“A true friend freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably.” – William Penn (Quaker leader and Founder of Pennsylvania, 1644-1718)
“You need a LIFE, outside of your life.” – Phil Dusenberry (former Chairman, BBDO-North America)
2002. Something was just missing – more like lacking. It was driving me nuts and realized that I had no OUTLET from my day-to-day, week-to-week… that sort of thing. Bar meet-ups with friends and co-workers were routine (and getting old), considering I just graduated from college two years ago, back then. That OUTLET or RELEASE was in a form of regular athletic competition and camaraderie that work couldn’t fill.
“Good things happen when you meet strangers.” – Yo-Yo Ma (cellist and composer)
I was walking around the Union Square-area of Manhattan on a chilly, late-March weekend, and happened to pass by Paragon Sports – the (overpriced) place where my parents purchased my first lacrosse stick in grade school. Having time to kill, I decided to enter and peruse their sparse selection of lacrosse sticks and equipment, in the interest of seeing ‘what’s new’. I looked at what they had and nothing caught my interest. A customer next to me said out loud,
“the material today is way different than my time during the 70’s… I’m Drew by the way…”
I shook Drew’s hand and noticed an STX Lacrosse cap on his head. We discussed our lacrosse backgrounds/experiences and I wondered if this was the ONLY lacrosse-fan in my hometown of NYC (besides myself). Drew insisted to exchange numbers to keep in touch and I found that a bit strange at first, but I eventually agreed. Drew left many messages on my voice-mail asking to see if I wanted to “throw the lacrosse ball around” but I never responded. Weeks and months passed and Drew called again (among many times prior), but this time I decided to acknowledge his phone call at the least. He mentioned getting word of a pick-up lacrosse game that was to happen the weekend coming up at the City College of New York (at one point, one of the oldest, continuing lacrosse programs in the nation!). I was excited with the news and agreed, and we decided to meet-up and travel up to City College together. I collected my lacrosse equipment at my parent’s place, which I was happy they still kept! The feeling of playing in a big game the night before, regardless of a simple, pick-up game, returned to me.
Drew and I met in front of Paragon Sports and entered the subway going uptown to 137th St. Sticks and bags lying on the subway car, we got so many cold and strange stares from the ‘jaded New Yorkers’ around us. We got off at 137th St. and Broadway, got above ground and walked up a hill towards City College’s athletic facilites on Convent Ave. The tall stadium lights started to appear from the distance and upon our arrival, we reached an old astroturf-field, marked with lacrosse-field lines, two orange goal-cages and about 35 lacrosse players of different ages – stretching and throwing the lacrosse ball around. They were all NYC-based.
My life totally changed for the better, right there, at that moment!
Thanks to Drew, I finally found what was missing.
(With Drew Andreotti – center. 2005 NCAA Div. 1 Final Four)
(‘Throwing the rock’ on the Parade Grounds/Prospect Park – Brooklyn, NY)