If you were among those Rim Country baseball fans watching on television, the Memorial Day game between the Arizona Diamond-backs and Atlanta Braves, you probably marveled at the pre-game flyover of four T-38 Air Force jets.
Guess who was piloting the lead aircraft soaring over Turner Field?
It was former Payson High School baseball and football star Bryan Zumbro.
The PHS graduate is now an Air Force First Lieutenant and an instructor at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma.
He and three other pilots were selected to make the missing man formation flyover to honor American troops on Memorial Day.
Zumbro graduated from Payson High School in 2000 and received a bachelor's degree in 2004 from the U.S. Air Force Academy.
His goal since he was a student at PHS was to someday become an Air Force aviator.
"That's what I always wanted," he said, "that, and to play baseball."
As a junior at PHS, he started at center for the undefeated Longhorn football team that won the Class 3A state crown.
Months later, he pitched the Longhorns to the school's only state baseball championship.
In addition to his pitching prowess, he was an accomplished power hitter, swatting 16 home runs his junior year.
Zumbro continued his baseball career during his tenure at the Air Force Academy.
In Payson, he was also an honor roll student during his elementary, middle school and high school years.
He especially excelled in math, taking all the advanced placement classes Payson schools offered.
Primarily because of his athletic and academic excellence in high school, Zumbro was awarded an USAF Academy scholarship, estimated at the time to be worth $376,000.
In October of 2006, Zumbro married Sara Langhals of Brentwood, Calif.
In attendance at the wedding were many of his old Payson friends and teammates.
Town to host sand volleyball
Town recreation coordinator Patrick Walker is wrapping up plans for the summer sand volleyball league.
Walker says, games will be played 6 to 10 p.m. Monday evenings beginning June 16. The host expects regular season play to continue for six weeks and a postseason championship tournament to be held.
The format will be coed, 4-on-4 and all players must be at least 16 years of age.
Of the four players on the teams, at least one girl must be on the court at all times.
There will be no officials, so players will be asked to call their own game on the honor system.
If disputes do occur, Walker will be on site to resolve them.
"I usually just say ‘play it over,'" he said.
The fee is $80 and registration must be completed before today, May 30, at the P&R department.
For more information, call Walker at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.
Tennis on tap
Mark Chua, of Fountain Hills, who is a United States Professional Tennis Association certified instructor, will teach a summer tennis program sponsored by the Town of Payson P&R department.
Chua has more than 18 years of tennis experience as a player and coach. Among his credits is that he once trained under world-renowned coach Nick Bollettieri.
"He has also coached multiple top-50 nationally ranked juniors," town recreation coordinator Joseph Harris said.
The program is open to aspiring players in third through 12th grade.
Sessions will be held, beginning June 4, on Wednesdays at 1, 2 and 3 p.m.
"It will be on a first-come, first-served basis," Harris said. "As soon as one time-slot fills up, we'll move on to the next one."
The class curriculum is expected to include the different skills needed to improve all aspects of the campers' game including forehand, backhand, serving, volleys, slices, singles and doubles play, footwork and strategy.
Registration, which ends May 30, may be completed at the town P&R offices located at Green Valley Park. The fee is $25.
For more information, call Harris at (928) 474-5242, ext. 359.