Lyle English

Football, Hots ‘n’ Brats, and Super Fans Two

August 25, 2011 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Last Friday evening’s annual kick-off to the Rockford High School (RHS) 2011 football season played out to everyone’s delight. Football players, their parents and grandparents, extended families, friends and Rockford football fanatics all enjoyed an evening of preseason community building fellowship. The Rockford Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium’s home seating section was packed and rocking in anticipation of yet another successful football season. The annual Hots ‘n’ Brats event began with a varsity football practice after which everyone present, including all of the RHS varsity football coaches and 2011 football team members, gathered on the stadium’s concourse for hotdogs and brats with all the trimmings. Following the meal, Head Coach Ralph Munger thanked the Hots ‘n’ Brats committee and invited everyone to relax and, as he put it, “Talk some football.” Moving on, Munger introduced the offensive and defensive team captains, Mark LaPrairie and Ben Braden respectively. Each, in turn, went on to introduce their teammates on either side of the line. Munger then introduced what he called “a great group of assistant coaches.” Next up was an unveiling of the team motto board, which was engraved with the 2011 inspirational motto: “1st Things 1st.” Coach Munger gave meaning to the motto in saying, “Keep first things first in all facets of life. It starts with your behavior and attitude in taking the first step, moving on to the first down, and carrying it over into your home and your community. Simply put, take care of things one at a time.” A highlight of the evening then followed as Coach Munger introduced two people who are “pretty special, not only to football but to all Rockford sports teams. They are at every game, rain or shine, sitting on the 50-yard line oftentimes bellowing encouragement and admonition to their beloved football team.” Lyle English and his mom Rose Grindle, both recognized as official “Super Fans,” were on hand to present a 14”x24” stained glass work of art to the eight-member assistant coaching staff. English, a 1976 RHS grad, has a many-year habit of creating and gifting stained glass pieces to varsity lettermen and head coaches. This year he wanted to recognize those who work unselfishly behind the scenes in assisting Coach Munger […]

Move over Tiffany, there’s a new kid on the block

April 1, 2009 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Rockford resident, Lyle English, has come a long way from the day almost five years ago when first he strolled into the Eric Brown Stained Glass Studio on Squire Street.  Lyle had peered through the windows many times and marveled at the beautiful stained glass creations on display inside and he wanted a closer look. In subsequent days Lyle returned to the store many times and was befriended by the store’s owner, stained glass artisan, Eric Brown.  Brown offered Lyle a job helping out around the shop and the rest, as they say, is history. Lyle began to sit in on the stained glass classes that were offered weeknights throughout the year.  He began to think that maybe he too, could acquire the skills necessary to create stained glass pieces. Prodded by Brown, Lyle began to take classes.  Lyle (now 51) says, “I was all thumbs at first but with Eric’s help and encouragement I stuck with it and got better.” Starting with simple sun-catchers, Lyle’s skills steadily increased to the point where he has just completed a large Tiffany-style stained glass lamp shade replicating the original Tiffany “Trumpet Vine” pattern. Composed of 985 pieces of cut glass and requiring nine and a half pounds of solder to piece together, Lyle tells us, “It was by far the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”  The lampshade required 222 hours (five plus work weeks) to complete and sits atop a Tiffany replica (leaf and arc) table lamp base. The shade is beautiful to behold, with its richly colored blossoms and the detailed texture of the vine’s trunk as it winds around the piece. The shade and base combined weight is a whopping 55 pounds. Lyle has become a popular character around the shop, both to customers and class students. He continually cracks people up by fracturing the English language with malapropisms in the style of Yankee legend, Yogi Berra. Keeping up a constant patter that humors all around him, Lyle creates stained glass pieces to be placed on sale at the store or freely given away to friends and family.  Most recipients have no idea of the love he puts into each piece and its actual value were it […]