Thomas Lengel was all smiles at lacrosse tryouts on Sept. 1 as he rounded up the team to clear the field after only a short drill due to lightning. It had been a hot and sunny afternoon until dark clouds quickly rolled in. Lightning struck in the distant sky, and the team began to pick up its scattered equipment and walked off the field in an organized march.
Lengel, a junior, is the president of the University of Alabama club lacrosse team, and he takes his job seriously. He is aware that it is important to be a leader and a friend to every player. The team members are always getting to know each other on a more personal level during their downtime together. Something the team cherished last year were bus rides as they traveled to and from games.
“It’s tradition on the first big bus ride of the year we make all the first year players get up and tell funny stories about themselves so we all get to know each other better,” Lengel said.
Bus rides to games can be up to six hours, there and back. Last season, only four out of Alabama’s 12 games were home. Time on the bus was dedicated to bonding while the time in between games seems to be all about communication in order to keep everything running smoothly.
“Communicating with everyone is definitely challenging,” Lengel said. “I have over 40 freshman emailing me about tryouts.Then throughout the rest of the year I have to talk to the board, the coach, the referees and the Recreation Center. It’s a lot of talking.”
Lacrosse vice president and Alabama junior Blake Wintersteen carefully balances lacrosse with his nursing major, and he does it all for the love of the game. He picked up the sport while he lived in Melbourne, Australia, when he was 7 years old, and he has been playing ever since.
Although his major requires a lot of time spent in the library, Wintersteen is grateful for those two hours on the field with his friends and teammates where he can play the sport he loves.
“I decided to play club just because, coming down here, I’ve always wanted to play.” Wintersteen said. “I’ve always loved Alabama, and I just love the game and it’s so hard to give up, especially coming from high school, so I just couldn’t part with it yet.”
Sophomore Parker Jacobs felt the same way about lacrosse as he transitioned from high school to college. It has proved to be a challenge for Jacobs to find time for school, his fraternity and lacrosse. He doesn’t plan to give up the sport anytime soon, though, because he knows that the team values him as much as he values them.
“Coming here I expected to ride the bench like I did in high school and next thing I know, I’m our starter,” Jacobs said. “Our coach helped me grow a lot as a player. He’s taught me things that I had never even thought of before or seen a possibility.”
Last year, the team finished the season with a record of 2-10 as it beat Auburn in its final game under the lights in Hoover, Alabama. Jacobs said that game is his favorite memory with the team.
“There’s something special about beating Auburn — in anything.” Jacobs said. “Whenever Auburn loses it’s a good day.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports