July 29, 2014

Elyria
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Can you spot the traitor? – Elyria native defies family and reason, roots for the Spurs

The Reynolds family is a house divided.
One brother leaves Elyria and falls for a new basketball team, the San Antonio Spurs. Two sisters and two brothers stay behind, remaining loyal to the Cavs.
Who would have imagined the two teams’ paths could cross like this, so many years later?
Listening to Gene Reynolds’ southern Texas drawl, it’s hard to believe he grew up in Elyria. But it’s been awhile since he graduated Elyria High in 1950; long enough, in fact, to convert him to a dyed-in-the-wool Spurs fan.
Gene joined the Air Force after high school — ending up in places on all corners of the map, from Alaska to Hawaii and even Germany.
After retiring from the military in 1973, Gene settled in San Antonio with his wife, Geraldine, so they could remain close to the now-closed Kelly Air Force Base. Although he has remained loyal to all other Ohio teams, the Spurs’ lock-tight defense and three NBA Championship wins were simply too much for any Texan to ignore, even if that Texan holds his roots in Cavs territory.
“I always get calls from my family in Ohio asking me if I need maroon and gold Cavs gear,” Gene said. “But I gotta root for the Spurs.”
Gene said he believes the Spurs have the advantage over Cleveland because beating the Utah Jazz in Game 5 provided his Spurs with some much-needed time to rest up before facing LeBron and the rest of the Cavs.
His family in Ohio may see things a little differently.
Gene’s two sisters, Bonnie Wallace and Evelyn Yancer, and one of Gene’s brothers, Larry Reynolds, were all together in Elyria, cheering on the Cavs as they knocked Detroit out of the playoffs.
Yancer said the mood was pure excitement. She couldn’t wait to call Gene after the game, and she’ll call him again after every game the Cavs win.
“I’ll razz him a lot,” Yancer said. “We’ll all call him and lay it on. He would do the same thing to us.”
Larry says the Spurs can rest all they want because the Cavs being a younger team means they can get out and push harder. Needless to say, the sibling rivalry is on.
“I’ll be calling him and he’ll be calling me,” Larry said. “We just enjoy harassing each other.”
For Gene and Larry, the friendly rivalry goes back further than this year’s postseason.
After graduating from Elyria High, Gene devoted his life to the Air Force, working in the intelligence department. Larry, meanwhile, joined the Marines in 1959, working as an aviation mechanic.
“That’s another friendly rivalry right there,” Larry said. “When he joined the service, I was proud of him. We both have a sense of duty to our country.”
Contact Ben Norris at 329-7155 or bnorris@chroniclet.com.

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060707family.jpg Courtesy of Helen Reynolds
From left are Leroy Reynolds, of Catawba, formerly of Amherst; Evelyn Yancer, of Elyria; Gene Reynolds, of San Antonio; Bonnie Wallace, of Elyria; and Larry Reynolds, of Elyria. Gene, in the middle, is the Spurs fan.