Memories of WNC Athletics: Why I love the Wildcats
Editor’s Note: Throughout the rest of 2016 Western Nevada College baseball and softball seasons, which is the last for WNC athletics, the Appeal is featuring columns every Sunday from those who are sharing their memories of the programs.
Sports, what a metaphor for life. I love all sports, one of my favorite guilty pleasures is Mike & Mike on ESPN. The stories are multi dimensional. The journey of an athlete can resonate our own story.
I believe that’s why we continue to enjoy motion pictures that tell the story of overcoming odds, having unwavering vision towards a goal most would see unattainable. Getting up early, running in the rain, sacrificing a party to go the cages, studying film or winning a fight that was all but won by the reigning champion. It sparks a fire in us to reignite our own dreams. We all love and need sports whether we ever touch a ball a day in our life.
The venue for our selected sport is personal, whether on grass or in a stadium. Again, just a metaphor. My personal favorite of all sports is baseball. It’s a thinking man’s game. It’s a game where you fail more than you succeed and hitting .300 can get you in the Hall of Fame.
I have a personal love and connection. My son had the opportunity to play D1 baseball. As we went through the process of recruiting, we understood the enormous gift college athletics were. At the time of his signing the stats were 1 percent of all high school athletes go on to play in college. That’s a gift, and so is the amazing junior college program at WNC.
I attended games at the field in Carson City, watching stellar players who were well coached. Growing up and living in this area my entire life, I cherish the idea our local college provides dreams to continue sports after high school. Not only did the young program gain the reputation as a competitive program from its inception, it remained ranked. Amazing recruiting of quality young players, well coached on the field and who were expected to behave like gentleman who were proud to wear the Wildcats mascot.
One of my favorite events every year was the fundraiser held in January. Helaine Jesse Morres would reach out to current and retired MLB players to speak at the evening event. With generous private auction items and raffle tickets. I have sorely missed this evening.
The college became a real campus of youth and energy. It changed the culture of the school for the better. I have been sad to hear of the end of this program. A lot of hard work and fundraising was implemented to make this dream, the field and grandstands a true reality. The athletes, what can I say. This breaks my heart. I personally know how the pride and joy of a college athletic career can mold a young life.
Most of these kids will end their careers when they complete college, hence why they’re called student-athletes. Most go onto be professionals in life. However, the character and integrity that has been part of the WNC baseball program lives in the legacy so proudly built by the coaching staff. They say dreams without a goal are just a wish, so we can’t forget the youngsters who grow up in our area who have been inspired to work hard and play for the WNC program.
It was a reachable goal for those talented enough and driven. This whole story is a shame and from what I can tell not necessary. I’m not sure exactly what went wrong. I know personally, I haven’t attended a fundraising event for the program in years. This was fixable. There were those willing to get it back on track. Ordinary people capable of extraordinary things. My heart breaks for the school as a true and diverse campus, for the athletes, coaches and fans. And, for the founding group of individuals who synergistically came together to make this the amazing program it was. So much has been lost.