Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Lax Legends

Gary Mosley stood in front of a gathering of people whose lives on the Princeton campus he helped make better for the last 41 years.

They were back here Saturday for the men's lacrosse alumni game. They were here to play, and to eat, and to see old friends - and to honor the man they all know as "G Money." Or, "G$" for short.

About 120 miles away, also in the bright sunshine and unseasonable warmth of late October, Chris Sailer stood in front of another gathering of Princeton lacrosse players. They were there, like their male counterparts, for fall lacrosse - and to honor their mentor and head coach.

TigerBlog has never been around people who are more loyal to where they came from than the people who have played sports at Princeton University. They step foot on this campus and join their team, and they are a part of that extended family forever.

It's just how it works.

It's like this across the board. The devotion that Princeton alums feel to their teams is remarkable, and TB has seen it time and again.

And it was there on display again Saturday.

Gary Mosley retired this past spring after 41 years as the equipment manager for a variety of Princeton sports, most notably the men's lacrosse team. He was honored by the team at the alumni game.

For TigerBlog, the alumni game is one of his favorite events each year. It's low-key and low stress. It's as much a party as a game, and it's a great opportunity for him to see some of his favorite Princeton athletes of all time.

This past Saturday, that group included Lorne Smith. If you remember the names Hess, Hubbard and Massey, then you probably know who Lorne Smith is.

Smith came to Princeton as one of the many Tigers who have come from the Gilman School in Baltimore, arriving for the 1995-96 school year, just as Jon Hess, Jesse Hubbard and Chris Massey had established themselves as the cornerstones of what would be three straight NCAA titles.

Smith moved to midfield from his natural attack spot and became a first-team All-America. A big lefty, Smith is still 16th all-time at Princeton with 94 career goals.

And there he was Saturday, all the way from California, to be there to play with his old teammates, support the current team and honor G$. Early on the game, he swept to his left, stumbled a bit, regained his balance, switched hands and scored on a righthanded shot.

He's 40, by the way.

TB went up to Smith on the sideline and asked him how many righty shots he'd scored as an undergrad. Not too many, Smith said.

And then there was Cookie Krongard, who is 77 years old, and who still plays goalie in the alumni games.

It's a bit fascinating to watch. At first, everyone takes it easy on him, for fear of really letting loose and possibly hurting the guy. Then, once they realize that he is still serious, they increase the shot velocity.

TB wasn't keeping stats for the game, but he can say that Krongard made a ton of saves.

The highlight, though, was when Mosley spoke. TB has written about him before. He's a completely down-to-earth, with no phoniness at all. He also doesn't waste any words.

"I love all you guys," he said. "And I will never forsake any of you."

That was it. What more needed to be said?

As TB said, this was going on while Sailer was being honored outside of Baltimore.

You can read about it HERE.

It's exactly what Princeton is about. She was their coach. They're loyal to her forever. That's just how it works.

TigerBlog has known Chris Sailer for a long time. She's exactly what U.S. Lacrosse has honored her for being, which is a pioneer above most of the pioneers of her sport.

She played for Harvard in the earliest days of Ivy League women's lacrosse. She came to Princeton as the head women's lacrosse coach and assistant field hockey coach. Think about that, since that's how it was then.

She built Princeton into one of the model programs in the history of her sport, with three NCAA titles and a regular place deep into the NCAA tournament and at the top of the Ivy League. If you don't want to read the story that TigerBlog linked to above, then there's this quote:
“Seeing my alum[nae] graduate from Princeton, pursue meaningful careers, raise families, impact their communities and stay involved in the game has been incredibly rewarding,” she said. “My life is full because of this great game.”

As TB said, what else needs to be said?

You can make a very, very strong case that Chris Sailer is the greatest female coach in Princeton history, and she's way up there in Ivy League history as well.

And from now on, the U.S. Lacrosse training center has Chris Sailer Trail around William Tierney Field. 

That's very, very deserving.

And it's a pretty nice thing for that wildly loyal breed known as Princeton lacrosse alums.

No comments: