Written by Joe Scotchie Thursday, 04 June 2009 10:48
You might not think that a junior varsity lacrosse game, especially the final one of the regular season, would end on such an emotional note.
But then you wouldn’t know the extraordinary sportsmanship displayed by the Roslyn High School Junior Varsity lacrosse squad. A class act by the team made it a game to remember, not just to a certain player on the opposing side, but also to his father, and to an unsuspecting referee, who was moved enough by the event to tell it to Roslyn School District officials, who passed it all on to The Roslyn News.
On May 16, the Bulldogs were finishing up their successful regular season with a contest against South Side High School. There, the Roslyn players made an unusual gesture of kindness toward an opposing player. For Referee John Wood, the gesture was so unforgettable that he quickly told this account of what happened:
“I just had one of the most touching events in my life happen,” Wood related after the game. “I was refereeing the South Side-Roslyn game. In the fourth quarter, South Side was pulling away. Soon, there was a face-off violation on Roslyn. South Side gets the ball. They give it to a kid, Danny, who has been at every practice but hasn’t played. He was fully equipped and in uniform. Danny takes the ball and breaks for the cage. Everyone is yelling, ‘Go to the cage! Shoot, Danny!’ The Roslyn defense missed their stick movements—on purpose. Danny got to the cage, shot and scored. We stopped the game and gave Danny the ball.
“You see, Danny has Down’s Syndrome and all he wanted was to play lacrosse,” Wood continued. “He played and scored and was given the game ball. After the goal, I asked the coach in a loud voice, ‘Who scored that goal, coach?’ Then on my way out I said, ‘Good game, number 33.’ His father then met us at the gate and said, ‘I am Danny’s father, thank you for letting that happen.’ My partner told him I had stopped the game to give him the game ball. He said, ‘I know, I already have it in my pocket.’ After the goal I had tears in my eyes and I had to talk to the Roslyn defense. I told them what they just did matters more in life than any game. True story. I was there and grateful to be a part of that dream.”
After the game, South Side’s Junior Varsity Lacrosse Coach Dan Ferrick wrote to Roslyn’s athletic director, Dr. Mira Martincich, to commend Coach Bill Marvin and his players for allowing Danny to come into the game and score the big goal.
Ferrick explained that Danny had been with the team for three years but had only touched the field once during a scrimmage.
“Your team and coach showed a great deal of class allowing Danny to score a goal,” a grateful Ferrick wrote to Ms. Martincich. “It happened because your team saw the big picture.”