Lyons: Storyteller looking for stories to tell

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, June 29, 2016

For nearly 22 years now, I have been married to a coach.

Well, he doesn’t have a team at the present time, but he still is and always will be a coach.

One thing I have learned about coaches from being married to one for so long is they love to tell stories.

Oftentimes, it’s the same story over and over again, but that’s OK. A good story is a good story, no matter how many times you hear it.

They do love to rehash the big game, though, or remember the special player and, occasionally, rewrite history.

Coaches are natural storytellers.

So I guess it’s kind of apparent how a coach and a sports writer got together all those years ago, right? (It’s actually a cool story, too.)

While the title beneath my name may say “sports writer” or “sports editor,” I consider myself a storyteller.

Before I landed at L’OBSERVATEUR last fall, it was actually on my business card.

I still wrote stories about football, baseball, basketball and soccer players, and still covered games, but I also wrote stories about things off the field.

It was a learning experience.

Did you know that, in some places in the world, there is a black market for trees? I didn’t either until I was asked to write a story about it for a forestry magazine.

One day I went to see a leftover plane from World War II and ended up telling the story of a veteran who had been a gunner in one just like it.

I went to the zoo, and cried while writing the story of grieving families who were meeting the people who had received their loved one’s organs and released butterflies in their memory.

I also cried as I told the story of a local sheriff’s deputy who went to work one day and never came home.

Now I have returned to the sports beat full time, but I am still a storyteller.

I love writing about local members of the community who are doing good things, coaches who have retired and hung up their whistles and kids I covered long ago who have grown up and become parents and coaches themselves.

Many people remembered the twin girls who tore up the basketball court at St. Charles Catholic High and the young man who transferred from Reserve Christian to Riverside Academy and wondered what they were doing now. I was happy to tell you.

I also love that I never know where that next story will be found. Sure, the winning teams and winning player ones are obvious, but I’m always calling coaches to ask if there is a particularly interesting story about a player who is doing surprisingly well or had to overcome the odds to make the team.

Sometimes I interview one and find out about another.

Then there are those parents out there who think their kid is something special.

That’s how I found out about local boxer Alvin Varmall Jr., the East St. John High graduate who is undefeated as a professional boxer up north and is being compared to Mike Tyson.

Yes, his dad called me. He thought I should know how Alvin is doing. I thought our readers should know. His was a great story that ran in Saturday’s editions. (If you missed it, it’s also on our web site.)

I know there are other great stories out there about players, coaches, teams or even team moms or dads. I would love to tell those too.

So, whether you’re a mom, a dad, an aunt, an uncle or a coach, or even if your own horn needs tooting, don’t be shy.

Call me or email me and tell me your story so I can share it with our readers.

Lori Lyons is sports editor of L’OBSERVATEUR. She can be reached at 985-652-9545 or