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football1Many months ago, if not years, Coach John Winslow started working on "the plan." Developing play books and a new logo, how to obtain safe helmets and better jerseys for his players to wear, coming up with recruiting and fundraising ideas, and a thousand other things were being put together. It seemed as if two questions came up for every answer found.

Last April, with the support of his very strong wife and his family, Winslow earned and accepted the position as The Head Coach of the Lansing Varsity Football team. Even though he is labeled as 'new', he has been coaching youth sports in Lansing for many years and has had a positive impact on countless children and adults in the Lansing community. He has voluntarily organized and managed many youth sporting camps, clinics and seasons. He has not only developed players but many coaches and parents along the way.

"He is all in."

Coach Tim Boothe and Coach Jeremy Butler are the new Assistant Coaches for the Varsity team and are an integral part of the coaching staff. They too have been coaching youth sports for several years, spending numerous hours working with the players, drawing up plays, and creating tools for the team to use. I most likely will be in trouble for writing about them because as Butler stated "It's not about me, it's all about the players." While Winslow mainly occupies the management roll of the team Boothe and Butler work at motivating, tweaking and tuning the players. They each have their individual rolls and responsibilities, but band together and work on the game plan and the bigger picture.

"What are we? A team!"

Winslow reached out to the community for donations and support to help elevate the team to the next level. Among the largest accomplishments of this pre-season were the helmets, equipment, and recruitment. Through donations and fundraising he has been able to obtain new Riddell © Revolution helmets and jerseys for the entire varsity team. The jerseys are very nice to have and were wanted. The helmets were a necessity. They are one of the safest helmets that the players can wear; they reduce the risk and severity of concussions. He also helped broker a generous donation of workout equipment for the high school which will benefit not just the football players but all of the students in Lansing. The team worked on recruiting players. Phone calls and visits to homes were made. Veterans and new, young and old, soccer, basketball, and baseball players, runners, huge and small, all were being asked if they wanted to be part of something big, something special.

"Who are we? Lansing!"

The schedule was set and the field was made ready. The weights are still being pushed and the plays practiced again and again. The bar; it had been raised. Many of the players have played their way up through the ranks of the Lansing Small Fry Football Program so; hard work, dedication and being successful are not new to them. This year's team has worked very hard on and off the field. This summer they helped throughout the Lansing community earning donations and support for this fall. Off the field they helped with parking cars and manning the entrance for both the Fireworks show and the Harbor Festival at Myers Park. They also sold "Together We Win" T-shirts at a Harbor Festival booth. They attended three day a week workouts in the weight room and weekend practices. All of these young men will perform a community project. Once the season started it was down to business, learning the new play books, responsibilities and positions. The veteran players help the new players develop their skills while they develop as leaders. The newer players learn so quickly that it is difficult to tell them apart. Everyday another player steps up, or is pulled up, to help the team.

"What are we going to do? Battle!"

All three coaches are in this for the "right reasons," to develop these young men into good players, great people and outstanding members of the Lansing community. They are not just trying to coach a Varsity team they are trying to help the community in its entirety. They all believe in their team and each other. They have not only faith but confidence that they will be successful. The players on the team are feeding from this confidence and positive force. In the game verses Watkins Glen they were down thirteen to zero. They had fumbled the ball on their first two possessions. It looked like there was no way to defend against the Watkins Glen offense. Through all of this, not one head went down, not one attitude was displayed and the game was turned around. Together the team grew, bonded together and developed a ton.

"Together, We Win!"

In a time when the economy is in tough shape, the job and housing markets are in shambles, and it seems we are in conflict with every strong arm of the world including Mother Nature, it is nice, very nice, to see the bright lights of the field, the people of the Lansing community stepping forward to volunteer, the hillside packed with smiling people filled with pride and comradeship and to hear the sounds of the Pep Band and Cheerleaders as they root on their team. Stop out and be part of the event.

"It is not just a game, it's a community event."

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