Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hempstead's Lacrosse Legacy

Aaron Jones clearing the ball in a game at Yale University, circa 1987
Hempstead, New York, is a predominately African American suburban community with a urban feel to it. It had a successful program under Coach Al Londy which for some unknown reason went defunct but not before sending attackman James Ford onto Rutgers where he earned All American honors. After Londy, Coach Al Hodish jumped started the program in 1975 introducing it to me and a bunch of junior high classmates. That nucleus of players in my community developed a bond with each other and passion for lacrosse. By 1980 we had advanced to high school, added players like Danny Williams (Army), Brian Duncan, Tim Pratt, and John Williams (all three played at Adelphi), and we had become a dominate program used to competing at the highest level of lacrosse without regard to region or resume of our opponents. We played legendary teams from Concord, Massachusetts, Carlisle, Pennsylvania; Ottawa, Canada; Baltimore, Maryland; and throughout Long Island. By the end of my senior year in high school (1983), guys on the team had earned All league, All County, All Long Island, and invitations to play in the National High School North – South All Star game. Many of us went on to play collegiate lacrosse and earn All American honors and invitations to play in the college North South All Star game. For me, Hempstead lacrosse was a springboard to Cornell University and a chance to play for legendary coach and Hall of Famer, Richie Moran. Today when I think back to my roots, I am grateful for the springboard to a division 1 lacrosse program and a prestigious academic atmosphere, however, I am more thankful for the foundation that community provided me. At Cornell things were tremendously different. Socially I, like all my high school teammates, transitioned from a uniform background where we were all black and working class to an elite Ivy League environment with an almost exclusively upper class white student body and faculty, with a few black faculty and some blacks working as staff around campus. Our love for the game was the only tangible commonality between me and a great majority of my white teammates at Cornell. Through it all, Cornell lacrosse was a phenomenal period in my life. On the field we were fortunate to resurrect the winning prowess that lacrosse program had established throughout most of its history; more tomorrow.

Hempstead Lacrosse History: http://lacrossememoir.blogspot.com/search?q=Hempstead

Cornell Lacrosse Stories: http://lacrossememoir.blogspot.com/search?q=Cornell

No comments:

Post a Comment