Men’s lacrosse wins ‘Game Changers’ award
Matthew McKenna | Tuesday, March 24, 2015
The Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), in partnership with the United Way, honored the men’s lacrosse team with the inaugural ‘Game Changers’ award for their service in the community at the Dickinson Fine Arts Academy and other locations.
Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan said the award is a new honor the ACC has created to recognize the various teams in the conference who are particularly involved in service work in their respective communities.
“We’re proud to be recognized for what we’re doing, but it’s not a thing where we were trying to come in first,” Corrigan said. “Everybody is doing good work.”
“We do a lot of different things,” he said. “The particular work we are being recognized for is an ongoing mentorship program that we’ve had for almost a decade now at a local middle school. It’s been a constant strand over the years for our guys.”
Corrigan said the team has recently made an effort to get involved in long-term projects where the team can have a longer lasting impact than they have at one-time events.
“Every once in a while, there’s something great you can accomplish at one of those events, but there were too many of those events where I felt we weren’t getting the best return for our time,” Corrigan said.
Corrigan said he believes recurring service creates a lasting impact on not just students but the community around them as well.
“Short of the time it takes us to get to the school, every minute that they’re there, they’re helping someone because they’re forming a relationship with those kids,” Corrigan said.
Corrigan said the mentoring program at Dickinson provided just what he was looking for in a service opportunity for his team.
“Because we’ve maintained this program for a while now, I think it becomes impactful not just on the kid you’re talking to, but to the community of the school,” he said. “Now the kids know that if you don’t do the things you’re supposed to do, you can’t be a part of the program. I think we’ve found a program that provides service to more people than just the ones we’re able to spend time with.”
The mentoring the team does at Dickinson is varied, Corrigan said.
“Our guys do some tutoring and academic work, but sometimes, it’s just hanging out and shooting baskets, and sometimes it’s playing Jenga and Battleship,” Corrigan said. “What [the program] is trying to do is form an impactful relationship with someone, many of whom may not have strong male role models.”
Corrigan said he believes the program has been very beneficial for the students at Dickinson, but even more so for his players.
“One of the important things to us is that the culture of our team is one of gratitude and humility,” Corrigan said. “Through service, you help guys 18-22 years old recognize how lucky they are, how fortunate their situation is, and how easy it is to impact someone’s life. That’s all part of the development process that we want our guys to go through, and its part of what the mission of any college athletic program should be about.”
Service work is integral to the Notre Dame student-athlete experience, Corrigan said.
“The guys knew that service was going to be part of the deal when they were recruited here, they know that’s part of the program,” he said. “If the guys go through the program here and leave and all they did was play games, then we definitely missed something.”