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Road Trip Dad - Lake Placid - Day Four: Where Everybody Knows Your Name

By Dan Witmer, 08/05/16, 11:00AM EDT



Thursday at Lake Placid was the lightest day so far, with just seven fields going and only 51 games played. We had eight divisions playing – the eight oldest men’s age brackets, but all games were played at the North Elba Athletic Fields (NEAF) except for three played at the end of the day at the Northwood School.


It was another sunny day, probably too hot to be ideal, and somehow I managed to spend enough time outside the trailer and main tent to get some serious red coloration on my face and arms. Imagine; I’ve been outside almost every day since March, and here I am getting sunburned in Lake Placid in August.


Games started at 8:30 in the morning, a half hour earlier than the first half of the week. Games got slightly longer, as the older men play quarters instead of halves. New games started every 75 minutes.


The first project of the day was to solve the Sailin’ Shoe’s problem of having three games, in three consecutive age groups, scheduled for the same time slot. This is only a problem when players compete in more than one age group, which is pretty frequent in these divisions. We took the middle age group’s 9:45 Friday game and switched it with another game, and that seemed to do the trick. Later in the day we had two other similar requests to move games, one from two teams that shared the same goalie, and another from three teams that were sharing two goalies. We actually tried to accommodate them by moving games, but we found that we only created more conflicts for other team, teams that didn’t have problems in the first place. In the end we stuck with the original schedule.


The slightly slower pace allowed me to go exploring a bit after I had recorded scores and advanced teams toward their next games. I went to Field 4 to see my friends on the Achy Bones team, as they opened their schedule against the Burnt Orange Too. It was a 3-2 game when I was there, around halftime, and even though Burnt Orange went on to win by a 5-3 final score, the Achy Bones boys felt pretty good about their performance. I played with a lot of the Achy Bones guys when I played in the UOLL several years ago, and I was greeted by all kinds of handshakes and fistbumps as I went down their sideline. With Joe Leone, Dan Sheehan, Wok Shenandoah, and Pat Crook on defense, Achy Bones’s defense was pretty solid. Dan Bartlett ’96 and Chris Delano were at attack, and with Blair and Drew White among the midfielders, I felt like I knew most everyone and was part of the team.


I talked with Paul Mizer ’85, Chad Longway ’97, Vince Lang ’88, Patrick Williams ’96 and referees Dave Scutella and Kevin Couse – all former players for me at Oswego State.


But it was the quick, causal “bumps” (as the NCAA describes the brief, random meetings between coaches and potential recruits at camps, tournaments, etc) with college and high school coaches past and present, people like Dan Whelan, Dan Sheehan, Brian Rodgers, Rory Whipple, Steve Beville, Rob Randall, Mike Mahoney, Scott Marr, Lelan Rogers, Bob Deegan, Rick Young, Zak VanValkenburg, and Bob Leary – people I’ve come to know over all the years of camps, clinics, scouting, recruiting, and game day head-to-head battles – that really make the NEAF fields as friendly as Cheers (or your favorite watering hole). You don’t have to look far or for long before you find a familiar face, a smile, and certainly a laugh or two.


To all that, add the fact that the refreees’ tent and headquarters is now positioned about 15 feet from my work station, so there is the constant hello or wave to another set of people I’ve known for up to 35 years. We joke about old arguments (which I, of course, don’t seem to remember), share retirement perks (oh, so many!), and update one another on the well-being of mutual friends and family members. Another LP highlight!


So whether I’m Woody, Sam, Diane, or Coach – or maybe some perfect mutation of all four! – the Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse Classic is where I feel most at home this week. So stop in, drop by, pull up a stool or a chair, and enjoy this lacrosse establishment – “where everybody knows your name!”


Drive carefully!


- Dan Witmer