Men's Lacrosse | Men’s lacrosse champions reap spoils of victory in ceremony
Published: Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, October 5, 2010 08:10
Four months removed from reaching the summit of their collegiate lacrosse careers, members of the 2010 men's lacrosse team gathered in Cousens Gym to receive the outstanding spoils of victory from last spring's National Championship−winning campaign.
After receiving a standing ovation on Saturday in front of 2,500 fans at halftime of the football team's Homecoming game, Jumbos past and present — and many of their parents — headed to a special ceremony filled with hugs, speeches, tears, a magnificent film and, finally, the custom−designed championship rings and watches that had been in development since the team's triumph in late May.
"The ceremony was amazing, especially for our graduated class of seniors," senior D.J. Hessler, the reigning NESCAC Player of the Year, said. "It was the first time we had all been together since that game, and it was great to see everyone."
"The support from our alumni and the parents was unbelievable at the championship game and then yet again at the ceremony," senior Ryan Molloy, who was second in the NESCAC in points (65) behind Hessler (91), said. "Our coaches did an awesome job putting together the ring ceremony on one of the most chaotic days of the year with recruits coming, Homecoming and coach [Mike Daly] having to coach in the football game just prior."
The ceremony provided a forum for reflection from coaches and players. Each player from the Class of 2010 was introduced with some kind words from Daly and then had his own chance to speak to the crowd about his coaches, his team, his supporters and his overall experience as a member of the team. The prevailing theme of each speech was family: that being a member of the men's lacrosse team was being a member of a lifelong family that had shaped the character of each person who was part of it.
"The best part of the ceremony was just being with all the guys again," senior Alec Bialosky, an All−NESCAC First Team player, said. "A lot of the seniors have moved away, and to get to be with them, along with the alumni that we played with before, was awesome. The guys in this program are the best, and just getting to hang with them again was the most important part to me."
The highlight of the event was a documentary — approximately an hour in length — created by senior Arlin Ladue, who shot hundreds of hours of footage of the Jumbos squad from preseason training all the way through to the locker room celebrations after the final seconds ticked off the clock at M & T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md. Ladue spent the past four months editing the film in preparation for Saturday's presentation, and his efforts were far from unnoticed.
"I think I had goosebumps through the entire video," Molloy said. "Arlin did an absolutely amazing job, and the fact that we have that season documented is amazing. ... I cannot even describe in words the way the video made me feel."
"We joke around that if we had all 500−plus hours of raw footage that Arlin shot, we would sit and watch every last minute of it without ever getting sick of it," he continued.
Hessler echoed those thoughts.
"Credit all goes to Arlin, who somehow figures out the means to spend an incredible amount of time on this project, while still working on other projects and being an engineering student," he said. "It was incredible just to relive most of the season, even if only for an instant. No movie or book can really give a full story of everything that goes on, but this was certainly the best attempt at it. It really was amazing."
For the freshmen and recruits in attendance, having seen the possibilities of what unwavering determination can produce, the ceremony and video will certainly provide inspiration to work hard this fall in preparation for another run deep into the postseason in the spring.
"I can't imagine that any of the freshmen or recruits that were there would not want to be in the same position and doing the same thing for years to come," Hessler said. "It is an unbelievable journey, and although it is a ton of hard work, it is thoroughly rewarding and so much fun. We always say as a team that no one will remember moments from the games, but we all will remember the process that got us there and the time we spent together as a team."
This team unity is what will remain with the players for the rest of their lives, more so than the rings, watches, jerseys, sticks and pictures. The hundreds of hours spent together training, practicing, playing in games, traveling, eating and living over the course of such a season are as memorable as the wins themselves.
"The rings and watches are amazing, but to be honest, they weren't the best part of the winning," Bialosky said. "Being able to share it with all my teammates and the alumni and knowing that we achieved it together was the best part. You can lose a ring, but those memories and feelings will be with all of us forever."