I was happy to join ESPN Radio in Albany to talk about Lyle Thompson, the impact of Denver winning its first national championship and the chances of a two-point line and a shot clock being implemented in the college game.
I didn’t play. I didn’t sweat, at least not to the point where it was noticeable. I didn’t parachute in like three men courageously did in a stiff wind during pre-game ceremonies. No, I just showed up to Navy Marine-Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md., along with roughly 10,000 others on Saturday afternoon, and watched what unfolded.
On a drizzly Thursday evening in late May in Washington, D.C., two men stood side-by-side inside the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, relatively invisible to the cocktail party crowd around them at a pre-Tewaaraton Award ceremony. But if those lacrosse enthusiasts, friends and family just a shoulder-length away knew what social media account access was in a pair of pants pockets nearby, it’s easy to imagine people would have lined up for any number of requests. Just like the kids and fans asking for autographs with the five men’s and five women’s Tewaaraton finalists.
Albany assistant coach Eric Wolf’s smartphone is notified of any mention of the Great Danes men’s lacrosse team on Twitter. And with Lyle and Miles Thompson both finalists for college lacrosse’s highest individual honor, he said “it’s getting crazy,” as anticipation built for the ceremony that eventually crowned the first-ever co-Tewaaraton winners in the form of the two brothers.
Ahead of the 38-nation 2014 Federation of International Lacrosse World Championship, hosted by US Lacrosse in Denver, I edited a 14-page comprehensive tournament preview, with features on Team USA, Canada, the Iroquois Nationals and the growth of the game overseas. This project was completed in collaboration with a former U.S. player and current Canadian team captain, who wrote preview stories, as well as freelance writers, photographer, team management and in-house staff and designer. See and read the full package here, beginning on page 52 of the July 2014 issue of Lacrosse Magazine.
It seems appropriate to start this story about Lyle Thompson with him at a dinner table surrounded by family.
So there was Lacrosse Magazine’s 2014 Preseason Player of the Year and Tewaaraton Award front-runner, on a mid-November Monday night, sitting at a circular, eight-person banquet hall table at a charity event in Latham, N.Y., a short drive north of Albany. In his arms, the college junior held his 7-month-old daughter, Mercy. She stood on his lap and they looked at each other face-to-face. To their right sat Thompson’s 2-year-old daughter, Layielle, eating chicken wings handed to her by Thompson’s older brother, Miles. You know Miles, the one who runs alongside Lyle the best attack line in college lacrosse right now and maybe ever.
Less than seven months after losing their coach and her unborn child in a tragic team bus accident, the Seton Hill women’s lacrosse team took its first steps toward closure on an unseasonably warm October night in Greensburg, Pa.
The ghosts of North Carolina teams of the past quarter century — the talk of not winning the big game and why — were nowhere to be found at 4:35 p.m. on Memorial Day Monday in the visiting locker room at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Joe Breschi’s last dab, the Cam Newton-inspired dance that made the Tar Heels’ coach Internet famous a week earlier after the program broke a 23-year final four drought, brushed those bad vibes out for another generation.
“Dad’s like the dab guy now,” Breschi’s wife, Judy, said, standing nearby, with three of the couple’s four daughters in toe. They had all just spent time celebrating on the field of the NFL’s Eagles. “I cried … and I cried again,” 10-year-old Lucy said in a stream of consciousness to no one in particular.
Beneath the south end zone seats, a party raged. Most of the 46 members of the 2016 edition of the Tar Heels gathered in the center of the long room, doing a dance of their own, gyrating in unison to house music that would make most DJs proud. Equipment, sweaty white-and-Carolina blue jerseys and other garments were scattered about, soaked by the perspiration of North Carolina’s epic 14-13 overtime win against top-seeded Maryland in an instant classic title game.
“We just won the national championship!” Breschi said, as if he couldn’t believe it.