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Men’s Lacrosse: Chasing a title

Megan Golden | Thursday, February 17, 2011

Though the Irish have been eagerly awaiting their national championship rematch against Duke this weekend, the off-season provided the team with a chance to intensify their efforts for charity through the local community as well as through the Notre Dame student body.

Irish coach Kevin Corrigan initiated a mentoring program in which Notre Dame team members spent time with students at Marshall Middle School. Junior attacker Sean Rodgers said the team members served as role models for the students by spending quality time with them and developing

trust in one another as friends.

“For the most part we dealt with kids who were often in trouble or lacked a male role model in their life,” Rodgers said. “All the kids were very smart but they were at the age where doing the wrong thing was ‘cool.’ Our biggest goal was to show them that it was ‘cool’ to do the right thing, and in order to go to college you had to do the right thing.”

Throughout the fall semester, junior and senior team members also attended mass at St. Augustine Church in South Bend every Sunday.

“The mass was distinctly different from any I had previously attended,” junior defenseman Kevin Randall said. “Due to the small size, the offering of a sign of peace allowed us to meet nearly every parishioner.”

Following mass, the Irish players and St. Augustine Youth Group would form two teams and play a game of flag football.

“Our goal for doing all of this was to get involved with the community by putting on a fun activity the kids could look forward to,” junior midfielder Max Pfeifer said. “In addition to averaging roughly 3 TD passes a game to my main receiver Xavier — the fastest 14-year-old I’ve ever seen — I genuinely had a blast playing around with these kids every Sunday, and you could tell that they were having a good time, too.”

The Irish switched from flag football to lacrosse on an occasional Sunday because the children showed great interest in learning the game that their new friends play.

“Some days we would bring lacrosse sticks and see how they liked the sport and throwing around, but most of the time it was football,” senior midfielder and co-captain David Earl said. “We played our team versus [their team] and lost a bunch of times; they were super fast and quick.”

In collaboration with the men’s basketball team and Campus Ministry, Irish assistant coach Kevin Dugan helped to coordinate the event Playing for Peace at the Joyce Center one Saturday morning in December during study days.

“[Dugan] helps run an organization in Uganda called Fields of Growth, which teaches kids to learn valuable life lessons along with playing lacrosse,” senior defenseman and co-captain Kevin Ridgway said. “Playing for Peace was an amazing creation, considering it came together in about two weeks, and the event was held during study days.

“Each member of our team went and talked individually to a dorm earlier in the week and then led them to the rally on Saturday. It was a great turnout and we really appreciated the support from the student body even though it was such a busy time of the year for everybody.”

Junior attacker Nick Beattie said he learned a lesson from the rally.

“I took away from this that if you’ve got a passionate group working collectively for change, you can make an impact,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be in dollars raised, but in awareness gained.”

Corrigan believes that serving the local community provides the Irish with opportunities to grow as a team.

“One of the things I love most about coaching at Notre Dame is the authentic sense of camaraderie and fellowship our team enjoys; they really enjoy each other’s company,” Corrigan said. “A selfless, team first attitude is what enabled us to make our run to the National Championship last year. When you have that attitude, the team transcends the individual, and you are capable of realizing your full potential.”