The Mount Pulaski Soccer Team wore special shirts for the
occasion that read “MPHS Soccer Supports #TeamLandon.”
Following the Toppers 3-0 loss to Springfield Lutheran, the teams
gathered on the field in a giant circle and were led in prayer by
Siebert, with Landon close by his side.
Siebert, who is also a member of the Mount Pulaski Christian Church
and is an integral part of Big Wednesday at the church, is all about
helping others. "I told the kids last week, we’ve had some tough
games, we had some games where we played ranked opponents in state
and they were tough.
Those were kind of hard losses, when you get beat that bad,” said
Siebert. "But we sat around the circle and basically said, it’s
great to be competitive, it’s great to fight hard and it’s great to
want to win, but in the end it’s just a game. It really doesn’t
matter in the end.”
Siebert went on to explain that given the tough situation Landon is
currently facing, the team turned their focus on the young sports
fan. "Then we just talked about Landon and how we wanted to help
I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while. I talked
with Tim Stuckey several years ago when he had done it for his son.
I loved the idea. I really had a lot of help and we really put this
together rather quickly.”
Siebert noted that Angie Ford, Lori Batchelder and Abby Fletcher all
pitched in to make it happen so quickly. “It turned out great,” said
Siebert, who also happens to be Landon’s fourth grade teacher. "It
was a chance for me to help him out. He’s a great kid and he’s in my
class, too, which is even more special for me. I love the kid to
death. He’s a great kid. I like the family. I have known Abby
(Landon’s mom) for a long time. So just being able to help them
meant the world to me. It also gave our team something to rally
around. There’s not a single kid on that soccer team that I don’t
love to death. They are all fantastic kids. They are the hardest
working group of kids, in practice they work their butts off, but
what they do off the field is even more awesome. I knew they would
really rally around him and make him feel like a part of the team. I
think for Landon it was just a chance for him to be a part of
Siebert continued, "It was neat. It just meant the world to me to be
able to do that for him, you know, maybe take his mind of things for
a little bit.” The game was about an hour in Friday night when a
storm came through, dropping a heavy rain onto the soccer field. The
players never stopped playing. Siebert’s team and the visiting
Crusaders might have been soaked but their spirits were never
"Speaking of the storm, it was perfect.” said Siebert, who took
advantage of the opportunity in the circle following the game. "We
chit-chatted and I said, “You know what, Landon, everyone here
fought hard but it’s just a game. There’s other things that matter
more than games.” Siebert continued, "I mentioned the fact that no
one quit and when that storm popped up not a single player stopped.
They kept playing through those storms. I said, “Dude, you’re going
through a storm right now but you just gotta keep playing, you gotta
keep fighting through it and you’ll make it,” encouraged the MPHS
soccer coach. "It was nice that storm popped up,” said Siebert,
citing that it gave him a chance to use that analogy with Landon.
"The whole night was just great,” he added. "Tons of help. LuHi was
fantastic. They collected money and the coach gave him an envelope
with some money in it. The officials were great. They went out of
their way. Everyone went out of their way to make sure Landon felt
loved and included and they helped him out. It was just an absolute
neat experience to see that it wasn’t just a game, that it went
beyond the game,” concluded the proud coach.
[to top of second column]
Mount Pulaski Athletic Director Brent Grisham put it into words
magnificently when he said, “We play sports for many reasons.
Because it is fun, because we enjoy the thrill of competition, and
yes, because we love to succeed and be a winner. But as an athletic
director I always hope that our athletes can see the bigger picture
and understand what we learn from Interscholastic athletics. We
learn teamwork, we learn how to be a part of something bigger than
ourselves, and most importantly we learn about life.
On this evening our coaches, athletes and community decided to
compete in support of one of our own. Our student body showed up to
say, “Landon, we will fight this battle with you” and it was a
beautiful thing. May the God of grace look over Landon as he
continues down this bumpy road. I was so very proud of our students
and athletes and I am in amazement how Landon takes this all in
stride and just keeps smiling.”
Landon, who turns 10-years-old on October 10th, will actually be
celebrating his birthday early since his next surgery is scheduled
for September 22nd.
Sandy Elsasser of Latham has organized a gift card shower for Landon
and if you would like to contribute, her address is PO Box 54,
Latham, IL 62543.
Elsasser is a former teacher in the Mount Pulaski School District
and she is just one of many involved in helping this young man.
There is also a 5K scheduled in Landon’s honor on September 24th and
the MPHS volleyball team will host a Volley for the Cure on October
4th with proceeds helping out Landon’s family and two other families
in the community. The entire community is indeed pitching in and
fighting this fight with Landon. #TeamLandon