For the Love Of the Game
A Group of MetroWest Fathers Just Can't Stop Playing Lacrosse
Sudbury Town Crier
Originally published 8/11/05
Byline: By Benjamin Smith, STAFF WRITER
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Sitting in his office for most of the week Robert Mossi can't wait to get back onto the lacrosse pitch. "By the time Monday night rolls around I am itching for Thursday. I just want to get out and play," he said.
Mossi captains the Sudbury Olde Patriots Lacrosse Team, made up mostly of fathers from Sudbury, Weston, Framingham and surrounding towns over the age of 40 who can't seem to stop playing the game they love. They compete in an over-30 lacrosse league with other teams from Boston and southern New Hampshire, playing at various fields around the region each Thursday night.
The team includes players with a variety of skill levels. Some played division-one lacrosse in college, while others picked up the game for the first time a few years ago, but each one comes for the fun and camaraderie of the league.
"I got back into it when my kids started playing lacrosse," said Tom Chen of Sudbury. "You take them to buy their equipment and end up buying some for yourself so you can get out there with them." Chen played four years of lacrosse at Boston College, but had not played for 13 years before he picked up his stick and started teaching his kids to play. Once his interest for the game began to rekindle, he says it was difficult to find the time to join the league. "You've got to balance work, kids, family," said Chen. "It's hard to be able to take the time, even once a week, to play."But the excitement and enjoyment of playing brings the men back as frequently as they can manage.
The Olde New England Lacrosse League runs for most of the summer. The league has over-30 and over-40 divisions, each with approximately half a dozen teams much like the Old Patriots.
Once the summer league is over many of the members also play in indoor lacrosse leagues where they go up against much younger players. "Most of us are happy if we just play well as a team. It's all about camaraderie whether during the game or after over a beer," Mossi said.
Even against the younger and faster players, the Olde Patriots are competitive, having a winning record last winter, according to Mossi. Many of the Olde Pats are very active in their town's youth and high school programs, coaching and volunteering their time to the growth of the sport they love. Chen coaches the under-11 boys team in Sudbury.
The coaches began to play every Monday night in a "pickup game" at a "mosquito ridden field in Sudbury." "I became involved in the youth league in Sudbury, and a few of the other coaches started telling me about this (pickup) game," Mossi said. "A little while latter we found out about the Olde New England Lacrosse League and it evolved from there."
The weekly games give the players an excuse to workout and keep in shape. "You have to be in shape when you play this sport," Chen said "There is a lot of sprinting and lateral movement, which (jogging occasionally) doesn't really help you with."
At times, injuries can be a concern. The Olde Patriots always try to balance substitutes to give each player enough playing time, but reduce the chance of overworking or pulling a muscle.
"You don't bounce back as quickly, so I'm always reminding the guys to stretch and warm up properly before the game," Mossi said.
Most players would agree that the benefit and enjoyment of playing each week outweighs any risk of injury, Chen said. The members of the Olde Patriots play a tough competitive game, but mostly they play to have fun. "We always play to win, but the real bottom line is that we play to increase awareness of the sport we devoted most of our lives to and to have some fun," Mossi said.
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