I went to Wesleyan and played quite a bit of sweet, sweet lax there so I’m obviously biased, but I must say this… Wesleyan Lacrosse continues to impress me.
Whether it’s old pictures of legendary & fanciful Weslaxers posted on facebook to remind me of my glory days, the current team winning NESCAC Championships or even new videos (check it out at the bottom of the page) that escalate silliness to a new level, this squad of dudes continues to deliver.
We were always an interesting bunch. When I got to Wesleyan in the fall of 1999 our best player was a fat kid from Baltimore known simply as the Manta-child, we had gone 7-7 the year before and one of our captains was named Ron Jeremy. Well, that was what we were told to call him anyway… and he responded to it.
A starting attackman wore astroturf sandals off the field and Converse for turf games. There was a guy on the team named Joedan. Yes, Joe-Dan. amazing, I know. The first person on the team that I met was the man pictured at the top of this post and he looked like an Asian Tom Cruise, aviators and all.
I know that all of the above sounds impressive (and it is), yet I still thought about leaving that wacky school during my first year (mostly because I had come from a small, rich public high school where conformity was King). To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t the school, I was just not 100% prepared for life at Wesleyan, or for that matter, life outside of the Weston bubble.
I talked to Coach Raba about my early struggles and concerns and he offered to help me talk to D1 coaches at a number of schools and went on to say he would do anything he could to help me find the right fit. After leaving his office I thought about the fact that most of the other coaches out there wouldn’t be so concerned about a player who wanted out and that, right there, was where it all started to turn around for me.
The loosely allowed NESCAC fall ball “practices” started up soon thereafter and that helped a lot too. Since NESCACs can’t practice until Feb 15th, all out of season work is organized and done by the players. No coaches allowed. This means you typically just scrimmage 3 days a week in the fall and work out with teammates or in small groups. The team really comes together during this period and you can tell who really wants to be there based simply on who shows up.
I started to make real friends and feel comfortable. I started to open my mind and think in ways I had never thought before. Although the education and experience at Weston HS in Massachusetts was fantastic, especially for a public school, it did not completely prepare me for the broader world of views and ideas.
Once I settled in I also realized that I did not know everything (this is a big accomplishment for any 18 year old) and that yes, there were a lot of people out there who were as smart or smarter than I was and went back to freaking out again.
I thought I didn’t belong and what really helped me through that was the lacrosse team. There was sense of belonging but also a sense of accountability. If you wanted to be part of the team, you could be, but that also meant getting your $#^& together to some degree.
In latter years, we went on to have a captain that could often be seen wearing a Tahitian dress around campus while showing off his chinese letter tramp stamp. We brought in kids from all over the country including Washington, Missouri and Florida while also recruiting heavily on Long Island and in New England.
We stayed diverse, kept winning and remained the black sheep of the NESCAC. We brought in All-Americans and nobodies alike. We produced All-Americans and nobodies (like me!) and went deep into the NCAAs.
Now, after all of that change and growth, it’s good to see that the guys at Wesleyan still have a sense of humor (although I have no idea who made the below video) and that they still love lax. Did I mention Wesleyan loves lax? Unfortunately, there are no mentions of dudes in skirts, Tahitian or otherwise.
About the Author: Connor is a pretty average lacrosse player at this point who doesn’t know when to give up on the game. He played and coached in the NESCAC and still plays for the Southampton LC in NYC. Connor lives with his fiance in Brooklyn and thanks her for allowing him to keep the dream alive.
Contact him at [email protected].