During my days coaching the defense at Gettysburg College (1989 to 1992), Brian McGurn from Chicago impressed me from the first day I saw him on the field during a fall ball practice. Back in the early 90s lacrosse coaches did not view Chicago as a recruiting hot bed and there were fewer recruiting camps and select team tournaments for players (who can afford them!) from Illinois to get a look from schools back east. Gettysburg Coach Hank Janzyck J (coach J) is a great recruiter but the guy puts in the time—calling players regularly and hosting them on campus. Perhaps I would have gone into college lacrosse coaching if it were not for recruiting, scouting, and breaking down film part of the job—I just could not stomach it—not that grading papers is a cake walk either. But back to Brian, this cat from the windy city had average speed but in my opinion he had perhaps one of the smoothest sticks and arsenal of checks I’ve seen in the game. Plus the guy was a vacuum on ground balls and coachable. I really enjoyed watching his game develop over my two years with him. Brian when on to earn first team All-American honors after I left which I expected. Brian stayed on to take my old position as defensive coordinator for coach J; in 2002 the team appeared in the D III title game. I remember encouraging Brian to try out for the Men’s National Team. He received a coveted invite to the 2002 tryout which is really an accomplishment but did not make the team. We actually had a nice talk before the tryout in which I tried to encourage him to play is game. He did not make the team but the odds were stacked against him. Why because back then G-burg players did not have the same cache and respect that they have today. Brian was a history major at G-burg our mutual love of history and lacrosse has helped maintain our relationship over the years.
For those, like my wife, who can’t stand typos, watch out! I have severe ADD which kept me from moving forward with this blog for too long. My friend encouraged me to start blogging and just disclose my disability the same way I do on the first day of class as a college professor. Folks I regularly make spelling mistakes because of my disability. In order to get two books and several academic journal articles published I use a professional copy editor. To blog that would take too much time and money. So if you can overlook my typos, enjoy my musings.
Fred Opie is a Professor History and Foodways at Babson College and a contributor on the radio show The Splendid Table. His latest book is Zora Neale Hurston on Florida Food. Hurston did for Florida what William Faulkner did for Mississippi—provided insights into a state’s culture. The book is an essential read for lovers of history, cooking, and eating. For more on Fred Opie visit http://www.fredopie.com