Williams’ generosity revisits Northern Nevada
Too often we see big-named athletes or coaches forget were their success started.
They act like we never existed and the past belongs in the past. Consumed by greed and wanting the highest contract in the business, these precious athletes and coaches are nothing more than lost and empty souls surfacing the closest football or baseball field.
But we live in an area where this isn’t a problem.
Last year, several of Fallon’s best student-athletes visited the Lahontan Valley for the Hometown Heroes run. They mingled with the community, signed autographs and posed for pictures. They gave advice and pointers to youngsters wanting to taste some of that success achieved on the collegiate and professional levels.
The kind act of generosity and donating time back to your roots happened again this month in Reno.
One of Nevada’s best baseball players, Matt Williams, made another return to the Silver State last week to speak at the University of Nevada’s annual Bobby Dolan baseball dinner fundraiser. Williams, who in his first year with the Nationals took home the Manager of the Year award, spoke to the Wolf Pack baseball team prior to the dinner, retelling his story of how he made it to the majors.
Williams came out of Carson City, and the “Carson Crusher” was as formidable as imaginable on the high school field. He picked up a scholarship at UNLV and then made his debut with the Giants in the 1980s. Other stops included Cleveland and Arizona, where he won a World Series title over the Yankees in 2001, and spent several years as an assistant coach with the Diamondbacks. His big break came two years ago when he was named Washington’s manager and then led the team to a first-place finish in the NL East before losing to the eventual world champs, San Francisco, in the divisional round.
Williams never lost sight that if it weren’t for Carson City and its coach, Ron McNutt, none of this would have happened. He became of the state’s greatest baseball players and had a great playing career. His first year with Washington was only the beginning of great things to come as the Nationals will enter this season as a favorite to win the World Series.
Last week wasn’t the first time Williams graced his presence at a fundraiser to help Northern Nevada sports.
Williams visited Reno a couple years ago before his final season with the Diamondbacks and was the featured speaker at the Western Nevada College dinner fundraiser. And in 2009 when the Reno Aces debuted, Williams came back to attend the team’s MLB World Series party.
His message has been the same at these events. Hard work and dedication will help people achieve their goals. But more important than reaching those goals is remembering where they came from. Without that support and belief from your family, friends and community, you’re nothing.
Williams’ generosity continues to inspire Northern Nevada athletics, whether it’s speaking at a college fundraiser or revisiting the city he grew up and rekindling memories with his former coach.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at email@example.com.