Chris’ buds were battling it out on the lacrosse floor this weekend.
Of course they were! The first weekend of real summer weather and all the lacrosse guys are inside in a sweaty arena. As soon as the rain starts to fall, they’ll be back outside for field lacrosse. And that’s how it goes!
Langley has battled to become a member of the lacrosse elite and this weekend having their Intermediate A (ages 17-18) team challenging for a provincial medal was a very good thing.
Fast forward. After an excellent tournament, the Thunder are in the Bronze medal game. They lose, they get nothing. Near the beginning of the game the Richmond team calls for an equipment check on one of Langley’s top players, James Rahe. They toss him out of the game for illegal equipment. Guess what was illegal? He was wearing one of Chris’ memorial wristbands!!
I simply couldn’t write this blog yesterday.
The words would have been much sharper.
At this point I’m not going to spend too much time on the decision, who made it and what their motivation was. That call took a star player off the floor and ruined his chance to play in this Provincial bronze medal final.
That’s a Be The Worst moment.
Now…this story has a Be The Best moment too.
Langley was down by a goal with 30 seconds to go in the game.
A certain Mr. Danny Spady, a defensive specialist and one year younger than Chris, had the ball. Chris loved playing with Danny. He is a tenacious, aggressive, hard-working, never-quit kid….and he doesn’t score that much! As was relayed to me he drove down the floor with the passion and aggression that only comes from playing for a cause.
Yes…the decision by the opposing coaching staff and the officials gave the boys just the extra cause they needed yesterday.
You take a guy off the floor for wearing Chris’ wristband…look out…the motivation just got cranked.
Danny’s goal pushed the game into overtime and Brett Dobray displayed his amazing hands and touch with I believe both goals which pushed Langley into the overtime lead (2-1) and sealed the deal for the Bronze Medal.
What a story.
Now…for the boys on Richmond, it was obviously not their call. That responsibility lies directly with their coach and the officials and for the love of the game, I hope that kind of decision making is reviewed by the league. For the boys themselves, Richmond had a great season and I wish them all the best with their next steps in lacrosse and life.
In life we know we can’t change what happened. But what do we know? WE ARE IN CHARGE OF OUR NEXT DECISION!! We can be in charge of our next shift. Our next shot. Our next thought process.
As I texted one of Langley’s players when I heard this news, I’m sure Chris had a few things to say about the incident yesterday from his ‘season ticket cloud seats’ and I know that he is with you all….always!!
Great job Langley.
Way to turn a negative into an amazing BE THE BEST moment.
As much as we look ahead and live for tomorrow, there are still times to reflect on history.
I stumbled across some pictures from Chris and the Bantam Box Lacrosse squad from BC as they represented the Province so admirably in August of 2007.
I had written updates for the BC Lacrosse magazine and this was my final piece summarizing the tournament.
In that final game Chris played the game of his life to that point, being a physical presence that helped BC clinch the Bronze medal in a heavyweight showdown with Alberta. (ok, as heavyweight as 14 year olds can be…which is actually quite heavy…!)
The journey for the Bantam BC boys began months ago. There were regional selection camps. There was the Team BC final selection camp. For those chosen to represent BC, a number of weekends were spent training for the national championships.
The 22 lacrosse players, along with coaches and entourage, jetted out of Vancouver on Thursday, August 2. After spending 2 days in Peterborough, Ontario for a conditioning camp, the team traveled to the dorms at Durham College in Oshawa, which would be home for the next week.
On Sunday, August 5th, the highlight of the day was the opening ceremonies at the Iroquois Park Sports Centre, touted as Canada’s largest municipal sports centre.
The teams were cheered on by enthusiastic supporters as they entered the arena. Team BC looked strongly West Coast in their multi-blue and gold jerseys proudly showing the mountains and a west coast ‘feel’.
It felt like every team would be immediately ready to set up the nets and get playing, but there was one more night to go.
On Monday morning, seeing the Team BC players hit the floor in the warm-up of game one against Manitoba produced chills. “Those jerseys look awesome”, whispered one onlooker from an opposing team to his buddy. His friend couldn’t say anything. They were. And as good as the uniforms looked, Bantam Team BC looked even better in them. This was the first official game they had played together and the game ended with a score of 16-1 for the BC crew.
Team BC played Saskatchewan Monday afternoon which was a hard hitting matinee with both teams making their opponents pay the price to get to the net. Team BC finished the game strong with a final score of 10-2.
With two solid first-day games under their collective belts, rest was the top priority post-game, with a major test against Ontario on Tuesday.
Monday’s muggy weather made the arenas the equivalent of being in a steam room with a parka on and you could add an additional 10 degrees on the floor itself. The event staff could not operate the exhaust fans either, explaining that by doing so the draw of air into the building would produce dangerous slippery floor conditions because of the moist, humid conditions outside.
Tuesday’s conditions improved somewhat in the morning with overcast skies and less humidity allowing the exhaust fans to run.
Team Ontario plays big and they came out hitting and highly aggressive. Team BC took the first period to adjust and came back hard in the second with an exceptional effort but the spirited affair ended with a 5-2 loss for BC.
Team Ontario looked strong, but Team BC was immediately hungry to play again. They didn’t have long to wait as Nova Scotia was the challenger in the 6:30pm game. Team BC jumped to an early lead and dominated the run of the play. The final score was BC 10 and Nova Scotia 2.
Wednesday was a rest day.
Thursday’s results were not what Team BC would have wanted. The morning affair featured a game against a rough and tumble brand of lacrosse from Alberta. The Bantams got behind early and could never completely recover. The game ended in an all-out frenzy with Team BC running out of time to mount a full comeback.
Following a brief lunch break, it was ‘game-on’ with Iroquois Nation. A win in this game meant advancing to the 2 vs. 3 playoff game on Friday with a chance to proceed to the gold medal game on Saturday. A loss in the game would mean a bittersweet day off on Friday with a run at the bronze medal.
The Iroquois Bantams showed BC and every fan in attendance a little thing or two about lacrosse on Thursday evening. Their passing was quick and rhythmic; almost mesmerizing. Their shooting was beautifully wicked. It was as if the Iroquois were stating, “Don’t forget who invented this game.” The symphony of drive, desire, and stick skills mixed with quiet aggression and flawless execution culminated in a 9-1 win for the Iroquois.
This is not to say that Team BC didn’t show up. They did. They worked hard and at times their hard work was misinterpreted into penalty minutes that ended up putting them in multiple odd man situations.
Following the unexpected day off on Friday, the Bantam squad had one thing and one thing only in their sites on Saturday. The Bronze Medal.
They hit. They ran. They shot. They never gave up. If they wanted to have an excuse to fold their tents, they had one in the first period after out-chancing Alberta but finding themselves down by a couple of goals.
In a battle against a team that plays a mean and physical brand of lacrosse you have to play hard and you have to play smart. Team BC executed their game plan perfectly.
Building on a 2nd period attack that just wouldn’t quit, goals were scored by Wesley Berg, Drew Millikin, Mason Pynn, Steve Ferdinandi and Michael Henry. The final score was Team BC 8 and Alberta 4.
The boy’s elation was palatable. Parents and supporters hugged in the stands. The coaches high-fived each other as the players swarmed their goalie, Ryley Brown, in an embrace of champions.
“I’m glad we got things done”, said a proud Coach Sean Beasley. Getting things done was not an easy task. This team could have easily been very down after losing to Alberta and Team Iroquois on Thursday, but they rallied and came to work on Saturday like a team possessed.
With the Bronze Medals proudly around their necks, the players traded gear with new friends who had been foes and looked forward to the next time they could play for their Province in a National Championship.
The Bantam squad from BC did their province proud and they will inevitably bring back experiences, emotions and skill that will build their club teams and ultimately continue to build the beautiful game of lacrosse.