Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Making of a Sports Team

By Angel Matos

“In high school I loved to play Lacrosse and Football. I remember my coach would tell me to keep with Lacrosse and bag Football, but I thought to myself, ‘What did he know?’ Right? ...Turns out I should have kept with Lacrosse.”
--Michael Looney, Assistant Coach for STAC Athletics

On the evening of Tuesday April 8, 2014 at 9 pm, a group of eager, young men gathered in the lecture room Costello 103. Just from a glance, I knew that many of us were clueless as to what the night would hold for us. Coach Michael Looney sent a group text to the men who signed up with him earlier that week, describing where to meet and mentioned the possibility of throwing the ball around. When Coach Looney made his way to the front of the room, everyone’s face lit up with excitement.

Two weeks prior to the meetup, Coach Looney sat by the STAC security office with large signs hanging behind him displaying Field Hockey, Baseball and more importantly Men’s Lacrosse. For a while, the school was only offering Women’s Lacrosse, which was unfair to the students, particularly males, who have played contact sports in their high schools and then come to STAC and there are no opportunities to play. That is talent gone to waste, if I may say. Luckily, the decision was made to introduce Men’s Lacrosse to the school, giving many young men another possibility to gain some Spartan Pride.

On the night of April 8, Coach Looney gave the young men a clear breakdown of what the main goal of the Men’s Lacrosse program was. He began by explaining that the program will be considered a club sport and running on a club schedule.

“Playing on a club schedule can go one of two ways: 1) We can be the sort of club league that goes out to the field, throws the ball around a few times and then we have a kegger on the field or 2) We can be the club league that practices hard and goes off to weekend tournaments with other club Lacrosse leagues and competes. We’re going to be the club Lacrosse that practices hard and competes in tournaments every weekend,” he said.

The men who were in attendance that night were given an honorable opportunity to become the start of a legacy at STAC by becoming the inaugural team for STAC Men’s Lacrosse. For those who continue to follow the program or become interested along the way, they will be given practice sessions from two potential coaches, whose credentials are spoken highly of, and play on a club schedule for the program’s first season, Spring 2015. The following season, tryouts will be implemented and the Men’s Lacrosse program will evolve from a club sport to achieving the program's main goal: becoming a Division II team at STAC.

There is time between now and Spring 2015 to recruit more athletes to participate in this program as well as time to practice on Lacrosse skills. Of the men at the meeting, only a couple had a decent amount of experience and there were even a few who never played the sport before. The rest in attendance had experience playing the sport but it’s been some time since they last played.

There will need to be dedication to the practices and the sport itself to compete with Long Island schools with a longer-running Men’s Lacrosse program like Molloy College. But there is no doubt that STAC will have yet another sport bringing school pride and spirit to its doors.

Angel Matos is a student at St. Thomas Aquinas College who is a Career Ambassador on campus and is going for a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts. He is determined to use the skills he learns to pursue a career in public relations or broadcast television.

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