Grow the Game®

Hope College men's lacrosse head coach Mike Schanhals takes you through what the last week has been like for his DIII program.
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Hope College Men’s Lacrosse – A Week in the Life

Last week, we saw what a game week looks like at a DII program. We continue to build on that by showcasing the men’s lacrosse program at DIII Hope College this week.

Hope COllege Men’s Lacrosse – A Week in the Life


A night game in which we came out kind of flat. One of those days where all our kids are busy with school, have been up late studying (or something), and we make a bunch of uncharacteristic mistakes that are more a function of low energy than not wanting it bad enough. We start to try too hard and then get tight. Then we adjust and finally figure things out. A little too late for our inflated sense of expectations, though. Our Hope College lacrosse players and coaching staff are stressed and we are working hard but not having as much fun as we should. We win.


We like to give days off during the lacrosse season so we can stay on top of school and be well rested coming into the playoffs. We have learned this hard lesson before, losing a championship game by running out of gas in the fourth quarter. We call these “gray” days because we mark them gray on our calendar. I am available to work one-on-one with our guys, get some footwork, shooting, or exercise in, but it is completely optional.  Our volunteer coaches get the day off, and we get to recharge. At first, they don’t necessarily trust me when I say it is optional. One of our first gray days this year, we basically had the whole team out there and ran a practice. Not this gray day – they all took the day off and many began to make plans to go into Easter Break. Many traveled to see parents and relatives to celebrate the holiday.

Sunday: Easter

Grateful for all that we have been provided with, we all celebrate the miracle of Easter, then get back to the Hope College campus for early morning COVID testing on Monday.

Hope College men's lacrosse


Early in the morning, the players all wake up and get to testing. Nobody missed testing, and this is a big deal, because it is early in the morning and these are college dudes. Earlier in the year, we had to have some players sit out games because they missed their tests. We have the best athletic training staff in the world; they are true pros. I was a little surprised to see our trainer, Tonia, staring at her laptop while we were warming up for practice. What was she looking at? Multiple positive COVID cases on our team.

Apparently there were quite a few spring celebrations tied to social groups on campus, including a Dance Marathon the weekend prior to Easter. The new variant of COVID was ripping through the Hope College campus and our lacrosse team.  Everyone gets sent home after 20 minutes of practice, and we all wonder what’s next. We wait for the results of the contact tracing while the coaching staff eats a pizza together. We all remember what it felt like last year to get shut down for the season.

Hope College men's lacrosse


Continual updates come throughout the day from the COVID team. We are down the majority of our roster. Our game with our rival Calvin University is cancelled. Huge bummer. We are allowed to practice lacrosse but in two shifts, and players need to be organized in four-player non-contact pods to contact trace and social distance. Our coaching staff is concerned about getting COVID. I am fully vaccinated, but they have not had the chance to make it happen yet. I work through three different shifts of practice, and it is really cool to work with the small groups. We learn a lot. We slow down and talk to one another. We know it’s going to be a rough re-entry with more than half of our team out.  

I lose sleep over some of my guys actually getting sick rather than just testing positive.


We had to cancel our game Saturday but got enough healthy people to have half our team play an away game the following Wednesday. We are still working our way back into shape.  We anxiously await the test results each time they come in. lacrosse