By Matt Montague
Eric Stickel’s “day job” starts at 11 at night.
That’s when he reports for duty as the overnight sergeant for the Cornell University Police. He gets off at 7 a.m., goes home to see his wife, Jenna, and children Anaya and Colton, and hits the sack.
These past two weeks, however, he’s been rising again at noon to come to Lansing High to resume his other career as coach of the Lansing Ladycats girls varsity soccer team.
Stickel coached the Ladycats for three remarkable years from 2012 to 2014.
In his first year, the team went 14-3-1 and ranked as high as fifth in the state; in his second year, they were 19-1 and went to the state final four; and in his third year, they were 17-4-1 and went to the state championship game.
“We had a pretty good run,” Stickel said. “There was a lot of ‘we’ going on between the players, their parents, the boosters, Steve Colt’s rec program – it was all culminating in bringing the kids together and building a foundation, a ‘buy-in’ in the vision, in the way we played.”
“It was a rewarding three years and I hated to give it up.”
But life gets complicated.
The same year his team came within a breath of a state championship, Stickel was promoted to his current job at Cornell.
The family also had to balance two young children and a business – Jenna Stickel owns and operates “The Next Jennaration” dance studio in Lansing.
“We are fortunate to have that studio,” Stickel said. His 6-year-old daughter is already a dancer and her older teammates often keep their eyes on 4-year-old Colton.
“It’s a lot of juggling, but we both love working with kids and so we just embrace it,” Stickel said.
“The promotion meant a change in hours – it meant I had to leave,” Stickel said. Now, with seniority, he can pick his own hours to work coaching back into his life.
Stickel is a 2003 Lansing grad and remembers that the team played a physical game then to offset a lack of size versus their opponents. During his first stint as Ladycats coach a large roster enabled him to play a ball-control game that forced opponents to adapt to Lansing.
This year, with a roster of 11 active players for last Wednesday’s opener against Moravia, Stickel said that he will need to play a more active, more tactical role as coach.
“It’s a great challenge – we don’t have a lot of interchangeable parts this year,” Stickel said. “We are putting an emphasis on functional fitness, working hard within the drills and not just running sprints.”
“We need to embrace the challenge and not use it as a crutch,” Stickel said. “It’s not going to change.”
There is a benefit to a small squad.
“This team is exceptionally close. I am blown away by how the girls rally around each other to make their best effort. I think that they’ll remember this and learn a lot about themselves. It’s a long season and there’s no reason why we can’t be successful.”
“But when do I sleep? I don’t.”
But he still finds time to do a little dreaming.
Carnival Slated for Sept. 7-8
Lansing’s 2018 carnival is scheduled for Sept. 7 and 8 at the Lansing Central Fire Station, beginning Friday at 6 p.m. and going until 10 p.m. and wrapping up Saturday from 1 to 10 p.m. A parade will be held Saturday at 6 p.m.
The Lansing Events Committee’s plans include rides, carnival food, vendor booths, a 50/50 raffle, and food by the Lansing Fire Department. “Bad Alibi” will play Friday evening, “DJ KDawg” will provide music Saturday from 1 to 10 p.m., and “Raised on Radio” will play that evening from 7 to 10 p.m.
The Lansing Food Pantry will be open Sept. 10 from 10 to 11 a .m. at The Rink, 1767 East Shore Drive. Contact Nancy Myers with questions at 607 592 4685.
All Saints Plans Fall German Fest
All Saints Catholic Church will hold a “Fall German Fest” Sept. 16 from noon to 6 p.m.
Traditional German food will be served from noon until 3 p.m., there will be activities for kids and people who think they are kids (e.g. a “pumpkin catapult”) from noon until 4 p.m., and dancing and socializing until 6 p.m.
For more information, please see the NET Catholic Facebook.
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