The 2013 season is here and we wanted to work closely with college programs to bring a part of the excitement to you. Throughout the 2013 season we will highlight lacrosse programs on our space for all of our readers to follow. Player blogs serve as a unique outlet for programs to showcase their season as it develops, plus highlight everything they have to offer a student-athlete. In contrast, families and fans get a glimpse into the program’s athletic and academic regimen.
Patrick Walsh #0
If I had to describe lacrosse to someone I would say that it is the sports equivalent of the Harlem Shake. When you first watch it, you are sitting there confused as to what is happening until the beat drops and everything goes insane. You then proceed to watch forty-five different YouTube videos on it, and with each video you get more and more stoked.
I grew up in a little town in Central Massachusetts (Nowhere near Boston, but not so far West that my best friend was a cow). Needless to say, lax has been a routine part of my lifestyle for as long as I can remember. I never questioned why I started playing; it is sort of like brushing my teeth. Anyways, my career started in the sixth grade when I decided that it was time to be more like my big brother. I went out to our town’s “tryouts” which were really just more of a skills assessment than an audition. I ended up being placed on the same team as my best friend which was coached by his father. This part is for those who are unfamiliar with the middle school years: there are early bloomers and late bloomers, some kids don’t even go through puberty until they reach high school. The point of that anecdote is to say that I was an early bloomer. The relevance in that is how I started as long pole. My coach had keen observation skills and noticed that I stood quite a bit taller than my comrades. He asked me if I wanted to play D-pole and being the typical eleven year old, I saw the slightly longer lacrosse stick as a shimmering six foot weapon of mass destruction, and I accepted his offer. And that is how it all began.
Continuing on in my career I finally grew into my body and actually learned how to wield a long pole. Like any dedicated athlete I faced struggle, I faced injury, but I trekked on. I played my high school lax for a little establishment called Algonquin Regional High School. Finally cracking the Varsity squad for my junior year, I found myself in a position that I had never experienced before. I was my coach’s right hand man, never leaving his side…mainly because I never left the bench. And by right hand man I mean staying out of the way of course.
The whole experience of being a bench warmer truly changed the person I am. First, I believe it made me funnier (I had a lot of time to practice telling jokes). Second, there is a bond that is smelted between others on the bench. Even though you aren’t playing in the games, you know that for every victory, the time spent busting your rump in practice in order to make the starters better was worth it. And third, it made me realize that if I wanted to play I had to either get better or switch to volleyball. I am many things, but a quitter is not one of them.
I spent my senior season running as a defensive middie where I began to thrive. I like to think that I played a major part in leading our team to our second straight state finals appearance, but I am not so naïve to the fact that our insatiable attack and our defense was so hungry that a Moe’s Southwest Mexican Grill Homewrecker Burrito (it’s a big burrito) couldn’t satisfy them had a big role in our success.
Anyways that brought me to Occidental College, the Princeton of the West, or better known as the almost graduating college of Barack Obama. I had never experienced West Coast lax, so I had no idea what I was in for. I spent the whole fall season as a short stick midfield and it was not until the alumni game where I decided to relive my old long pole glory. When I wielded a fellow player’s D-pole something magical happened. I instantly regained all my old skill and possibly even got better. I have yet to play with a shortie since.
At this point we are in the midst of the season and we are rolling, we finally have a fairly full roster and we have some real talent to go along with it. We open up the season with none other than the USC, a team fully prepared to roll us off the field like we were a bushel of scrubs. Unfortunately for them we were led by a strong effort by Teran “Dyson” Mawhinney (they call him Dyson because he vacuums up ground balls like he was built in a Chinese factory to do so) and the rising star, Bradley “The Braddlesnake” aka “Lil Mayonnaise” Calder. Combining with a strong team effort the Tigers were led their first win and the Trojans handed their first loss.
The next game proceeded with a win over UC Irvine, and the team was carrying on strong. At this point I had to fly home in order to tend to familiar matters, so I had to miss our next two games. During my absence the team went 1-1. Now I am not saying anything, but I think it is more than a coincidence that the first loss came when I was 3000 miles away. Probably because coach Luna didn’t have his right hand man. A bitter tasting loss to Pepperdine handed us our first loss. It was of utmost importance that we bounce back with dominance to show that we are a force to be reckoned with. We played our next game against Cal State Long Beach. In Tiger fashion we bounced back with a strong victory. This brings us to our game against UCSD
Waking up early in the morning to drive to San Diego we were all eager for our game. Starting off on the wrong foot, we as a team forgot to bring the ball bag. This if nothing else was a bad omen. We scratched together enough balls for warm-ups but the vibe was not there. The game began we ran with them and kept it close. As the sun scorched on, our legs got tired, and the endless line of UCSD substitutes proved to be our downfall. Performances by Peter “The Turtle” Burrows coming back from injury pulled through in the clutch. At the end of the day, however, it was bad news for the Tigers, our second loss of the season.
It was a terrible way to head into spring break, but I know that no one on the team is going to get complacent for this latter half of the season. The boys our ready to get back on the horse and show what small liberal arts college located in a suburb of Los Angeles is a force to be reckoned with! It is all of the new players time to do our upperclassmen proud, who had to fight through many logistical issues in order for their even to be a team still in existence. So thank you to the captains, thank you to the coaches, thank you to the fans, and let’s go Tigers!