Ex-Wave stars eager to give back | NevadaAppeal.com

Ex-Wave stars eager to give back

Success, too often, corrupts some of the best people in the world.

Athletes tend to let the fame and money dictate their behavior, making them forget where everything started and if not for a couple of breaks while growing up, none of it would have happened. We see it every day in sports as professional athletes are not who they used to be. From taking drugs to keep up with the ever-changing athletic landscape to needing to buy a six-figure car just because they can, athletes do more harm than good, especially when young children are searching for a perfect role model.

The athletes who hail from the Lahontan Valley, however, don’t forget those who helped them reach star status, which makes Fallon unique.

With some of the country’s best athletes coming into town on Saturday for the Hometown Hero Fun Run and Walk, members of the community will witness again, or for the first time, why playing for the Greenwave is special. All of the athletes coming on Saturday played for the Greenwave, including an Olympic triple jumper, national volleyball champ and professionals from the softball, women’s basketball, football and golf circuits.

The one-day event begins with registration at 8 a.m. at the high school, but participants can register in advance today for a chance to win a variety of raffle prizes at the Fallon Auto Mall from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Funds raised will help offset some of the costs associated with playing sports.

Anyone can participate in the fun run and walk, as well as activities to get up and close to some of Fallon’s best, including professional softball player Jodi Dolan, NCAA volleyball national champion Jennifer Hucke, NFL linebacker Josh Mauga, professional golfer Scott Smith, former WNBA player and NCAA champion Paige Sauer and Olympic triple jumper Aarik Wilson.

“It’s a really cool experience. It’s what I love about Fallon,” Hucke said. “It’s a small-town community. It’s going to be a great experience and it will be good to see people I haven’t in a long time.”

What makes Fallon a great community is not just the amazing athletes it produces every year.

The Greenwave turns out many great teams, including a few state championships and berths last season, as well as several college-bound student-athletes. Every now and then, you see some athletes break the mold after college and reach the professional stage, like Jade Corkill, who couldn’t attend because he’s roping in the Reno Rodeo on Saturday.

What separates Fallon from most happens off the field when these professional and college athletes return home. They don’t hesitate to give back to the community.

Either coming back through coaching, like Trevor de Braga and Ryan McCormick this past year, or to help raise funds or awareness, Fallon-bred athletes never miss a beat.

When Wilson returned from the Beijing Olympics six years ago after an injury prevented him from reaching the final jumps, he made it a priority to come back to Fallon and thank everyone who supported and cheered him on. He personally reached out and thanked everyone in attendance at Oats Park and then recently came back to instruct youngsters about the importance of eating right.

“It’s always fun to come to town and get to be involved in positive events,” Wilson said. “I always love getting to see the kids in town. They make my day every time.”

These ex-Greenwave stars haven’t lost sight of one of the most important aspects of achieving this kind of success. It can either corrupt and destroy you, or it can make you a stronger and even more humble and grateful human being.

Thomas Ranson can be contacted at lvnsports@yahoo.com.