by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL
The Rockford High School football program continued the longstanding tradition of holding an annual “Hots & Brats” fundraising event last Friday evening. Held each year at the Ted Carlson Memorial Football Stadium the week prior to the start of football season, the event gathers current football team members along with their families and supporters from the greater Rockford Community.
After a late afternoon team practice scrimmage, all in attendance were invited to the concession area of the stadium where picnic seating waited for the serving up of the event’s annual fare – grilled hot dogs and brats with all the trimmings along with chips, soft drinks or water, and don’t forget the dessert.
“First and foremost, this annual event is meant to honor the kids who will participate in the 2010 football season,” said emcee Don Cadwell, adding, “It’s all about the kids, watching them grow and work together as a team to uphold the tradition of excellence we’ve all come to expect from the Rockford High School football program.”
Long-time Rockford Football Booster Rick Ettinger (class of 1979) tells us, “The annual event is sponsored by the wonderful peoples and businesses of the Rockford Community. School districts from all over the state of Michigan are jealous of the Rockford football program and the outstanding community participation and sponsorship that makes it possible each and every year.”
Coach Ralph Munger then took the mic and expressed his appreciation to parents, grandparents, and the entire Rockford community for their time, their help, and their donations that were freely given to the players, coaches, and staff of the Rockford football team. “Rockford couldn’t be a great team without the total package,” said Coach Munger. He then directed everyone’s attention to a large sponsorship banner that named 94 fine area merchants who had sponsored the evening’s festivities and encouraged everyone present to patronize the generous civic-minded businesses.
“Practices indicate we are currently a good team,” said Munger, “but good is not acceptable. We are working, not to be good but rather, to be great!” To work towards that end, Munger then announced the team motto for the 2010 season – “Stand and Deliver”.
Speaking of community support Lyle English and his mother, Rose Grindle, were called front and center. Lyle, a 1976 graduate of Rockford High School, and mom Rose are widely recognized as “Superfans” of all of the athletic teams in the Rockford School System. Lyle and Rose have attended most every Varsity athletic event, both home and away, for as long as anyone present could remember.
Lyle was on hand Friday evening to present Coach Munger with a stained glass panel to, “personally honor Coach Munger for the past 19 years of football coaching excellence.” Lyle had crafted a two-tone green 2’ x 3’ stained glass panel depicting the turf of the midfield section of the Ted Carlson Memorial Football Stadium, complete with yard line markings. Proudly displayed in the center was the orange and black iconic Rockford “R”. It was beautiful and Munger seemed genuinely moved.
Lyle is an accomplished stained glass craftsman and in recent years, on his own time and using his own funds, has created and presented stained glass “R” panels of appreciation to graduating senior lettermen who participated in football and basketball as well as girls softball. Not to be left out, were numerous coaches and even Rockford Schools’ Superintendent Michael Shibler, himself. When asked how many panels in number he has made, Lyle answered, “There were so many, I’ve honestly lost track.”
Lyle loves his hometown Rockford, his high school alma mater, and the athletic programs of the Rockford School system. To say that he and his mother, Rose, are “Superfans” would be an understatement.
Seek out Lyle and his mom and thank them for years of support. You’ll find them seated, before anyone else arrives, on the 50-yard line during the upcoming football season.