Dud Hendrick founded the Cardigan Mountain Lacrosse Camp 40 years ago this week. With the help of his long time friend Scott Anderson (former Harvard coach), Dud was set on creating an unique learning environment, which fostered the development of certain characteristics that they held in the highest regard.
I was fortunate enough, 12 years ago, to be invited to coach the CMLC camp up in the mountains of New Hampshire called by the legendary laxer Brooks Sweet. Very quickly in my first year, I realized how incredibly fortunate I was to be a staff member at this camp.
The staff was full of Ivy league and famous prep school coaches, there were national champion, state champions and even world champion coaches on staff. I was blown away at the opportunity to learn from these guys and even more shocked that I was invited. However, what I quickly became to understand was that this was a large family. This camp was unlike any other camp where I had ever coached or attended.
There was a different tone and vibe underlying this camp. It had a different them, and it all came back to honoring our game, and the people around us. Quite often the lessons being taught at Cardigan Mountin were less about lacrosse, and leant more towards learning how to be a better human. I was fascinated with the way the coaches interacted with the players from the get go. There were NO yelling or screaming, and much more teaching and nurturing.
These guys, down to every single coach, genuinely cared about each and every one of the kids they held in their care. Every coach I met had a unique story about where they had been, or the coaches they were influenced by, but to a man the the driving force and the foundation of the camp and its values all stemmed back to Dud Hendrick.
Respect, honor, integrity, and honesty.
Dud Hendrick chose his staff well. He surrounded himself with people that all lived and breathed the aforementioned characteristics. People like Chuck Appel (Bridgewater Raritan HS) and Tom Macabe (Bowdoin College) come to mind immediately… and not only did he employ these coaches, but their families also came up for the camp. Dud Hendrick wanted this camp to be a family environment; an environment that felt like home. So he made it home.
Cardigan Mountain Lacrosse Camp is home to Dud. He loves the place and it loves him back. Everything about the grounds the staff at the school and the air that we breathe screams Dud Hendrick.
Now, after 40 years, this year will be Dud’s last at CMLC.
Two nights ago the staff got together to honor the man and tell stories of his accomplishments over the last 40 years. The many thousands of campers and hundreds of coaches that had passed through the camp is quite simply astonishing. Many tears were shed, it was an emotional night for so many of the people in attendance the gratitude and love the staff showed for Dud Hendrick, and what he had done for their lives through this camp, was nothing short of incredible.
Dud Hendrick had inspired every single person in that room in one way or another. I myself owe a great deal of my coaching successes to Dud and CMLC. I would not have formed the relationships with so many coaches had it not been for my introduction to this camp and its staff.
What moved me so much was the love and gratitude that Dud received from his peers. This man had influenced so many coaches and athletes in such a positive manor that he changed their lives forever. The staff is full of coaches that bring their families to CMLC every year. This is very much a therapeutic place for them and you can tell as they drive on to campus how much these two weeks mean to them and their families.
One man’s vision to hold himself and his peers to a higher standard of mentoring and coaching young men has sadly come to an end. But as the reins are passed over to the Appel Family we all know we are in safe hands, with Chuck Appel and Scott Anderson running the show.
CMLC will always be a special place for all of the staff here. As I was driving up 89 then exiting on to Route 4, I had made a huge mistake not being here enough in the last 10 years. I immediately called my wife and told her we are bringing the kids up here next year. It then dawned on me, my kids wont meet DUD!!!
This saddened me somewhat, but I also know that the values and core morals of what Dud has instilled in all of the staff here will forever live on. This place breathes it. The values are entrenched in the dirt in the fields. I can’t wait to have my son here to learn from these coaches.
My somewhat selfish hope as I leave Cardigan for this year is that when I return next year, Dud and his infectious smile, attitude, and generosity will not have left. I even hope that this story helps Dud change his mind. I hope that my son can shake his hand, and meet one of the finest men in the game, but I know Dud is tired, and I know he wants to pass it on.
Dud has put in a yeoman’s work in service to our game, and it’s time for him to pass the torch, but I hope we meet again Dud Hendrick, you are truly one of the great ones in this special game of ours, and our lives are all irrevocably better for having been introduced to you and CMLC.
Thank you for everything, Dud! Your legacy will live on. We promise!!