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.

6 thoughts on “Boys with Sticks

  1. East Meadow High School had a lacrosse team for years. In fact, I believe they won the state championship year after year. Lots of banners hung in the gym. You lived on the wrong side of the LIRR. EMHS grads include Frankie Viola and Joel Rifkin. I do not believe Richie Diener graduated.

    1. Truthfully, one factor may have been the size of our school; we were fairly puny. Joel Rifkin? Interesting, as he’s been mentioned in the news a lot lately in stories about the bodies they’ve been finding.

    1. Thanks, Will… I keep myself busy at the games by taking pictures — and dodging lacrosse balls.

  2. Great Picture. CBA coach does a great job.

    We had a pretty good team in Hauppauge, played club/travel in Smithtown. Most of our team was made up of HS soccer players who didn’t want to play baseball and wanted to stay in shape off-season. We didn’t have the same level of slashing as today, since the equipment wasn’t great, and the sticks were either wood shaft, or heavier aircraft aluminum. If you bent one of the ’70s or ’80s era aluminum sticks, it would break the next game.

    We had a couple dads who worked at Grumman Aircraft, and had access to machining gear and alloy blanks. Our attack guys had great, very light, very strong sticks. Not completely sure some of those sticks weren’t titanium.

    Helmets were the shi**y 70s-era Brine one-size-fits-all. Terrible. All the protection of a tupperware bowl laced to your skull.

    1. If only we knew then what we know now. We could have enlisted a couple of those machinists and gotten into the business of making some of this pricey lacrosse gear.

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