The 2018 lacrosse team is Hyde’s 50th. I played on the 1st one back in 1969.
We played with one-piece wood battle axes, laced with leather & catgut. These kids today play with all-synthetic space age wands.
We practiced on the muddy Front Lawn (sometimes using the Umbrella Tree as a pick), often drawing stares, comments, and wisecracks from people driving down High Street. (Once overheard: “I think it’s a new kind of spring football…”) These kids play on an artificial turf that we only saw while watching NFL games on TV.
Our coach had neither seen nor played the game before our first game, a 12-0 loss to Berwick. (And Kudos to Jim Willey for jumping into the fray and giving us all a chance to play this wonderful game!) Their coaches played competitive college lacrosse, as did several other faculty members.
That first team went 0 & 8. The next year we went 1 & 7. In Year #3 we had a winning season and in Year #4 we were in the hunt for MAISAD league honors before concluding our season with a loss to a very strong Hebron squad. The progressive improvement we showed – along with the camaraderie and esprit de corps – during those four years stands in my memory as one of the most precious aspects of my Hyde student experience.
In the late 70s and early 80s, I was privileged to serve as head coach of the program. Out on the field yesterday, the memories flowed forth. Here are ten of them:
- Tommy Baez’ ‘78 sudden death overtime goal against Bridgton (giving us our lone win over the Wolverines in 50 years!) in the Mud Bowl of 1978;
- The win over Proctor (NH) in 1978 that first put us on the New England Prep School map;
- The perennial search for dry practice space. (Fun Fact: The present site of the Spiritual Center is always the first dry spot on campus.) One time I actually called the (then) Naval Air Station in Brunswick to inquire as to whether they would be willing to send helicopters over to help dry our field as a training exercise. I think the guy thought it was a crank call.
- The 1978 Kents Hill team ending our game with them with a cheer of “Rah, Rah Hyde… Rah, Rah Baez!” following Tommy’s awe inspiring performance that day;
- “The Grateful D”: Our 1980 defensive corps of Dead Heads featuring Messrs. Blank, Boitano, and de Saint Phalle;
- Brian Ashforth ’81 being named a h.s. All-American after scoring 68 goals, many on passes from side-kick Tom Burhoe ’81;
- Charlie Ash ’82 stepping into the fray of leadership after we graduated so many outstanding players the year before;
- On Saturday’s, my fellow Maine coaches and I would compete against each other. Then, on Sundays, we would play with each other on the Maine Lacrosse Club. (Go Lobsters!!!) Fun times!
- The 2-4 work crew kids sitting en masse atop the football scouting tower and honking loudly to simulate the air horn that somebody forgot to refill. (Who says 2-4 serves no useful purpose?) Talk about an “Only @ Hyde” moment!
- The remarkable improvement demonstrated by the 1986 team. After getting smoked by Hebron in our opener, we came back and beat them in our last game in a contest where neither team led by more than one goal at any point. (We were helped, in no small part, by future h.s. All-Americans Ken McCafferty ’88 and Peter Gregory ’89, today one of our coaches at Hyde!
- BONUS: I submit that of all the sports that feature some kind of goal tender, the expectations of lacrosse are the highest. Whereas many coaches have to train a new goalie every year, I was blessed with three great ones — Larry Dubinsky ’78, Mike Folan ’80, Earl Geertgens ’82 — all three of whom went on to spend some time in between the pipes in college.
Here’s to Hyde Lax @ 50!… Here’s to 50 More!… The Fun Continues… Go Wolfpack!
Onward, Malcolm Gauld