Re-Re-Retired

Yesterday was Kyle’s last lacrosse game of the season. Both varsity (3-10) and JV (4-8) suffered through a sub-par year, and the final game was a welcome sight for many of the players.

Around midday I was pacing in front of the mailbox, desperately hoping my Zoloft fix would arrive. Sadly, it did not, but a letter from Kyle’s school was delivered, and it was addressed to me. I assumed it was either notice that Kyle was receiving an award… or he was being expelled. Neither was the case.

The letter read, in part:

“According to our records, the documentation checked below is missing from your file. Please return the information to the main office by June 15th, 2017, in order for you to continue your ministry to students of our school.”

Six of the eight boxes were checked. It would have been easier to note the forms that were in my file. Now, I’m no detective, but after twenty-one years coaching high school lacrosse, I am intimately familiar with clearances and their lifespans. Most of the boxes checked involved the archdiocesan training concerning child abuse and reporting. All archdiocesan employees must attend a three-hour training session on the subject, which I completed on March 31, 2016.

The training certification lasts three years

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A Midseason Report

Yesterday Kyle’s lacrosse team played its seventh game of a twelve-game season. Kyle (left above) is primarily playing junior varsity this year, thanks in part to the minuscule number of players who came out to play. We have 37 on the roster, but we rarely see that many on game days, and while we do have enough to play games, some players have to play both varsity and JV the same day.

Kyle, a sophomore, has seen some varsity time, but it’s few and far between.

The boy has been playing very well on JV, however. Kyle is the JV top face-off guy, and through seven games he is 18-for-33, which amounts to a 55% win rate. He has also added two assists – a stat which angers him, because he knows he should be putting up better offensive numbers – and runs the offense on the field for the top midfield line.

I’d like to see him score more often, and I definitely want him feeding linemates more, but otherwise I am very happy with his play. The kid is the typical grunt player. He runs through kids to scoop ground balls, he sacrifices his body to draw penalties, and he leads by example. In short, he does all the things I did when I played, except he has much more raw talent that I ever had.

The Crusaders currently have a record of 3-4 overall and 3-2 in their conference. Their next game is Friday afternoon.

Unretired

So remember that post back in December when I explained I was re-retired from coaching? Well… scratch that.

I received a call last week from Kyle’s new lacrosse coach asking if I was able to help out. I wasn’t really keen on the idea at first, because of the way the high school treats lacrosse as a whole – spoiler alert: like crap – but after talking to the coach, I decided to climb aboard.

Today will be my first day back to the school, and hopefully last week’s snow will be gone from the field. Ironically, Kyle won’t be there today, because he is home sick with a nasty stomach virus that has hit everyone in the family – save for me.

So wish me luck – again. Let’s see how long this tenure lasts.

The Least Wonderful Time Of The Year

Kyle Playing VarsityFather Judge High School’s lacrosse season is officially over. We lost last night’s game by a score of 8-5, and thanks to some inopportune wins by our conference foes, we are now out of the playoffs.

Kyle’s JV team finished with a record of 10-5-1, and Varsity finished at 7-11. For his part, Kyle finished the season with one varsity goal, three JV assists, and he won 29 of 59 face-offs. I’d call that a pretty successful debut.

As for me, it was nice getting back into coaching, and while I bitched about it constantly to Mrs. Earp, I already miss it. The head coach is planning summer workouts, and we hope to play in a fall and winter league this year. That is, if I don’t get a pink slip in the next two weeks.

I mean, I didn’t take a salary this season, so they can’t exactly fire me, right?

Mission Impossible

Kyle Playing MidfieldAfter being retired from coaching high school lacrosse for six – glorious – years, I was pulled back in to help out Kyle’s team. I was not the only new face, however. This is Kyle’s coach’s first foray into head coaching. While he coached on every level, this is his first head coaching position.

His work was cut out for him. Kyle’s school has had a rough couple of years, and the athletic director told the head coach we were expected to win three games out of eighteen. Ryan, the head coach, said the team’s three goals this season were to have a record of .500 or better, make the playoffs, and beat our rival – my Alma mater, Archbishop Ryan.

I giggled when I heard those goals because with this team, I figured we had no shot…

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Raising The Bar

Tom Cruise CocktailKyle’s lacrosse team holds an annual fundraiser to help pay for the team banquet, equipment costs, and other incidentals. This year’s event was held Saturday night at Harrington’s Irish Pub. As a member of the coaching staff, I not only had to attend, but also appear as a “celebrity bartender.”

The only time my name should ever be mentioned in the same sentence as the word “celebrity” is on my arrest report for stalking Karen Gillan, but I digress.

My three-hour celebrity bartender experience was a lot like the movie Cocktail, and I was Tom Cruise – save for the stunning good looks, charming personality, and impeccable hygiene.

Hollywood has always romanticized tending bar, and since I have never tried it, I bought into the stereotype. A packed bar with fabulous babes hitting on you all night isn’t really work; it’s a vacation, right?

Eh, not so much…

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Storybook

Kyle Verus Westtown

Kyle’s lacrosse team played Valley Forge Military Academy yesterday. VJMA does not have a JV team, so it was only a varsity contest. That said, all the JV players were required to attend. Kyle is a swing player. He made both the varsity and JV teams, but had not suited for a varsity game yet.

VFMA is a decent team, but they were shorthanded yesterday. Our guys came out strong, and after the first quarter, we were up by a score of 8-1. Before the start of the second quarter, the head coach turned to Kyle and asked, “Do you have your equipment with you?”

Both Kyle and I looked at the coach and thought, “Are you serious?”

Kyle said yes, the coach gave him the keys to the locker room and he sprinted toward it. As if reading my thoughts, the coach turned to me and said, “I told you he was going to get some varsity time.”

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A Snowball’s Chance…

Erik Playing Lax In SnowKyle and Erik (#10 on the left) both had lacrosse games scheduled for today, despite the fact Philly was hit with a rain/snowstorm. Since this isn’t baseball – zing – the kids still played.

Erik’s game was out in the suburbs where the snow fell much more heavily – as you can see on the left. It was Erik’s first game of the season – the previous game was a scrimmage – and while they were set and ready to go, they stumbled out of the gate.

Spartan crushed them by a score of 8-1, in a messy, terrible game. The snow had completely covered the field; so much so the white ball had to be replaced with a yellow one.

After the game, Erik seemed like he had fun, especially in the weather, but the conditions were not something he would want to make a habit of. Plus, Mrs. Earp said an opposing player buried him toward the end of the game with a crushing body check. All 70 pounds of the boy dropped to the ground in a heap.

Hopefully next week’s game will see a better result. Speaking of…

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A Good Friday

Kyle, #31 in the center of the photo, playing against O'Hara.
Kyle, #31 in the center of the photo, playing against O’Hara.

Kyle’s lacrosse team played their fourth game of the season yesterday; a home match against Cardinal O’Hara. O’Hara is a very good team, and our varsity especially needed a win. The JV, however, was up first, and Kyle’s group was coming off an undefeated week.

The boys took the field with a sense of urgency, and scored the first goal. The scoring was back and forth for a while, but in the end, the Crusaders prevailed. They won the game by a score of 5-3. Kyle, for his part won two face-offs and lost two. His stats for the season are amazing, winning 9 of 13 face-offs. He’s becoming quite the specialist, but he still wants that first goal.

Sadly, the varsity got destroyed in the late game, losing 15-2. We never really got our game going, and the loss really hurts us. Both teams play tomorrow – Philly is expected to see both rain and snow during the day – so hopefully both teams will net a win.

There is, however, even bigger news afoot…

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Face/Off

Kyle, in a game from 2015.
Kyle, in a game from 2015.

Kyle’s second lacrosse game was yesterday, and it was the home opener against a powerful Archbishop Wood team. Father Judge High School has a brand new turf field which is teh awesum, but less awesome during steady downpours. That said, since lacrosse is not a sissy sport – looking at you, baseball – the teams play in the rain.

Kyle played JV yesterday, which was probably a smart move, because Mrs. Earp said some of the Wood players were monsters. The boy earned a ton of playing time, and made the most of it.

Wood took control early, and steadily built up a 5-1 lead. Amazingly, the JV fought back, scoring five goals to earn a 6-6 tie.

Kyle, for his part, won five of seven face-offs – an incredible stat for a freshman – and added an assist on the game-tying goal. Mrs. Earp said he owned his opponents in face-offs, and probably had his best game ever. Since I was working, I’ll ask my fellow coaches how they thought Kyle played, because they are harder on him. The numbers don’t lie, though; 5-for-7 is a dominating performance.

It was a nice display of hard work from the young team, even if they didn’t win the game. Their record is now 0-1-1 heading into tomorrow’s game at Conwell-Egan.

The Varsity team lost by a score of 10-9 in OT. They are now 1-1 heading into tomorrow’s game.

UPDATE: Today was a good day. The varsity won 3-2, and the JV won 5-1. Kyle won his only face-off, bringing his season record to winning seven out of nine face-offs in three games.