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Vaught’s note: Media personality Ryan Lemond has a unique perspective on recent UK football commit Landon Young. Enjoy Lemond’s memories and emotional story that offer insights into Young that no one else in the media can match. It’s a heart-warming story about Young, and also shows why Lemond is so good at his job because he understands what really matters in sports, too.
By RYAN LEMOND
One of the greatest thrills I’ve ever had as a dad is coaching my son’s baseball teams. It’s just been a special time for my boys and me — away from the house, away from mom, just some special “father/son time”.
One of my favorite teams was when my oldest son, Gavin, was 8. I got to coach his all-star team that summer, the South Lexington Legends. South Lexington had three all-star teams, and we were the ”third level” team. We knew we weren’t going to win any tournaments. We knew we weren’t going to even win many games. We knew we were primarily playing for the ”fun of the game”.
We had a great group of kids, and we had a great group of parents. It was a special summer, and after a summer of spending every single weekend at the ballpark, I was sad to see that season come to an end.
My first baseman on that team was a tall, lanky kid by the name of Landon Young. He was taller than all the other kids, and he was as tall as me as an 8 year old (which reallly isn’t saying much, I guess). Landon was a little awkward at times. He was a little slow, but he could sure hit, and he could catch, so that’s when I made the incredibly intelligent decision to bat him clean up and play first base (a genius move that even the non-baseball parent knew was a good decision)
But there was obviously more to Landon than just being the biggest kid on the team. There was also more to Landon than just his baseball talent of being a good hitter at that age, and being able to play first base. There was a LOT more to him as a person.
Even at age 8, Landon was always saying, “yes sir” and “no sir.” He was always incredibly respectful and very mature for his age. A lot of this can obviously be credited to his parents, who are some of the finest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.
He also listened, and let us coach him. He wanted to get better. He was unbelieveably coachable. You knew when you were talking to him that he was listening, and that he was going to work harder and get better after understanding what you were coaching him to do.
He worked extremely hard. Anyone who knows what it’s like to play baseball in June and July knows it gets very hot, and can sometimes not be very fun. Not once do I ever remember him complaining. Not once did I ever hear him say he “didn’t” want to do something. As a matter of fact, he was “always” ready to play.
Work ethic, pride, being respectful, being a good teammate, being a good friend — that is what I remember most about my time with Landon Young on the baseball team that summer. It really had nothing to do with baseball at all. It had to do with being one of the most respectful and hard working young men I’ve ever been around. Even today, some 7 years later, when he sees me and talks to me, it’s as if I’m still his coach. He still listens to what I am saying, and says, “yes sir” and “no sir’, and even still calls me “coach Ryan”.
I’m not surprised at all that Landon was offered a football scholarship to UK as a sophomore-to-be. Those who know his work ethic and his heart are not surprised at all. I’m not surprised in the least that he is nationally ranked in the discus and shot put for his age, and I was also not surprised when his dad called me and said, “Landon just finished runner-up in the state in wrestling in the heavyweight as a freshman.”
Good things happen to good people! Good things happen to those people who work hard! That’s why good things are happening to Landon Young.
All I ask is just please don’t forget all us little people, like the South Lexington Legends, that can’t wait to go along on this ride with you.
Thanks big fella. I’m proud of you. We’re all proud of you!