The Maryland Terrapins Club Lacrosse Team gave back to their community this past weekend by participating in the 7th annual Shoot Out For Soldiers Charity Lacrosse event. And being the wonderful giving person that I am, I decided to dust of my cleats, come out of retirement and suit up with the Terps to support this terrific cause. Luckily for me, team organizer Nick Ramble was foolish enough to agree to let me play.
If you are not familiar with the Shootout For Soldiers event, it’s a 24 hour lacrosse game that benefits American veterans, replayed in 11 difference cities nationwide. It’s not a tournament or about recruiting, it’s all about supporting those who serve our country, our Armed Forces Veterans. Over 75,000 players took part throughout the country in the event in 2018, raising over $800,000. Since its inception in 2012, the event has raised an amazing three million dollars!
Shoot Out For Soldiers is the brain child of Tyler Steinhardt, who states their mission is to use lacrosse as a platform to support American veterans and foster community engagement. This year’s Washington DC edition was held at the Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, MD, and raised over $43,000.
Unfortunately for the event organizers, no one bothered to inform them of Bethesda’s “no field light” policy that kicks in at 11PM! So all of the DC games that were scheduled from 11PM to 8AM had to be played indoors in the Georgetown Prep indoor track facility.
So we traded in our cleats for sneakers and took to the hard rubber track surface for some 7 on 7 lax, since the fields were too small to accommodate full teams.
The venue change didn’t stiffen anyone’s enthusiasm and the full size P.A. system was pumping out the beats as the indoor games played on. Have you ever played lax with Dj Caspers “Cha Cha Slide” rocking in the background? Well we did! I gotta be honest, the “Cupid Shuffle” was a major distraction.
Our originally scheduled opponents.,”First Responders” were forced to roll out early, but organizers managed to put together a small team of leftover players from the 4AM game plus some random players just hanging out looking to jump into another game.
There is also a shortage of goalkeepers during these late night/early morning games, so our opponent was forced to recruit a 16 year old junior from Queen Anne’s High School, Abbey Simonetti. Abbey played brilliantly, making several point blank saves despite the lack of defense she had in front of her. Abbey spoke highly of the Terps squad during her post game interview. “They are really good and were super nice out there,” Simonetti said. But Abbey did point out that she took several shots to the head, and hinted that the Terps may need to work on their shooting drills in the fall.
And if that wasn’t enough, Terps organizer Nick Ramble missed the 6AM game because his Uber driver crashed on his way back to the field……with Nick in the back seat! So as Maryland shooters were hitting young Abbey in the face from 10 yards out, Nick was being admitted to the ER at Holy Cross Hospital! Thankfully Nick’s injuries were minor and he was released the following day.
Meanwhile I was struggling to keep up with players half my age, as my heart-rate spiked and my ability to see the ball was diminished by the awful strobe lights of the indoor facility. Needless to say I embarrassed myself on several levels, even needing my defender to actually holler “it’s still in your stick” as I searched the ground for the ball I thought I had dropped.
I quickly removed my gear after that display and picked up my camera for the second half. Here are some of the shots from our game.
Despite everything I mentioned above, it was an honor and a pleasure to take part in this year’s event and to play with the fine young men of the Maryland Terrapins NCLL Team. Hats off to Nick and his club for donating their time and money for a great cause.
The NCLL put together its own SOFS squad in 2018 and participated in the Baltimore event, snagging the coveted 3 AM time slot against Team East Coast Dyes. Luckily for us, ECD founder Greg Keneally brought his camera and put together this highlight video. And yes, that’s yours truly banging one in off the pipe at 2:55. And keep an eye out for NCLL President Jamie McNealy’s nasty back check at :56.
For more information on the Shootout For Soldiers event, please visit their web page right here.