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Road Trip Dad - Lake Placid - Day One

By Dan Witmer , 08/03/16, 11:00AM EDT



Eighty-nine games today, starting at 9 AM and finishing up around 6:30. We’ll still call it a 12-hour day, as staff members were on the field at 7 AM and we didn’t leave until things were put away and the last score was loaded on the computer.


Eighty-nine teams today, playing in nine different divisions – five for boys and four for girls. Twelve fields, at three different sites. Eight time slots, with games beginning every 65 minutes.


The 27th annual Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Tournament is under way, with scholastic games starting Monday morning and champions being crowned on Wednesday. Day One was cloudy from start to finish, with some periods of steady rain broken up by a drizzle ranging from light to heavy.


From my perspective, Day One went pretty smoothly. Everyone (teams, referees, and score keepers) reported to their fields on time, all the scores got back to me, and all the results were posted on the website. Several three-team pools were determined after the teams played their first two games, but most of the seeding will be done during Day Two.


Other people might give you different description of Monday’s games and results. Not all teams checked in like they were supposed to, and some still owe paperwork (rosters, etc). There was a red card and subsequent ejection in one of the girls’ games (not to mention seven yellow cards in the same game!). Vendors had some inventory get soaked. A player apparently broke his wrist – in the first half of his first game. Our LP store ran out of popular Summit Lacrosse Tournament gear after just a few hours. There were some rumblings about eligibility on a few teams.


But don’t get me wrong – Day One was a great day. Even though I spent a large portion of the day (high and dry) in the white trailer office, I still had the opportunity to say hi to friends I haven’t seen in a year or so. Others asked about Brian’s travels, or Eric’s current status. It was fun catching up with friends, teammates, and former players. I even got to see some of my Oswego HS players, who were here with their CNY Roadhawks team to play in the Boys ’19-’21 Gold division…


Of course, there were some people missing. Brittany Rowe, who in a few short years became a big piece of the administrative puzzle, couldn’t get time off from her new job, and her organizational skills and leadership were missed before we got started. Brian, my lax-wandering son who was planning on being here this year, is off in Budapest watching a different lacrosse tournament.


But the face I miss the most is Mark Snyder’s. Mark passed away this spring after a courageous battle with cancer. He was already named a Lake Placid Legend, and this year his initials are included on the piece of tape featured on the raised helmet in the 2016 LP T-shirt. And you don’t have to buy the T-shirt to see this – the same Graph-Tex artwork is featured on the cover of this year’s LP program, a beautiful 44-page collection of history, schedules, rules, and advertising. Mark lived in Lake Placid, seemed to know everyone, and would gladly recommend motels and restaurants, driving shortcuts, and other local information – and always with a smile.


I’m reminded of Bruce Sprngsteen’s words of loss and love when he said to his audiences about the deaths of E Street Band members Dan Federici and Clarence Clemons, “If you’re here, and we’re here, then they’re here.” I truly believe that Mark Snyder is in some way still with us.



I’m having internet issues here in my Lake Placid accommodations, so I didn’t get a chance to send out the story I wanted to on Monday. I’m also sending this piece in later than I would have liked. Still, my goal is to get something out each day, trying to capture the mood, the highlights, and the spirit of the 27th Summit Lacrosse Tournament.


Here’s a bit of what I wanted to get out earlier…


The story I want to tell, the one I’m still trying to explain to myself as well as others, is the chaos that comprised the four days leading up to Day One.


Plan A on Thursday was pretty simple. I was going to Rochester to pick up Eric (who was flying East from Denver) and then we were going to the 7:30 PM Rochester Rattlers vs. Denver Outlaws game at Aquinas HS.


Well, Eric never made it to Rochester. His connecting flight from JFK to Rochester was cancelled and the next best he could do was fly into Buffalo on Friday. That’s right – Buffalo. On Friday. And get this – if he was to take the Buffalo route, he’d have to fly to Pittsburgh and then Detroit in order to get into Buffalo.


So I drove to Buffalo on Friday and picked up my son.


On Saturday we left Oswego at 5:45 AM to meet my brothers and family in Liverpool to drive together down to Lancaster, PA for a Witmer family reunion. We got to Lancaster just after 12 noon and had a great time with aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, and more. Eric and I stayed in a motel Saturday night and had breakfast with most everyone on Sunday morning – the day we had to get into Lake Placid.


But first we had to get the 1981 Shasta RV from Vermont, so we drove from Pennsylvania, through New Jersey, up the New York State Thruway, and over to the Green Mountain State. We met up with the boys’ friend, Sam Miller, about 45 minutes south of Burlington, so I didn’t have to put in the extra hours and extra miles that they were going to tackle. I got to Lake Placid around 7:30; they got in around 1:30 AM.


So to summarize…


Thursday – incomplete mission to Rochester and back


Friday – successful mission to Buffalo and back to pick up my son


Saturday – another successful mission to Lancaster, PA to the family reunion.


Sunday – one last successful nine-hour mission from PA to Vermont, taking in NJ and NY en route.


Road Trip Dad, indeed. Lake Placid never looked so good.


Drive safely, everyone.


- Dan Witmer