Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Navy's Syd Abernathy Part 3

West Point's Michie Stadium 
I had the honor to see Syd Abernethy play my senior year in high school in Croton and his senior year in college at the Naval Academy in a quarterfinal NCAA playoff game at West Point in 1981. Before that game, I had never heard of him. In addition, it was my first time seeing an African American in game, and one who clearly was one of the best players on the field and one who played my position too—attack. Many people don’t know I was an attackman in high school.

My Earliest Exposure to Lacrosse:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Navy's Syd Abernethy Part 2

Me playing attack against Suffern High School in 1981 in Rockland County, New York 
When Syd Abernethy enrolled in the Naval Academy, the school had a reputation for great attackman including Hall of Famers Jimmy Lewis (Uniondale 64-66), Jeff Long (Irondequoit 74-77), Brendan Schneck (Syosset 77-78), and Mike Buzzell (West Genesse 77-80). Abernethy continued that tradition going on to start at the attack position as a sophomore. After Schneck transferred to Hopkins to play midfield, Abernethy, Buzzell, and Dickie Wheman developed into a triple threat on attack before Buzzell graduated two years later. Abernethy would earn honorable mention All American honors his junior year, “the next year I just outworked everyone, coming to practice early and leaving late,” says Abernethy, and his hard work paid off. I asked him if he ever experienced racism during his high school or college playing days. “No, people in Baltimore knew lacrosse and my performance on the field spoke for itself and I never experienced it on the lacrosse field,” says Abernethy. 

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Navy's Syd Abernethy Part 1

 Navy vs. Hopkins game circa 1978 
Syd “the squid” Abernethy gained his nickname for his patented head and shoulder fake at the attack position that allowed him to blow by defensemen and score bunches of points during his lacrosse career. A lot of young players today of all stripes know nothing about him. I witnessed his game first hand and I think his story is important for serious fans and students of the game. A tall well-built attackman with powerful legs and blinding speed, Abernethy was born at John’s Hopkins University Hospital in 1958. He grew up in Annapolis, Maryland where he first played middle school lacrosse at the Key school and then later for a Hopkins’ lacrosse alum, Dave Roberts, at Annapolis High School located down the street from the U. S. Naval Academy. At Annapolis High, he excelled both at athletics and academics where he achieved high school lacrosse All-American honors. His brother, who was three years older than him, played as a walk on defensemen at the Naval Academy for Hall of Fame Navy coach Dick Szlasa. Syd received offers to play college ball at West Point, Yale, and Navy and he chose to follow his brother to Navy in the summer of 1977. More on Syd and the role he played as part of Navy’s triple threat offense tomorrow.

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