the community, as he bled green and white covering the Greenwave through the good and bad.

He was a coach’s reporter who understood situations and knew the appropriate times to ask the tough questions. His awareness to ask if the answer to his question should be off the record is what stood out most for Chelle Dalager.

“My favorite thing that he did was after an intense game he would ask me questions and sometimes he would say ‘is this on the record or off the record?’” said Dalager, who coached the Lady Wave basketball team and is now the boys basketball coach. “A lot of times it was off the record.”

He was determined to get as many athletes in the newspaper as possible. A story was more than just the score, win and loss record, and who led the team in points. It was about giving the community an opportunity to relive that game through the players and coaches.

“He was always great at making sure I sounded good and the kids were well represented,” said Louie Mori, who coached the wrestling program in the 1990s. “I didn’t like being the center so if I said can you talk to one of the kids or another coach, he would. He was great to work with. He did a super job with us and made sure we got some good publicity. He didn’t just pick a couple kids. He picked everybody.”

For a small town like Fallon, getting mentioned in the newspaper was a big deal for a lot of the players. You became an instant celebrity and would be approached in the store by a stranger congratulating you on the big win. It’s moments like those that stand out to de Braga.

“As an athlete years ago, and as a coach now, I get approached by many strangers congratulating me on achievements,” de Braga said. “It really makes you feel ‘big time’ because you get to be ‘famous’ that you were in the paper. Our community loves to see accomplishments from athletes and I believe the athletes truly deserve to be credited for their hard work.”

And unfortunately, the losses and heartbreaks were part of the job and still needed to be reported.

When Mori’s team lost to Cimarron-Memorial in the final bout of the 1999 Super State meet in Elko, the team was crushed. Those who didn’t make the trip to Elko that weekend, though, were still able to experience the agonizing defeat because of Ranson’s storytelling.

“To have him there, he knows what it was like during that last match. It was a crazy and pretty exciting thing,” Mori said. “Those articles, I still reread some of that stuff. There were times when I had to pretty much write the article to get it into the paper. With him, I just had to get him some information and he took care of the rest.”

Almost 20 years later, the loss still stings but not as much. What Fallon was able to do competing against schools almost three times its size was remarkable. Having those articles to relive brings Mori back to one of the best times in his coaching career.

“It was awesome. I was proud of those boys,” Mori said. “Even though we ended up short, it was pretty good. All those kids in that team, the team before and the team after, they all turned out to be really good men and people.”

And it wasn’t just a job to him, reporting on the local youth day in and day out. His passion for the community showed during the 2015 state championship when Fallon held on for the win. As the clock wound down, Ranson put his arm around de Braga, both realizing the Greenwave became state champs for the first time in almost 40 years.

“One of my favorite pictures I have is of him and I hugging after we won the football state championship,” de Braga said.

For many years covering Fallon sports, it was more than just reporting the numbers. Ranson cared about the community and readers could sense that anytime they picked up a newspaper and read the first paragraph after his byline. It was as if you were on the sidelines with him.


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