Cole Fenton scored a goal in a lacrosse game yesterday for York College, one of the best D3 programs in the country. For a lot of kids, high schoolers, and college students, this might not seem all that exciting. After all, kids score goals all the time. But for Cole, scoring a goal means something a little bit different, and it’s not just because he’s the team manager for York, but because it’s something he can check off his bucket list.
Cole Fenton was born with several birth defects, and he has undergone at least 26 surgeries over the years to deal with these issues. Throughout his life, doctors have told Cole that he would never play lacrosse, and that contact sports in general were really out of the question. But that has never stopped Cole, and this fall when he approached York’s head coach, Brandon Childs, about wanting to score a lacrosse goal, Coach Childs knew he had to make it happen.
Coach Childs says that Cole “chose York College because as Cole says, ‘it just felt like the place I was supposed to go!’ He came into my office as a freshmen said he was the manager of his high school team and wanted to help our team in anyway he can. I never heard from his parents once, they just stayed out of it, and let Cole be a college kid like everyone else. I of course added Cole to our team and since that day our record has been 47-9, making him the best recruit I never recruited. His impact will live forever in our program as his legacy of serving others will be told for many years to come!”
It seems like York is not the only place where Cole has made a big positive impact. When Cole was a senior in high school, Myles Ackerman (now at Union CC) urged him to get involved with lacrosse. Cole became the manager for the lacrosse team at Hopewell Valley. He was always quick to help the players, but also gave compelling halftime speeches, and always urged the players on. He was also the speaker at Hopewell’s graduation ceremony, and when he finished, the crowd erupted in enormous cheers. Rob Siris, who was coaching at Hopewell at the time, had only glowing remarks to share about Cole.
And according to Coach Childs, that’s just the kind of kid Cole Fenton is. Cole is selfless, hard working, and humble. He rarely asks for anything, if ever. When you ask Cole to name his disability, he often responds with “what disability?”, or “which one?”, and then moves on to something else. Cole does not let his condition limit what he wants to accomplish, and in this case, it was scoring a goal in a lacrosse game.
If York was going to truly honor the three pillars of their program (humility, hard work, and serving others), Coach Childs knew that they simply had to do this for Cole.
As Coach Childs explained to me, “Cole means everything to our program. He is a constant reminder of the 3 pillars that create out culture of Humility, Hard Work and Serving Others. Cole lives out those three things every single day. His role on our team is so undefined. We call him a manager but really what he does is he just runs around at practice and at game days serving everyone else. If you need water Cole has it. If your helmet snap breaks Cole fixes it. If you take a shot that rips the nest Cole ties it up. If you need your back up stick out of the locker room Cole goes and gets it. Face-off guys need a whistle? Cole has his own whistle. He just serves who ever needs to be served.”
With this in mind, Coach Childs called his older brother, Jason, who is the head coach at St. Mary’s, and the two siblings hatched a plan for Cole to score a goal when the two teams would meet in the spring for their conference game.
Originally, the plan was for Cole to win possession of the ball via face off, run straight down the field, and score a goal. It would be obvious, planned out, and simple. But York attackman Hunter Davis had other ideas, and last week at practice he proposed that Cole should score his goal off of a hidden ball trick. Both of the Childs brothers agreed to the plan, and it was all set in motion.
On Wednesday April 11th, Cole Fenton was out on the field for a ceremonial portion of pre-game play. York won the ball, Hunter Davis swept to his right, and dropped the ball into Cole’s stick. Both St. Mary’s players stayed with Davis, and Fenton was able to sneak in past the D and put the biscuit in the basket. The York players swarmed the field, the crowd erupted, and a deserving young man scored a lacrosse goal that so many people told him he would never score.
Really cool moment today for @YCPMLacrosse as the Spartans took the opening faceoff, ran a trick play to perfection, and capped it with a big finish by manager Cole Fenton for the goal!! #SCTop10 pic.twitter.com/9VSBdKO0tz
— YCP M Basketball (@YCPMBasketball) April 12, 2018
Post game interview with Cole Fenton of @YCPMLacrosse @YCPathletics. Awesome hidden ball trick goal to start the game. The team and @CoachChilds4 honoring the team manager with an untimed play to score a goal in a college lacrosse game. pic.twitter.com/zUx1o6fioi
— LTR Mid-Atlantic (@LTRMidAtlantic) April 11, 2018
The end result of the game was that York won, and won big, but that was just on the scoreboard. At the end of the day, York, St. Mary’s, Cole Fenton, and every single person in attendance won the day, because they were part of something special. This was something that didn’t have to happen. It could have been brushed aside easily. But York, St. Mary’s, and the Childs brothers decided to tackle it head on, and do something really good for Cole Fenton, who had done so much good for so many others.