I know I’m going to get flak for this, but he (Dan) knew it was coming, as per his request for a write-up. This is for you, Dan Willson!
In 2011, I got the amazing opportunity to play lacrosse in Thailand with a select group from Lax All Stars. I remember it clearly – getting on a plane on May 31st in NYC, arriving Bangkok on June 1st and thinking how my first day of summer just started! We were there to participate in the first ever, “Grow the Game Invitational” hosted by the Thailand Lacrosse Association. The experience consisted of clinics and practices with members of the Thai National Team, touring Bangkok and the surrounding areas and highlighted with an exhibition game between all players involved–both Thai-based and the international travelers that flew in! I heard that for some in our group, it was their first time outside of the United States and in a foreign country. For me, it was the FIRST time I had my lax gear in a plane to play, instead of coaching in the past.
My roommate during the trip was Dan Willson, a d-pole from Birmingham, Alabama. An IT-wizard and lax-string-KING-stick-DOCTOR, Dan was always equipped with a good story to tell. So when it came to the rosters being announced for the big game, we found that we would be on different teams.
The game itself was very back-and-forth and made for some great, competitive lacrosse. As a goalie, you have the BEST view of the field and when the opposing team’s goalie found himself out of the cage on a failed clearing attempt, the loose ball was picked up by former German National Lacrosse Team member, Dennis Kowa. Dennis had pretty much an empty net but Dan came in to fill the cage. All I remember was both Dan and Dennis freeze for a mili-second–then Dennis doing some fakes and Dan throwing his arms and limbs out. Dennis took the shot but I couldn’t see the ball travel in the air, 80-yards away. I thought that Dennis missed an open goal. I remember not seeing the net move or shake but all I did see was Dan jump and up and down, like a kid on a trampoline!
My team won that game in the end, but after the game, Dan kept on asking “Did you see my save?!”
My response was “No, I didn’t!… that was actually a save?”
With the power of Facebook, we kept in touch and recently he wanted to surprise his wife with a piece of art for their wedding anniversary. In the email inquiry, he attached a reference pic from the game photographer who captured the scene well and told me to do a rendition of the scene in mind. I laughed at first as it took me back and scheduled the project in the books. Below, are the series of development pics:
Sorry, I still don’t remember seeing this happening… )
At this point, I labeled it “D. Wilson” by my signature mark on the corner. Dan didn’t give me a title when discussing the final piece… but since this was his moment, I’ll just call it “Dan Willson’s–THE SAVE!”
Dan Willson’s SAVE!
11×14 inches. Pen & ink on bristol board.
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Flyer/promo card design for the event.
Dan (left), Me (#1) and Dennis (right) with a member of the Thai National Team. Post-game photo ops! Great to see the globalization of lacrosse in this pic.
In the back of a Thai “Tuk-Tuk” touring Bangkok. Crammed in the back with LAS co-founder, Jeff Brunelle (left).
Our room in Thailand. My wife would KILL me if I did this in the house!