Letter to the Editor - Boys' Lacrosse Sportsmanship
Boys lacrosse has received it fair share of bad press over the last few years. As a youth coach, too often the responsibility falls on us to teach our players whats important both on and off the field. Heres one such example I thought Id share.
Recently I experienced true sportsmanship by both a coach and players. During warm-ups before a recent game, I was approached by Mike McCarthy. Hes the coach of the team we were about to play. He informed me his goalie was sick and unless he could use a goalie from another team, he would be forced to forfeit the game. Without hesitation, I agreed to his substitution. We wanted to play lacrosse.
As I walked back to my team to inform them, I realized I just agreed to allow Brian McSorley play goalie for the opposing team. I know Brian - hes an exceptional goalie - and I hoped he was worn out from the game he just played. No such luck.
Many of the players know each other from playing lacrosse over the years. You could feel the sense of pride, competition and brinkmanship as they hustled out onto the turf. Sure enough, our two teams battled it out in true Green Hornets form. The score went back and forth and the crowd was alive with excitement. I knew the game would be close. Both teams huddled at halftime to discuss cutting, ground balls, better shooting and keeping penalties to a minimum. By the end of regulation play, we were tied. After a four-minute sudden death, we were still tied. After a fast break in the second sudden death and a lot of commotion in front of the crease, a shot landed in our goal. Silence fell on our sideline. We had lost the game. Mikes team rushed their substitute goalie to congratulate him.
The Titans, my team, greeted our goalie, lined up, shook our opponents hands and congratulated them for their win. After thanking the referees (yes, its hard to do), we left the field feeling emotionally exhausted. We had another game the next day with The Crush, another Green Hornets team. Unfortunately, we would face Brian in the goal again. Thats a story for another day. We had to put our loss behind us and focus on moving forward.
The next morning, I woke up to an email from Mike informing me he reported to Anne Arundel County Recreation and Parks that my own team, the Titans, had won because his team had used a goalie from another team. I was shocked. I shared this with both my players and parents to show an example of true sportsmanship. I applaud Mike, Brian and especially my Titans for recognizing whats really important playing the game of lacrosse. Go Titans! Thanks Mike for setting an example for all coaches.
Mark Milleker (Coach Mark),
Green Hornets Lacrosse Coach