Tag Archive for: Christmas


PEPPER PIKE, OH- In an exclusive player profile interview for YSN, Orange High School’s swimming sensation and senior, Nina Deshpande, shared her ambitions and preparations for her final year in high school swimming.

Deshpande, a state qualifier last year, is no stranger to success. As she gears up for her senior year, she faces the challenge of surpassing her previous achievements and making her mark in the swimming world.

Reflecting on her successful junior year, Deshpande emphasized the importance of dedication and effort in every practice. “Every practice matters,” she stated. Deshpande admitted feeling the pressure to maintain her stellar performance and secure a place in the state competition once again. Moreover, she revealed her determination to qualify for the finals, a goal she narrowly missed last year.

As a senior, Deshpande recognizes the added responsibility of being a role model and leader for her younger teammates. She strives to create a positive and supportive environment, encouraging her peers to perform their best both in and out of the pool. Deshpande mentioned team bonding activities as a crucial element in fostering camaraderie within the team.

When asked about her competitive drive, Deshpande attributed it to her early exposure to swimming and the highly competitive swimming community she grew up in. Having trained alongside talented athletes, both older and younger, she has developed a strong sense of competition that fuels her desire to excel.

Outside of her swimming pursuits, Deshpande enjoys indulging in her favorite pastime: shopping. Target, being her go-to store, offers her both online and in-person retail therapy.

As the holiday season approaches, Deshpande revealed her excitement for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. While she appreciates the delicious foods associated with Thanksgiving, her favorite being mashed potatoes, she also looks forward to celebrating the festive spirit during Christmas.

The dedicated athlete credited her family for their unwavering support throughout her swimming journey. She mentioned her older brother, a talented athlete himself, and her mother, who introduced her to swimming and always encouraged her to strive for her best. Deshpande expressed her desire to make her family proud with her accomplishments in the pool.

In conclusion, Deshpande’s determination, leadership qualities, and relentless drive make her a force to be reckoned with in the competitive swimming world. As she enters her final year of high school swimming, all eyes will be on Deshpande as she aims to surpass her previous achievements and leave a lasting legacy in Orange High School’s swimming program.




CANFIELD, OH- The South Range Raiders have found themselves a defensive gem in junior standout Troy Combs. Known for his hard-hitting tackles and game-changing interceptions, Combs is quickly gaining attention as a generational talent in the football community.

Combs, hailing from a family that bleeds Raider pride, has followed in the footsteps of his older brother Matthias, a notable wide receiver who left a lasting impression on the team. In a recent interview at Giangelo’s in Boardman, Combs expressed gratitude for his brother’s influence and praised his character both on and off the field.

Reflecting on his growth throughout the season, Combs admitted that early on, he struggled with patience and would often get juked out or penalized for holding. However, under the guidance of coach Rocks, Combs has evolved into a more composed and patient player, allowing him to make impactful plays.

What sets Combs apart is his ability to not only deliver bone-crushing hits but also showcase his speed and agility when intercepting passes. When asked to choose between laying a hit or making an interception, Combs unhesitatingly expressed his love for setting the tone with a big hit, believing it sends a powerful message to the opposing team.

Looking ahead to the playoffs, Combs emphasized the importance of continuous improvement and building a stronger bond with his teammates. He acknowledged the challenge posed by their upcoming fearless opponents and expressed excitement for the opportunity to showcase his skills against a team that throws the ball frequently.

Combs credits the close-knit bond among the South Range Raiders as a catalyst for their success. Their unique practice methods, such as “squeezing and spilling,” instill trust and belief in each other, making them a formidable force on the field.

Beyond football, Combs has his sights set on a future in architecture or graphic design, citing his love for building Legos as the inspiration behind his interest. With his dedication and talent on the gridiron, Combs undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of him, with football being a potential opportunity for success.

As the South Range Raiders continue their journey in the playoffs, Troy Combs remains focused on making a lasting impact on the team while constantly striving for personal growth. With his exceptional defensive skills and unwavering dedication, Combs is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with in high school football.




BOARDMAN, OH- This week we’ll be profiling Aaron Glista, an impressive offensive lineman who embodies the true essence of being a Spartan. Join us as we explore his journey, from his love for Spirit Week to his passion for football and the energy he feels when playing in front of his supportive school.

We’ll also learn about his family dynamics, his favorite holiday traditions, and even some interesting insights into his potential future career as a history teacher.

Get ready to be inspired by Aaron’s dedication and love for the game as we delve deep into his player profile.



By Scotty Mincher


Bells are ringing once again, and It’s that time of year when people are going bananas, and are infected with the spirit of Christmas. As a great man that I know likes to say “Givin is Livin.” Even though I wholeheartedly agree with that statement, The beauty of Christmas is that if you’re fortunate enough during the holiday, you get to enjoy the best of both worlds of giving as well as receiving gifts. For all those people who are fanatics like I am, The combination of gifts in connection to sports gives the combo of chocolate and peanut butter a run for its money. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve found sports to be fascinating, So I’m always ecstatic to receive any gift that even remotely pertains to sports. I enjoyed the T.V. show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” it was during my pre and early teen years that I watched the show and because I’ve always been compelled to learn as much as I can about the history of sports that I’m intrigued by, the sports version of who wants to be a millionaire? For my PC Is one of my favorite sports gifts from my early youth. All of the Frowns, Cavs, and Indians jerseys I received over the years from my parents and my brother, as well as my lucky Buckeye beads I was gifted in 2002, are just some of the best of the rest as far as all-time sports presents go. Now on, to the best sports gifts for 2019!

The Buckeyes march to the College football playoff has been a terrific treat for any Ohio State fan like myself as they continue to strive for their second national title in the CFP era. Being able to attend what a new friend of mine Astutely called the most notorious Browns Steelers game in history, was in numerous ways pretty special too. But being able to attend this year’s baseball All-Star game in my second home of Cleveland Ohio take’s the cake in my mind. Not only did I get to watch the most star players I’ve ever seen on one field shine under the bright lights. I witnessed a touching tribute to Indians starting pitcher Carlos ‘Cookie’ Carrasco, in route to him overcoming his battle with cancer and winning Major League Baseball’s comeback player of the year award, To go along with Carrasco’s teammate Shane Bieber flourishing As the hometown hero as he struck out the side of the National League All-Stars batting order to lock up the ASG MVP. I’ve always been fortunate enough to be able to rock plenty of sweet looking jerseys over the years and getting a Color Rush Jarvis Landry jersey from my dad this year was a highlight for my sports year. But nothing was quite like watching the best of the best going at it in my favorite sport to watch in person at the gem of a stadium that is Progressive Field, which I still call the Jake by the way, As it ranks as my best sports present of 2019.

It’s hard to think that there’s anyone out there that doesn’t like getting presents for Christmas, with stocking stuffers being an underrated part of the holiday joy in my mind. I’ve already been blessed and have received two great stocking stuffer type gifts this year courtesy of friends that include A new Cavs Lantern that goes great with my 2016 Cavs championship lantern, To go along with some Baker Mayfield socks. I also really like hats and have a pretty big sports hat collection that has made up a good portion of the stocking stuffers given to me over the years, and was kindly gifted a new YSN hat this year that adds to my collection.

Speaking of YSN, it should come as no surprise to any YSN followers that joining on board the team was and is another big present for me this year. Ever since the beginning, I’ve always been very opinionated, when it comes to sports and always had a major thirst for it. Getting my start as a summer intern with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in 2010, It was there I scored the baseball games and helped put videos up on the jumbotron. A couple of months down the road I started working for the Purple Cat. It was at Pearl Street on the east side of Youngstown where I’m ended up joining the team and started working at their new radio station. Being part of a team that conducted a sports radio show two days a week along with other adults with disabilities was unique. All the experience on goldenstringradio.org helps me ease into things with the team at YSN in 2019 at it’s been a real pleasure to talk sports and come up with different facts for the social media pages at YSN. for more on that you can check out ysnlive.com along with YSN’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

As we try to wrap up and put a shiny Christmas bow on this story, I wanna go over some of the best all-time sports presents for myself and my family. Earlier in this story, I mentioned my dad and the cool Browns jersey I got from him at the Browns Steelers game back in November, but one of the best sports with him was one of the earliest sports moments of my life. I went to my first MLB game with my dad as we watched our Indians take on the Red Sox in 1998. The Indians would lose a close one that day 3-2 but I’ll always remember the juggernaut that was the Cleveland lineup when I was a kid in the ’90s led by the likes of Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome and Omar Vizquel just to name a few studs. The Red Sox were led by former American League MVP Mo Vaughn and 1997 rookie of the year Nomar Garciaparra so they weren’t exactly too shabby themselves. The two of us will never forget how talented those players were on the field and that’s why my first baseball game with my dad will always be a great sports highlight and present for both of us. The best sports present for my mom was taking me to the Cavs second Eastern Conference Finals clinching game in 2015. The Cavs would go on to hammer the Hawks 118-88 led by Kyrie Irving, Triston Thompson, and of course King James. The arena was electric all night and it quickly was booming with Happiness and it was the beginning of a historic Cavs run that my mom and I will always cherish.

As far as my sister goes based on our personal experience I would say that seeing a Browns win together in person on my birthday is at the top of the list. The game was played on November 28, 2010, and it ended in a Browns win which is rare, coupled with a W on my birthday which might never happen again. Arguably the Browns most fun one-hit-wonder and Madden cover boy Peyton Hillis rushed for 131 yards and three touchdowns and kicker John Kasay missed a 42 yarder as time expired as the Browns got the 24-23 victory. It always nice to see the Browns get a win, but my sister and I will never forget that before Baker came along there once was Hillismania in Cleveland. We’ve yet to get to my brother, And one of his favorites when it comes to a present I bought for him, a retro Kenny Lofton GV art and design t-shirt. That ties into the greatest sports gift my brother and I received together in our lifetime. I got him the shirt a few years ago and it was around the same time that we witnessed one of the greatest moments in Tribe playoff history. We both went to game 2 of the 2017 ALDS in Cleveland between the Indians and the Yankees. The Indians trailed 8-3 in the bottom of the sixth inning when their star shortstop Francisco Lindor belted a grand slam off the foul pole against Yankees relief pitcher Chad green that would shake the stadium and send the fans into a frenzy. Jay Bruce would follow with a solo shot to tie the game in the 8th and catcher Yan Gomes would later smoke a walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th for the win. The Lofton shirt and the game connects the Indian’s past and more recent glory days, topped off by their run to the World Series in 2016. But my brother and I think 2017 was unforgettable too, as we watch a 22 game regular-season winning streak and were apart of what was the loudest baseball environment we’d ever been in on that memorable playoff night in 2017.

It’s been a great sports ride these last few years, and hopefully, like me, everybody has been blessed with a great sports moment in 2019. Because sports is always the gift that keeps on giving!


By Scotty Mincher


I believe that as the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said: “Without music, life would be a mistake.” It seems that everybody likes to jam and rock out to their favorite tunes, especially before watching or playing in a big game or celebrating a great team victory. If you’re the type of person that likes all kinds of music, The Christmas season is one to savor, with plenty of carols and music tracks to go around. A lot like entertainment and sports It almost feels like music and sports are somewhat synonymous. This week we’ll break down all the world-renowned Christmas classics that tie in with sports.

The fact that I’m from the Youngstown area and fans in Youngstown are split 50-50 on their allegiance to the organization that I like to call the Cleveland Frowns and the Pittsburgh Steelers, Our first song choice is an obvious one for local sports fans. If you’ve watched any of the Browns Steelers games this year, it’s easy to see that the games haven’t lacked personality. Christmas songs are touted for their charisma and the leadoff hitter in this story is no different. Song number one ties into the Steelers franchise. You guessed it, This hit features Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer and Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph. As far as the song goes, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a song by songwriter Johnny Marks based on the 1939 story Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer published by the Montgomery Ward Company. Gene Autry‘s recording hit No. 1 on the U.S. charts the week of Christmas 1949. In 1939, Marks’ brother-in-law, Robert L. May, created the character Rudolph as an assignment for Montgomery Ward and Marks decided to adapt the story of Rudolph into a song. English singer-songwriter and entertainer Ian Whitcomb interviewed Marks on the creation of the song in 1972. The song had an added introduction, paraphrasing the poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” (public domain by the time the song was written), stating the names of the eight reindeer which went:

“You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen,

Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen,

But do you recall, The most famous reindeer of all?”

The song was first sung by crooner Harry Brannon on New York City radio in early November 1949,[citation needed] before Gene Autry‘s recording hit No. 1 in the U.S. charts during Christmas 1949. As for Mason Rudolph, at this point in his career, he’ll almost certainly be remembered only for his role in the brawl with Cleveland Browns star defensive end Myles Garrett, Which would climax with Garrett striping Rudolph of his helmet and hitting him over the head with it. Rudolph played college football at Oklahoma State, where he was a three-year starter and won the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award during his last year. He was selected by the Steelers in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He spent the 2018 season as the Steelers third-string quarterback and did not see any game action in the regular season. Before the 2019 season, he was promoted to the main back-up to long-time starter Ben Roethlisberger.

In week 2 of the 2019 season, Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending injury, and Rudolph was named the starting quarterback in his place. He’s been far from great as a starter. He ranks 31st in the league in passing yards, 29th in touchdowns, and 31st in QBR which stands for quarterback rating. I hope everyone enjoyed a little history on the song Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and the connection with Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph.

As we move on to song number two and the connection an NFL player has with it, We take a look at defensive lineman Frostee Rucker and that means that of course, the next tune on our list is Frosty the Snowman. It is a popular Christmas song written by Walter “Jack” Rollins and Steve Nelson, and first recorded by Gene Autry and the Cass County Boys in 1950 and later recorded by Jimmy Durante. It was written after the success of Autry’s recording of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” the previous year; Rollins and Nelson shipped the new song to Autry, who recorded “Frosty” in search of another seasonal hit. Like “Rudolph”, “Frosty” was subsequently adapted to other media including a popular television special by Rankin/Bass Productions, Frosty the Snowman. The ancillary rights to Frosty are owned by Warner Bros., but due to the prominence of the Rankin/Bass TV special itself, merchandising of the character is generally licensed in tandem with that special’s current owners, DreamWorks Classics. The song recounts the fictional tale of Frosty, a snowman who is brought to life by a magical silk hat that a group of children find and place atop his head. Frosty enjoys roaming throughout the town with the children who constructed him, only stopping once at a crosswalk when the policeman directing traffic orders pedestrians to stop. Frosty finally says goodbye to the children and comforts them, promising he will be back again someday. Although Autry’s original recording does not explain the reason for Frosty’s departure, later versions have lyrics that attribute it to the hot sun.

Although it is generally regarded as a Christmas song, the original lyrics make no mention of the holiday (some renditions, like that in the 1969 Rankin/Bass TV special, change the lyric “I’ll be back again someday” to “I’ll be back on Christmas Day”). The song supposedly takes place in White Plains, New York, or Armonk, New York; Armonk has a parade dedicated to Frosty annually.

It has been covered as an instrumental by the Canadian Brass, with founder Charles Daellenbach taking on the persona of Frosty, and repeatedly calling “One more time!” (“You know what happens when Frosty gets ‘hot'”), and then starting to collapse (“I think he’s melting” — “You know what happens when Frosty gets hot”). It was also covered by the Hampton String Quartet on their inaugural album, What if Mozart Wrote ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’.

On the football side of things, Frostee Rucker is currently a free agent. He played college football at USC and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of the 2006 NFL Draft. Rucker has also played for the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, and Oakland Raiders. Frostee, named after poet Robert Frost, went to Tustin High School in Tustin, California, which DeShaun Foster, Matt McCoy, Chris Chester, and Sam Baker also attended. He played running back and linebacker at Tustin High School and was named All-Golden West League MVP as a Senior in 2000. He attended Santa Ana High School during his junior year and earned All-League honors as a linebacker. He played both his freshman and senior years at Tustin High. Frostee attended Colorado State as a redshirt freshman before transferring and playing at USC from 2002 to 2005. While in the NFL Frostee has recorded 300 total tackles, 21.5 career sacks, 8 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, and 1 interception.

The final stop on this holiday carol/player profile breakdown has connections to the city of Cleveland, As we look at cornerback Daven Holly and one of my few Christmas favorites, You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know it’s A Holly Jolly Christmas. “A Holly Jolly Christmas” (also called “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas“) is a Christmas song written by Johnny Marks and most famously performed by Burl Ives. The song has since become one of the Top 25 most-performed “holiday” songs written by ASCAP members, for the first five years of the 21st century. “A Holly Jolly Christmas” was written by Johnny Marks in 1962. It was the title song of The Quinto Sisters‘ first album Holly Jolly Christmas, recorded in June 1964 for Columbia Records, featuring guitarist Al Caiola with arrangements by Frank Hunter and Marty Manning. Those are just a few of many cool facts on one of the most popular holiday songs.

Switching to the gridiron, In past years that I watched Holly play most specifically His time In Cleveland, a good word to fit the way he played football against opponents was pesky. He played college football at Cincinnati and was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the seventh round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Holly also played for the Chicago Bears and the Browns as I previously mentioned. Holly attended Clairton High School where in his senior year made 45 receptions for 900 yards and seven touchdowns. Holly played college football at the University of Cincinnati. During his time there he played in 49 games making 85 tackles, nine interceptions and one touchdown on defense. He majored in communications. Holly was signed by the Cleveland Browns as a free agent on July 13. He proved to be a valuable addition to a position that was decimated with injury. In his first season with the Browns, he made 14 appearances and 12 starts during which he made 56 tackles and five interceptions which led the team, (one of his interceptions was returned for a touchdown versus the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 19). He also recorded his first fumble for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on December 24.  In the 2007 season, Holly appeared in 15 games with six starts. He made 47 tackles.

Well, we’ve come to the end of a brief history of Christmas Carols and how they connect with the pros, enjoy the holiday music and see you next time!   


P.S.-  Take a look at a few Christmas Carols that didn’t make the cut this year!


All I Want For Christmas Is You: Mariah Carey

Team: Pittsburgh Pirates


Baby, It’s Cold Outside-Idina Menzel

Team: Green Bay Packers


Silver Bells- Bing Crosby

Player: Le’Veon Bell


It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year- Andy Williams

Sport: Baseball


Jingle Bell Rock- Bobby Helms

Player: Dewayne “The Rock” Johnson