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Win record belongs to all of Ironton

With all apologies to Bill Murray and the movie “Stripes,” here’s a message to the people of Ironton, past and present, “It’s party time Ironton style.”

If the Ironton Fighting Tigers beat the Nelsonville-York Buckeyes Friday night at Tanks Memorial Stadium, it will give Bob Lutz the Ohio high school record for the most career coaching victories as he passes former Hamilton Badin coach Terry Malone.

But this record isn’t just about Bob Lutz and he would be the first to tell you.

This record belongs to the players, the coaches, the fans, the band, the majorettes, the flag corps, the students, the teachers, the administrators, the parents, grandparents, the boosters and anyone else who has any hand in the Ironton football program.

Lutz is the architect and CEO, but this phenomenon known as Ironton football is a culmination of time, hard work and participation by everyone just mentioned.

Past players from Ironton and St. Joseph as well as all coaches should join the party. If Ironton wins and there is a post-game ceremony, they belong on the field with today’s current team.

A program is only as good as the people involved, and there have been a lot of people. Buying a ticket makes you part of the program even if you never played or had a child on any of the teams during the past 40 years.

When people from Ironton put on an Ironton football shirt or jacket and wear it anywhere, they are making a statement of where they are from and their identity. They wear it with pride.

That kind of support has an effect on the players and future players. Football is not an easy sport. It is so easy to sit home and say, “It’s too hot to practice.” Parents get their sons involved. Fans talk to players about how excited they are for the next game. Teachers wear orange and black to show their spirit and support.

You can always hear former players talk fondly and passionately about their experiences and their roles in upholding the tradition. They have a great pride in what they have done and they try to convey that responsibility. The torch has been passed and it’s time for the next group to step up.

So everyone come and fill the stadium Friday night. If you have a favorite show on that night, tape it. If you have a dinner date, reschedule for a later time or day. You need to be there.

After all, this is your record, too.

—— Sinatra ——

Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.