Just recently I was sorting and cleaning up my studio space to make way for the new projects this business year. The stacks and piles of concept sketches, first attempts and a few random pieces were spread all over the studio-drafting table. In one storage box designated to contain oversized pieces, I found a signed, 11×15 sized print from, Brooks Sweet—Player of the World.
The former stand-out from UMass was heralded as one of the greats in the game of lacrosse. A member of Team USA on the 1982 Championship squad, Brooks was pretty much a “one-man-wrecking-crew” scoring something like 7 goals in the title game against Australia. The crafty attackman from Ithaca, NY earned the title “Player of the World” afterwards.
Coaching is Teaching and Teaching is Coaching.
I also had the chance to be his assistant coach for 3 years at the Poly Prep School in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn after he changed careers from being a sales-executive for STX. He was/is an intense, more like passionate, individual – always challenging the kids in their personal developments, both on and off the field. I don’t think I ever learned more about this game from anyone other than Brooks. There were a few times we “suited” up after practice and played pick-up lax with some “older guys”. The man still had it! He was very sneaky — more like smart. One mistake, and you (the defenseman) were toast, but he made it a habit to teach you what went wrong. He taught you how to rectify it for the next time around. He burned me a few times in the cage and any saves (if any) that I got on him, was an excitement to yell about.
In 2008, when I started The Art of Lax™, I wanted to do a “celebrity piece” of somebody, more like anybody, in the lacrosse world. I didn’t have accounts on Twitter and Facebook, back then, so I talked to the most direct person I knew – Brooks.
Some of the best parts were doing a piece that had “retro” equipment instead of the present day equipment. The end result was to be titled, “Brooks Sweet—Player of the World”. I made a few reproductions, giving him one and my asking him to autograph a print for me.
“Keep stopping them!” was what Brooks wrote on my piece.
“Keep teaching them”… is what Brooks definitely does best.