Thank you. Two simple words that I wish I had the chance to express more frequently to those that have helped me in my lacrosse journey.
As we enter the next decade, my hope is that my appreciation for all of you involved in this great game can be accurately conveyed here. It is our collective duty to uphold the beauty that creates such a special bond between us and the game of lacrosse.
What I ask is that you have an attitude of gratitude as you encounter the highs and lows of each season and hopefully take to heart three valuable components that I believe make our game special to all stakeholders involved.
Respect the game
Please respect and appreciate those that have helped mold and build what you see on the field today. Do not take for granted the bond that you’ve built with the game personally.
Growing up in Central New York, I was blessed to have many opportunities and experiences to learn and engage with the historical and cultural roots of the game. These included getting the chance to play on the Onondaga nation reservation, watching in awe as current Colgate University Head Coach Kathy Taylor’s Fayetteville-Manlius High School varsity teams moved the ball with stunning precision, and last but not least, seeing the joy and passion that Diane Geppi-Aikens coached with when I had the privilege to watch her Loyola Greyhounds team beat my hometown Syracuse Orange during her final season at the helm.
When you appreciate the history and nature of the game that you play, watch, coach and/or officiate, it tends to mean more.
Be a good teammate
“Being a good teammate doesn’t require talent.”
This is something that I learned very early on in my lacrosse career and became even more apparent in each experience I have had since.
While one or two individuals can invariably have a significant impact on the outcome of a single game, bonded teams that compete with and still support one another are the ones that usually create lasting memories. They have a collective positive impact that carry well beyond the playing field, even decades later.
As many of us deal with the reality of losing teammates and coaches that have helped us enjoy the game and have forever enhanced our lives because of that connection; please do your best to appreciate those around you that help you and return their support when the moment arises.
Trust each other at all temperatures
Regardless of your position within the game, we all have been there, utterly exasperated and depending on your disposition, full of, or, at a complete loss of words when a game has gotten heated. When disagreements occur and temperatures run hot, prevent the trust from melting by exercising your attitude of gratitude.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my lacrosse career was that trust starts with a mutual vulnerability of knowing that we don’t have all the answers. Even when we think we do, life tends to remind us that each practice and game day is a gift.
Why waste your energy on something that will pass with time. Be where your feet are and appreciate the ability to be a part of this game because lacrosse is above all else a medicine game for those involved and no one lives a mistake free existence.
I hope that you are all able to thank those that make lacrosse truly special!