Lacrosse heads into season with focus

Last year’s team huddle before facing McDonogh, March 25, 2022 – Mr. Jim Roese

Each new spring season brings one of the most iconic aspects of the campus: Fords Lacrosse. 

For the past nine months, the team has been hard at work. Workouts, scrimmages, and practices have been an integral part of their training program, strengthening and developing the team. 

“Playing together in the summer and then through the winter and fall, we’re starting to mesh well together. Everybody’s on the same page and feeling confident going into the season,” Fifth Former Jack Long said. 

Sixth Former Wills Burt echoed that sentiment. 

“The younger guys that we expected to have a good fall and good winter, they did exactly that,” Burt said. “They’re going to do great and we expect big things out of them.”

Not only has the team been working hard on the field and in the weight room, but team events like paintball and dinners have played a key role in developing team chemistry. 

“Playing paintball as a group was a blast,” Assistant Athletic Director and Head Lacrosse Coach Mr. Brendan Dawson said. “They got to shoot me, which was fun for them, but I thought it was a fun way to get together outside of just the weight room and on-field stuff.”

One of the biggest strengths of the team heading into the season is its attitude and mentality, staying focused on what is right in front of them.

“If everyone is pulling in the same direction, we’re going to be able to weather the storm when it comes.”

Mr. Brendan Dawson

“We’ve talked a lot about just the attitude and chemistry of the group. They are a very focused group right now, we just have to make sure we continue with that,” Coach Dawson said. “If everyone is pulling in the same direction, we’re going to be able to weather the storm when it comes.”

One of the largest changes of each new season brings the unfortunate loss of last year’s Sixth Form class, which played a critical role in bringing the Fords to the Inter-Ac Championship and a 14-6 record, but the team believes in this year’s group of Sixth Formers to step up. 

“I really love our group of seniors,” Coach Dawson said. “I just think they’re a really connected class. They’re motivated, they’re sending the right messages, and they’re living it every day.”

Coach Dawson has been trying to send to the new leaders a message on the importance of leading for others, and seeing leadership as a collective, rather than individual, pursuit. One of the tools he’s used to implement that type of leadership has been his newly created Leadership Seminar. 

“I’m a big believer in servant leadership, and that’s a lot of what we talk about in the seminar,” Coach Dawson said. “As a leader, it’s your job to serve the people that you’re leading.”

For the Sixth Formers, their last season is special to them, and they want it to be successful. 

“It’s bittersweet,” Burt said. “I’ve been here for so long, and lacrosse has been my world for so many years that I’m ready to leave, but at the same time, I don’t want it to end.”

The season itself will be challenging, as the schedule includes many teams out of the Inter-Ac league, but the Fords will take a different approach when it comes to their mentality. 

“Every opponent is a big opponent,” Coach Dawson said. “One of the things we started preaching last year was that there are no big games, and yes, we play a challenging schedule, and there’s exciting contests and matchups, but if you’re focused on that, you’re focused a little bit on the wrong things.”

Fifth Form Team Manager Gavin Stamps shared a similar feeling. 

“Coach Dawson says if we just go out there and play lacrosse for 48 minutes, it’ll go our way,” Stamps said. “A lot of the teams that we have on schedule this year, we played last year, that didn’t go our way, but that’s why there’s this year.”

“We’re super ready to start playing.”

Wills Burt ’23

Although the schedule looks challenging, the team is excited to put their hard work and dedication on display. 

“We’re super ready to start playing,” Burt said. “Just ready to start getting that first game jitters out. I think it should be a fun season.”

Author: Casey Williams '24

Casey Williams serves as Senior Managing Editor for the 2023-2024 school year. He previously served as a News Editor where he won two Honorable Mentions for his piece "Community reacts to Kanye West's antisemitic remarks," one from Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and another from PA Press Club's 2023 Contest.