Vero Beach author ushers in 30 years of ‘Tradition’ for Fighting Indians Football

VERO BEACH – Former Fighting Indians, coaches, friends and family gathered Saturday to usher in a new “tradition” – the release of a book compiling the last 30 years of Vero Beach High School’s Fighting Indians Football team.

Author Michael Bielecki has labored over the book for the last few years, trying to capture each of the 30 seasons’ players, coaches, and the 12th Man.

“It’s a mix of being nervous and being excited,” Bielecki said during the Fighting Indians Football Family Fun Day outside the Vero Beach Beef ‘O’ Brady’s on US 1. “It turned out so much better than I had hoped for.”

The book, “Tradition: VBHS Football 1980-2010,” serves as transport down Memory Lane for those who once played for or were otherwise involved with the Fighting Indians Football team.

“Nobody’s left out,” said former Fighting Indian Jon Teske, now principal at Citrus Elementary. “If you were a part of the team, you’re here somewhere.”

Teske marveled that Bielecki catalogued the blood, sweat and tears the team has put in.

Newcomer Coach Lenny Jankowski attended the book release and fun day, already getting the next team ready for the coming season.

“It’s an honor,” Coach Jankowski said of being a part of a team with such history and tradition. “I’m honored to be a part of it.”

“I’m looking forward to adding a few chapters,” he later said. “We’ve got the hardest working kids in the state.”

Longtime Vero Beach High School Fighting Indians announcer Gary Parris told the assembled crowd they would not be disappointed in the book.

“You’re going to enjoy what you read,” he said.

One of the first to have a book signed at the event was Laurie Collings, a friend of the Bielecki family.

Collings, who didn’t attend Vero Beach High, said she wanted to buy the book to show her support of Bielecki’s “labor of love.”

“They’re just great, quality people,” Collings said, adding that though the book she bought at the event is meant for her, she might pick up a second for her dad, who enjoys high school football.

“Tradition: VBHS Football 1980-2010” can be purchased at Scott’s Sporting Good, the Vero Beach Book Center and at the Vero Beach High School, through the yearbook department.

Students can get a $5 discount.

Ten dollars will be donated to the Vero Beach Band Boosters and Football Boosters for each book purchased through the boosters.

Books purchased retail will net each booster club $2.50.

They can also be purchased online through


Editor’s Note: Michael Bielecki is a freelance reporter for, often covering Vero Beach, Sebastian River and St. Edward’s sporting events.

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