Undefeated: In Every Sense
A global health crisis forced the members of the men’s lacrosse team to wait 381 days to step back on to the field. That is a long time to be separated from something you love and to be apart from people who push you to do your best, offer you unconditional support and always have your back. Yet, when the ’Phins finally took the field against Adelphi University on March 20, their latest start to a season in more than 20 years, they did not allow the challenges of the tumultuous past year to define them. Instead, they made up for that lost time – rapidly. They defeated Adelphi’s Panthers, 12-7, then the College of Saint Rose, then Pace University, and on and on, until they ended their season undefeated, earning their sixth national championship in 17 years. It was a sweet victory for a team that saw its promising 2020 season derailed suddenly by forces beyond its control and which saw five players return for a fifth season thanks to the N.C.A.A.’s decision to award student-athletes an additional year of eligibility. It was also marked by the absence of midfielder Kaiden Tubbert, who died suddenly in March of 2020. Memories of Tubbert’s quick wit and disarming smile certainly inspired and motivated the players throughout the season as they wore “KT12” stickers on their helmets. Those who will be returning to the team next year will undoubtedly take all of lessons they learned over the course of this exciting and challenging season with them into the next one. It begins in mid-February.
The Sweet Sound of Silence
This spring, I accomplished something I have dreamed about for years: I threw a no hitter against St. Rose, right on the Heights at Dick Rockwell Field.
I didn’t realize I was throwing a no hitter until my teammates refused to talk to me between innings. Not speaking to pitchers while they are throwing a perfect game or a no hitter is a well-known superstition. When we reached the fifth inning and I tried to spark conversation on the bench and no one would respond, I started to realize what was happening. During our pregame warmup, I felt terrible. I could not control my fastball and my breaking stuff was not as good as it normally is. I asked Coach Scott Cassidy what I could possibly be doing wrong and if there was a mechanical fix to it. He told me to go out there and things would adjust.
That is exactly what happened. When I got to two strikes on the final batter of the game, I caught the ball from our catcher and knew that with the next pitch I would get it done. Sure enough, the next pitch was strike three and I was swarmed by my teammates. Being able to share that moment with them and Coach Cassidy, and later with my parents on the phone, was incredibly special. It was a great moment that I will never forget, and I was blessed to celebrate it with the Le Moyne community.
Joe Vail ’21 is a dual major in management and human resources from Cromwell, Conn. He is now pursuing his master’s degree in business administration from Le Moyne, and plans to attend law school.
The Comeback Kid
As a student-athlete, sport is part of who I am, and that can include the risk of injury. Unfortunately, I succumbed to that risk and needed shoulder surgery my freshman year. There were days during recovery that I would have given anything to get off the stationary bike – when the support of my coaches, trainers, teammates and family members was needed more than ever. I was given an opportunity to take all the time I needed to recover and I could not have asked for a better comeback season. Being voted to third team all-league team and all-rookie team is something I was not expecting as a redshirt freshman, and it meant the world to me that all the hard work and perseverance paid off. I will be forever grateful for my coaches and trainers, who worked with me every step of the way to understand my frustration, to be there to support me, and to push me to keep working. Having pitching taken away from me was something I certainly wasn’t prepared for, but I am thankful to have a strong and
supportive community behind me with every step of the way.
“My attitude is that if you push me toward something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.”
– Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is an athlete who needs no introduction. People may know him for his six championship rings, or they may even respect him for his dominant years with the Chicago Bulls. I admire him for his constant hunger to be the best athlete in the room. When he was pushed out of his comfort zone, he worked that much harder to be the best. Here at Le Moyne, we call this quality magis, which means excellence with integrity. Every time that I step on the court I strive to have his mindset.
In the quote above, Jordan talks about being pushed toward weakness. Every athlete here at Le Moyne has faced weakness this year. Personally, the lack of reps in our short practices has been difficult. It has caused me to become less confident in my ability. Last semester, I found it challenging to step on the court every day because I felt so discouraged. Instead of pushing past that hurdle, I chose to stay comfortable with my level of play. However, this semester my outlook has completely changed. I look at every single half-hour practice as an opportunity to get stronger. I have pushed past that obstacle and I expect more from myself. Going into practice every day with this mentality has allowed me to demonstrate what magis looks like. Keeping this core value in mind brings me one step closer to greatness. Just like Jordan, I have been able to “turn that perceived weakness into a strength.”