Labor of love earns Good Sports Award

0
40
Jane Pinho of Prospect holds up the game ball before the home crowd after Woodland won the first George Pinho Memorial Trophy over Naugatuck in October 2013. Jane Pinho will be honored by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance with the John Wentworth Good Sports Award April 26. –FILE PHOTO
Jane Pinho of Prospect holds up the game ball before the home crowd after Woodland won the first George Pinho Memorial Trophy over Naugatuck in October 2013. Jane Pinho will be honored by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance with the John Wentworth Good Sports Award April 26. –FILE PHOTO

PROSPECT — What began as a way to support her sons as a volunteer in the Pop Warner football program quickly turned into a labor of love.

Jane Pinho and her late husband, George, would spend most weekends in the fall piling their sons in the car and heading over to Canfield Park in Prospect. The boys would do battle on the gridiron learning the game of football while mom and dad ran the concession stand. Fourteen years later Jane Pinho still supports the Woodland Regional High School football program.

Her dedication has not gone unnoticed. On April 26 Jane Pinho will be one of six individuals to receive the John Wentworth Good Sports Award from the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance. The award is given in memory of the longtime sports editor of the New Britain Herald and honors individuals who have dedicated themselves and their time to helping their communities through sports.

Pinho will be honored at the 74th Gold Key Dinner at the Aqua Turf in Southington.

“This is so humbling to be recognized for something that I loved to do,” Pinho said. “I think George and I benefited from it just as much as the kids did. I’m a parent and I’m a doer, so it was only natural that I would support my sons in this way.”

Pinho recalled a time when the concession stand ran out of hot dog buns. She went to Oliver’s Market to get more rolls and when she returned her youngest son, Jack, was injured and had been taken away by ambulance.

“I wasn’t there when this happened and vowed that will never happen again,” Pinho said. “Soon after George became a coach and we got even more involved with the kids. It began with my oldest son Jacob when he was 8 years old and now he’s 22 and a senior at Central Connecticut still playing football. My son Jack is now in his freshman year at Springfield College running track, so I stay busy between the both of them.”

When Jacob and Jack Pinho went on to Woodland and become members of the Hawks football team, Jane got involved with the Touchdown Club and George became a volunteer assistant coach on the freshman team.

George later became a volunteer assistant coach on the varsity team. At the time of his death in January 2013, he was a paid coach for the football and basketball teams.

“Jane is a tremendous person and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award,” Woodland head football coach Tim Phipps said. “She has always been dedicated to Woodland football. Through the good and the bad she has always supported us.
“She has always been a positive influence and continues to impress me with the way she turned her loss into something that can support the students of Region 16. She remains a loyal fan and supporter not just of the football team, but of Woodland Regional High School.”

Pinho has helped raise funds for a scholarship in honor of her late husband through the George Pinho Memorial Golf Tournament. In two years the scholarship fund has raised $25,000.

“I still like to volunteer my time to the Woodland football program,” Pinho said. “With my sons in college I only make it to about half the games now. I’m surprised by this award and it stills feels a little awkward to be honored like this for doing something that I love to do.”

The 2015 Gold Key Dinner begins at 4 p.m. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased by contacting Matthew Conyers at (860) 874-4166 or mconyers@courant.com, or Tim Jensen at tim@enfieldsource.com. Tickets can also be obtained by mailing a check to Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance, P.O. Box 70, Unionville, CT 06085.