Boys with Sticks

When I was a kid, lacrosse was a game played by the girls. We heard rumors that there were boys lacrosse teams up on the North Shore, in well-heeled places like Locust Valley and Cold Spring Harbor, but these were never confirmed.

This was the subject of some ridicule in middle class Carle Place, for we were a football town. Our claim to fame was having produced Matt Snell, fullback of the 1969 Super Bowl Jets. Until Steve Vai came along, he was our most famous graduate.

Basically, we were completely ignorant about boys lacrosse, and that was probably a good thing. Had we known the truth there might have been some sort of riot, with teenage boys descending on the athletic director’s office — possibly waving sticks — demanding that we too have a team.

As an adult I’ve come to love watching lacrosse. It’s fast, physical, and exciting — but with moments of skill and grace interrupting the head butting and stick swinging that make it so thrilling. It’s like hockey for people who can’t skate.

Football in Carle Place has seen some ups and downs. Several years ago, declining interest forced the program to merge with its rival, nearby Wheatly High School, so they could field a team. They were 5-5 in 2010. Boys lacrosse is still not played there, but I hear that the soccer program is booming. God help us all.

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