All posts by Christopher Tongel

Youth Football Without the Competitive Stress

To view the news package, click here.

Lancaster Recreation League Flag Football players in action.

Sponsored through a grant from the NFL “Play 60” initiative, the Lancaster Recreation Commission promotes sportsmanship and teamwork in their flag football league.

Nearly 200 young men and women came out for the league this year. The league gives children between six and twelve years old an opportunity to showcase their talents. Intramural games take place Saturdays at McCaskey East High School.

“I like football because I don’t have to sit at home all the time and I get to be with my friend,” Eagles quarterback Oliver Tongel said.

Eagles Quarterback Oliver Tongel attempts a pass during Saturday’s contest versus the Giants.

Coaches act as leaders for the players both on and off the field.

“Planning on having a good season out here and we hope everything goes good,” Eagles Coach Anthony Henson said. ” Always get your kids out, sports gets them motivated, keeps them in shape and it’s good overall health, both mentally and physically.”

Eagles Coach Anthony Henson watches the game with his players by his side.

Grouped into two divisions based on age, leaders stress fundamentals before game outcomes and scores.

With one game and practice each week, players can have fun without competitive stress.

While other sports leagues continue to increase competition, this league chose another path.

Recreation officials are excited for another fruitful year in 2020.  In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Christopher Tongel,

Humans of Etown 2017

Jordan Petersen and Christopher Tongel spoke with three members of the Elizabethtown College community. Information gathered from those interviews can be viewed below.


“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it” (Michael Jordan) “As college students we all go through rough patches and we have to just keep going! Personally, I hit rough patches it seems like every other week and just like the quote says, you have to find a way to manage.”
“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it” (Michael Jordan) “As college students we all go through rough patches and we have to just keep going! Personally, I hit rough patches it seems like every other week and just like the quote says, you have to find a way to manage.”


A transcript of the interview with Steve is below.

Steve: “Hi, my name is Steve and I am an English major, English literature concentration. I chos the major because I enjoyed the information and it somehow chose me in some respects. I just struggled with other disciplines and I found the most joy with English literature.”

Christopher: “And what do you plan to do with your English major?”

Steve: “You can teach, obviously go to other countries. You can go to law school. I even had an accounting job where I was writing up reports. So I think it’s about being open-minded. But most of the time an English major gets kind of a shroud put on them like you have to work for a newspaper, you have to be a teacher but it’s not always the case. It’s kind of what you make of it.”


A picture of Kelly.
A picture of Kelly.

We also interviewed Kelly Knorr. The podcast interview can be heard here. A transcript of the podcast interview is available below.

Kelly: “I’m a senior corporate Communications major and religious studies minor here at E-Town. My journey to E-Town started in about eighth-grade when I decided I wanted to go away for college. A lot of people from my hometown of Bloomsburg decide to go to the university that’s just 3 minutes away from most people’s houses and I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do and it wasn’t for me. I started to look for colleges and at the time Shippensburg was my dream School. I had everything I thought I wanted in a school and I was so excited to visit there and when I went to visit Shippensburg, I hated it. It just wasn’t the right environment and then I continued my search and kind of stumbled upon Elizabethtown. I didn’t hear of it before. I was just searching around and I didn’t know anybody who want there, but the moment I stepped onto campus I fell in love. I knew that it was a place I wanted to be. It was the program for me. Looking at the communications program was just very exciting and meeting the faculty and staff really got me excited. It took a little bit of bargaining with my parents because of such a high price tag, but I absolutely knew that was a place I needed to go to school. Now that I’m finishing up my senior year looking at all the debt makes me a little nervous to figure out how I’m going to pay it all off, but I wouldn’t change my decision for anything I absolutely love that I chose Elizabethtown.”

Jordan and I would like to extend a special thank you to Jessica, Steve and Kelly.


An usung hero

A young, auburn haired man straddles the southern shore of Lake Placida with his Penn Battle 2 fishing reel and rod combo in his hands. He keeps quiet in his white Elizabethtown College lacrosse shirt that he recently bought through a fundraising effort. Many people might assume that he is a student taking a well-deserved break between classes. Who is this man that never reveals his identity?

Born on July 28, 1995, Joshua Tyler Hagen was raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Growing up in a  family familiar with the medical field, Josh knew from an early age what he wanted to do as a professional.

“I chose a medical career path because of my parents, both of my parents are involved in medicine,” Hagen said. “With my mom being a nurse and my dad being a radiologist technician and hearing them talk about they do really interested me as a kid, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t really consider anything else.”

A picture of Josh Hagen.
A picture of Josh Hagen


After graduating from Lancaster Catholc High School in 2013, Hagen enrolled at the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences in order to obtain his certification as an emergency medical technician. His Irish twin brother, Zachary, joined the Marines following graduation.

“I think learning something new everyday motivates me whether that be reading something or having something shown to you,” Hagen said with a smile.

Sleeping at work every other week in accordance with his schedule, Josh knows that he is there to help another person who needs him for common steps that many take for granted. Currently working out of a home for disabled individuals, Hagen must be there to keep them safe.

“What drives me to give back to the community is that everybody needs help at some period of their life,” Hagen said. “That’s what I like about medicine, you get to help other people.”


When he is not caring for others, the former football player and wrestler enjoys enjoys his experiences in the outdoors while fishing or hunting.  He is also a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan. If he had to pick a favorite player it would probably be James Conner. Along with appreciating Conner’s battle against cancer while competing for the University of Pittsburgh, Hagen played a game against Conner during his time at Lancaster Catholic High School.

A fan of Christmas music, he is especially joyful at the holidays. His favorite Christmas songs are Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song” and “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” from Band Aid.


Many people in Josh’s shoes go by without any form of recognition from others. They go to work each day and come home after a shift that may have had several life or death situations. Maybe they will get a discount here or there with proper identification.

While he is not a surgeon, people trust Josh with their safety the same way that they do with a doctor. Hagen does not help others for increased notoriety and he likes it that way. He is excited for the opportunities ahead as he continues his journey in the medical field.

Do we know any unsung heroes?

A reverse musical trend

There is a growing trend across the nation as nostalgic practices continue to rise in popularity. This trend has been particularly evident through the resurgence of the vinyl record.

“We have seen customers, especially younger ones, moving back in time over the last five to ten years,” record store owner Mike Matthews said. “They want older music and still want vinyl and cassettes. Our business has hit highs that we did not see coming. Our business tactics are not much different than they were 30 years ago. It has been a great time as the old is coming back. Rock on!”

“The Guardian” found that vinyl record sales hit a 25-year high last year, while digital formatting has dropped in the last few years. 2016 was the first year in the 21st century in which vinyl sales outperformed digital downloads.

Sony Music Entertainment recently announced that they will begin pressing vinyl records following a 28-year break. This announcement came following an increased demand and success among competitors such as Columbia and 20th Century Fox.

Several explanations have been offered regarding the rise in popularity among older artists and the connection with rises in vinyl record sales. A primary reason for vinyl record sales surpassing digital downloads is the fact that a vinyl record is tangible.

“Vinyl is better than digital because you physically hold the music in your hand,” record collector Josh Hagen said. “I have records that have been around since the 1960s and 1970s, it’s just mind blowing to me whenever I pick those records up that this plastic disk is older than I am.”

Amazon has seen a rise in vinyl sales with the “AutoRip” option for customers purchasing music. With most compact disc and vinyl record sales, Amazon’s “AutoRip” option offers the digital download in addition to the tangible formats. Along with promoting vinyl collecting, it has assisted inventory cleaning for the internet giant.

Another interesting association with the vinyl record is the record turntable. Available in several themes and structures, the turntable is gradually returning to its former glory.

“I started collecting vinyl because I was interested in how turntables worked,” Hagen said.

Established in 2003, Ion has found success with their various turntable options. From Ford Mustang themed turntables to traditional suitcase-style carry cases. Ion has heavily invested in the vinyl record resurgence.

Appealing to younger individuals, Ion recently introduced the Bluetooth speaker turntable. This product has been a positive addition as the distinguishable sound of the vinyl record meets wireless technology. These turntables are available at affordable rates, further promoting the vinyl movement.

Digital conversion is an option with most modern turntables. The opportunity to turn a vinyl record into a digital format has helped the hobby expand as listeners can experience both listening styles.

“The sound off of the needle is incredible,” lifelong music follower Dick Hagen said. “Vinyl records are timeless.”

Historically speaking, the ushering of vinyl records is symbolic in multiple ways. In the 1980s, the compact disc hit the music scene, becoming the most sought musical format. With a small size and fair sound quality, the compact disc took over, essentially replacing the vinyl record. Following the introduction of digital downloads, compact disc sales dropped dramatically. Some automobile manufacturers have even halted compact disc stereo installation. Today, vinyl records are making their way back to the top over the compact disc.

As the digital community continues to dwindle, the vinyl record community is welcoming new collectors at monthly events like the Keystone Record Collectors music expo. Free to the public, this event takes place on the first Sunday of every month at the Continental Inn on Route 30.

With yearly events such as Record Store Day each April, the vinyl record is back to stay. How far will vinyl records go this time around?

Located throughout Lancaster County, these businesses will help build any record collection!
Located throughout Lancaster County, these businesses will help build any record collection!