Coach Happy After Tourney Success


First year Longhorn soccer coach Austin White has already learned not to take himself too seriously.

Following the Pioneer Title Invitational last week, White poked fun at himself saying, "All of Payson's soccer athletes have improved despite having a swim coach coaching them."

In the summer months, White is a lifeguard, and swimming teacher at Taylor Pool.

White also took the time to thank those in the community helped with the tournament, including Pioneer Title, Payson Elementary School, Town of Payson and Cucina Paradiso Fine Italian Eatery.

"We are very appreciative of all those who helped with the tournament," he said.

Pioneer Title sponsored the shoot-out, PES and the town allowed its playing fields to be used and Cucina Paradiso provided dinner for all the athletes, coaches and referees.

Register now for hoop play

The Town of Payson's Parks and Recreation Department is currently registering seventh and eighth grade children for recreational youth basketball league play. Games will be held on Saturdays and some weeknights in the Rim Country Middle School Gymnasium. Games tip off in early November and conclude prior to the school district's winter break.

Town officials tout the league as a great opportunity for youth to learn how to play in a positive, low-stress environment. Children are randomly placed on teams and everybody gets to play. There are no benchwarmers.

The fee is $20 per child and each participant receives a reversible basketball jersey and end-of-the-season pizza party. Volunteer coaches are needed. There is no charge for head coaches' children to participate.

Registration ends Oct. 13. Sign up can be completed at the Parks and Recreation Department at 1000 W. Country Club Drive today.

For more information, please contact the Payson Parks and Recreation Department at 474-5242 ext. 358.

Former teacher enters 60-mile walk

Former Rim Country Middle School counselor and teacher Ginger Sparks will join thousands of other dedicated women and men at the Phoenix Breast Cancer 3-Day walk, benefiting the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Philanthropic Trust.

The participants will walk 60 miles during three days to raise breast cancer awareness and to raise money for critical research and community outreach programs.

Sparks has been training for this walk since January 2006. The diagnosis came for her in July 2002, and she considers herself one of the lucky survivors.

"I decided to participate in this walk because my experience was so positive and I wanted others to see that it is possible to survive," Sparks said. "I have seen too many of my friends live for five years as if they were dying, and it does not have to be that way.

"In large part, I walk because I can."

This year, approximately 200,000 women and men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast Cancer 3-Day participants have an opportunity to celebrate breast cancer survivorship, honor those who lost their lives to the disease, and collectively have an enormous impact on funding for breast cancer programs.

"Knowing that the Komen Foundation and the Philanthropic Trust are involved in this walk reassures me that the funds will be used wisely," Sparks said. "I know that my effort will benefit men and women who need support and hope to fight this disease."

The Breast Cancer 3-Day in Phoenix will start on Friday morning, Nov. 3, and end with closing ceremonies on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 5. Thousands of walkers will cover about 20 miles a day, traveling at their own pace. The walkers will be supported by hundreds of volunteer crew members who will provide meals, water and snack stops, gear transport, hot showers, portable restrooms, safety on the streets and comprehensive medical services. In order to participate, each walker must train for the event and must commit to raising a minimum of $2,200. To help prepare for the Breast Cancer 3-Day, each walker is supported by coaches who assist in all aspects of training and fund-raising, while clinics, meetings, training sessions and mailings provide ongoing support.

To help Sparks reach her goal, make a donation directly to her donation page online at

To learn how to participate or volunteer with the Breast Cancer 3-Day, visit or call (800) 996-3DAY.

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