Letter to the Editor

Supporting the Tornadoes

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The scene at Tornado Stadium last Friday night was everything that is wonderful and amazing about high school athletics.

Storm Lake’s football team faced a 28-14 deficit with about 10 minutes remaining. It would’ve been very easy for the Tornado coaches, players and fans to resign themselves to an 8-1 regular season record. This would’ve still been an incredible achievement. And they were already guaranteed the school’s first-ever appearance in the state football playoffs. It would’ve been easy to roll over and accept defeat.

But they didn’t choose that route. Instead, the coaches kept coaching like crazy. The players kept battling each play as if the season depended on it. And nearly 3,000 fans went absolutely bananas in the stands.

We all know how it turned out. The Tornadoes gave their school and community the most thrilling and meaningful comeback victory that Storm Lake has ever produced on the football field, capping off a perfect 9-0 regular season. When it was over, the team raced over to the student section and everyone sang the school song together.

As I watched the football team stage its furious comeback, several things stood out: recognizing how well-coached and disciplined these boys are, refusing to give up; seeing the jam-packed student section remain standing and full of enthusiasm for the entire game; hearing the rest of the crowd yelling and cheering for two-plus hours in a frenzy that is definitely unique to high school sports; and knowing how hard these boys have worked and prepared for all of this.

After the game ended, I looked around the stands and saw so many people I’ve seen at countless athletic events over the years – and many people I’ve never seen before – and the pure joy and pride on all of their faces, young and old alike, was the common bond. We are all very proud to be Tornadoes.

I would like to thank Coach Rudy Wieck, his staff and all of the Tornado football players for providing this moment for our community. The sense of pride that people have in our town right now, about this football team, is enormous. We are grateful that our young people are learning that if they work hard together, they can achieve tremendous things … maybe even greater things than they would imagine.

As you think about where you were last Friday night when that game ended – or where you’ll be this Friday night when the Tornadoes take on Glenwood in the playoffs – please keep in mind that our Storm Lake athletic programs, and student-athletes, could always use your help.

I can only imagine the impact it would have on our Tornado athletic programs if ALL of the nearly 3,000 fans in attendance last Friday night would join the Storm Lake Tornado Booster Club. And I can only imagine the positive impact that would have on our student-athletes as they continue to work so hard behind the scenes, in practices, in the weight room, studying game films and training to be the best they can be.

In the past year, the Storm Lake Tornado Booster Club raised money to provide items such as: Hudl video service; football sideline Hudl package; football pop-up dummies; adjustable tennis/volleyball net; new warm-ups for track and field; meals for state qualifiers; basketball cart; weight room equipment; new wrestling mat; banquet awards; softball training equipment; dance squad and cheer equipment; team bags for tennis; and so much more.

Please consider becoming a member of the Tornado Booster Club. With your support, we can continue helping our student-athletes achieve at their highest levels, and help provide them with more opportunities for “dream-come-true” moments like last Friday night.

An individual membership is only $35. A family membership is only $50. Make your check payable to: Tornado Booster Club. Mail it to: Tornado Booster Club; 621 Tornado Drive; Storm Lake, IA 50588.

There are membership levels for greater dollar amounts that offer season passes, as well, so if you’re willing and able to give more, please contact one of these members of the Tornado Booster Board: Marty & Emily Gallagher; Nathan & Michelle Kenkel; Michelle Patten; Dale & Karen Scully; Tom & Cindy James; Todd & Barb Lange; Lynn Redenbaugh; Ty Seaman.

If you join the Booster Club this week, your name will be included in the Winter Sports program, thanking you for supporting our student-athletes.

This is an exciting time to be a Storm Lake student-athlete. Thank you for your generosity. We all look forward to more scenes like the one that took place at Tornado Stadium last Friday night!