Road Trip Dad –
The Rest Is Just Details
Dan Witmer |March 11, 2019
Remember the T-shirt that read “Lacrosse is Life – the rest is just details”? Oh sure, there were also baseball, and soccer, and ice hockey iterations of the same shirt, but the lacrosse version was an iconic and popular T of choice for many of the people I knew.

In fact, lacrosse has had a number of “classic” T-shirts…

Anyone remember the “Coed Naked Lacrosse” T-shirts, complete with Calvin and maybe Hobbs? “Rough, tough, and in the buff!” – or was it “Rude, crude, and in the nude”?

Or what about Grateful Dead’s “Dancing Bears” lacrosse T-shirts (the rainbow-colored bears often had sticks in their hands/paws)? For some reason, “What a long strange trip it’s been” or “Never had such a good time” were usually the accompanying text.

And then there were the STX “Chicks Love Our Sticks” T-shirts.

I had time to reflect on the many lacrosse “details” yesterday morning when I woke up to see the door of our backyard utility shed had fallen down. The hinges had been falling apart since last summer (or was it the summer before that?), and while I was in Florida last month, Oswego’s 75-mile-an-hour winds had torn the door completely off. When I got home I propped the door back in place, but I guess Saturday night’s weather had knocked it down again.

Hmmm. What to do; what to do...?

I put on my boots, a coat and a hat, and grabbed two defensive shafts from the basement, and trudged out through the rain and snow. I put the door back in place, and wedged the two long poles at angles that, in my mind, should hold the door in place till I get time to fix it more permanently (like, maybe in June or July). Feeling a sense of accomplishment, I then walked out front and grabbed the Sunday paper from out of our mailbox.

Ah, yes – our mailbox. Yes, it’s true that several years ago I fixed a broken mailbox post by splinting it with a lacrosse shaft and some duct tape. My sons, who I think are envious of my creativity and resourcefulness, like to tease me about that.

Lacrosse is life – the rest is just details…

I often laugh at myself because my life, at least, seems to constantly revolve – in a very small rotation – around the Creator’s Game…

The other day I was fixing up some short sticks for our Oswego HS defenders to use indoors. The only strung heads I could find were my son’s, and I didn’t want to use them without his permission. We messaged one another via Facebook, and when he expressed some concern about which heads I wanted to use, I decided to go back down the basement and see if I could find some other heads.

Well, I’m embarrassed to admit that I found not one but two bags of lacrosse equipment I didn’t know we had – and that included almost 20 heads, strung and unstrung.

Details…

So I cut down some shafts and started searching for screws to attach the heads to the shafts. I looked in this toolbox, and then I looked in that one. I searched high and low. And then I laughed – again, at myself. There on a small shelf, on the wall right in front of me, were three head screws – like I had put them there months ago just for this purpose.

Sticks assembled, I then decided to grab some color-other-than-BucBlue pinnies for our goalies. No problem – I found a bag of random singleton pinnies and picked one orange and yellow pinny from the Top 2015 Camp and two orange and red pinnies from the 3d Elite Lacrosse Camp.

Then I decided to round up some gear in case our two exchange students from Sweden and Italy needed equipment – or maybe the JV team would get some kids who had never played before. Within minutes, I had a pair of shoulder pads, four pairs of arm pads, and five pairs of gloves.

And to think that none of it came from Brian’s bag of international collectibles!

To augment our fundraising efforts for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation – supporters of life-saving cures for childhood cancers – I turn to lacrosse connections. The college men’s team currently has 41 members on its fundraising team and they are about to hit the $5,000 mark. I’m wheeling and dealing with Tommy Johnson of California – aka the Lax Artist – about possible donations we can use in our silent auction. Lars Tiffany contributed not one but two UVA helmets for our event this year, and Scott Neiss of the Israeli Lacrosse Association gave me an autographed Team Israel helmet after the World Games last July for the same purpose.

See? Lacrosse is life.

Go ahead – ask me what I did this weekend.

On Saturday we had varsity lacrosse practice from 8-10 AM in an elementary school gym. What else would I do at 10:30 once the locker room had cleared out? I went over and watched the last half hour of the JV practice in the high school gym. When that was over I grabbed some lunch and went up to campus to watch the Lakers host SUNY Morrisville at noon.

One of my former players – Dan Rogers ’09 – is an assistant coach on head coach Drew Bezek’s staff, and I spent much of the game watching him run the box instead of following the ball up and down the field. “Rodge” was a former captain, a team award-winner, and an All-SUNYAC player, and in the past ten years he’s coached in England, gotten his Masters in counseling, settled in to a full-time gig at Oswego Middle School, and coached at Bishop Ludden and with the Onondaga Redhawks.

Coincidentally, one of our former OHS Bucs – Nate Schultzkie ’17 – is a defensive short stick middie for the Lakers, and if I wasn’t watching the ball or Rodge, I was watching #21.

Details…

The Lakers prevailed in a shoot-out, 16-14, and the game lasted more than 2 hours and 15 minutes. I stuck around to say congrats to the Oswego coaching staff and to greet Coach Longo when he came into Laker Hall, and then I finally headed home.

It was about 3:30, and there weren’t any college games on TV, so what did I do?

Well, since lacrosse is life, I started my annual lacrosse official certification process by taking the 2019 NFHS Boys Lacrosse rules exam, on-line. You’re allowed to take the test as many times as you want, and when you get a question wrong the program tells you where to find the correct answer in the rule book, but I still get thrown by the wording of some of the questions. A passing score is 85, and I got an 87 after the 50 questions were completed, so I quit and said “good enough” and grabbed some dinner.

Then I went on the Arbiter Sports website and blocked out my availability to referee boys’ scholastic games this spring. Because I’m also coaching, my time is pretty limited, but I’ll probably end up with a half dozen JV and/or modified games at the end of the season, just like the past two years.

After Saturday’s long day of lacrosse and yesterday’s “home improvements,” I couldn’t help but reflect on the past week. The first week of the 2019 varsity lacrosse season… the awesome Duke/Loyola game on ESPNU Thursday night… Brian’s Facebook post on Friday (and his brother’s retort that followed soon thereafter).

My daily schedule of retired life literally revolves around lacrosse these days. Practice times, game days, referee meetings, parents’ meetings. My to-do list includes reviewing offenses, defenses, man-up and man-down ideas sitting in the Buc Lacrosse toolbox, looking at a scouting schedule, finding some goalie heads for the JV goalie, and asking our junior attackman (who’s shaving for his 11th year) and our sophomore JV defender (who’s shaving for his 10th year) if they want to create a St. Baldrick’s fundraising team with me, or make their own team(s)…

See? Lacrosse is life – the rest is just details.

Drive carefully, please.

- Dan Witmer daniel.witmer@oswego.edu

Dan Witmer is the author of two books.  The Best of Road Trip Dad – the Laker Lacrosse Collection  is an accumulation of 45 articles written for JustLacrosseUpstate between the years 2012 and 2018, about the history and traditions, the people, and the stories of the Oswego State men’s lacrosse program. The book is available on Amazon.com, and at the river’s end bookstore in Oswego, the SUNY Oswego College Store in the Marano Campus Center, The Sports Outfit on West Genesee Street in Fairmount, and Geared 2 Sports in Cortland.  ...and piles to go before I sleep - The Book of Wit  is his memoir describing his 33 year career teaching HS English and coaching at Hannibal Central School. It is available on Amazon.com and at the river's end bookstore.