Sean Ryan Classic response strong
When debating ideas about how to keep the memory of Sean Ryan alive, Blake Deere thought one option seemed the most appropriate: a flag football tournament.
A 2003 Lansing High graduate, Ryan played football for the Lions and was loved by his teammates. Ryan, 20, died April 8 after losing control of his Dodge Dakota on Kansas Highway 10 near Eudora.
"He was a fun-loving guy, and he really loved football," said Deere, also a 2003 LHS graduate. "We just wanted to do something to remember Sean, to bring all of Sean's friends together and do something that he'd appreciate."
With that goal in mind, the Sean Ryan Memorial Football Classic came to fruition. Deere and his father, LHS assistant coach Kyle Deere, took the lead in organizing the tournament early this spring.
The response has been overwhelming, Blake Deere said. So far, 10 teams have signed up to play.
"I figured we'd have at least five teams, but it's really blown up," he said. "I really didn't expect much because it's the first year. That just shows you how Sean affected everybody around him and how people want to help out in the community. It's going to be a good day. I'm really excited about it."
The tournament will take place July 29-30 at the Lansing High football practice fields next to the baseball field. Today, July 20, is the last day to register a team. Cost is $20 per player.
Although the tournament memorializes a former Lansing player, Deere said the tournament is not limited to Lansing teams only. So far, teams of Leavenworth and Immaculata graduates and another team from Lawrence have signed up.
"It's not just alumni because Sean had friends everywhere," Deere said. "A lot of people that Sean knew are playing."
The flag football tournament is expected to become an annual event and proceeds from the tournament will help finance a scholarship in Ryan's name. The scholarship will be presented to a senior football player each year.
Those interested in making personal donations to the scholarship fund may do so by sending a check to Debbie Deere, 402 Maple Ct., Lansing, KS, 66043. The memo line should read Sean Ryan Memorial Football Scholarship.