Friday, November 11, 2011
The print jumps off the page and slams you in the chest like the crushing checks I distributed in the crease in front of my Goalie. The print is reporting the passing of one of your lacrosse coaches from High School in the obituary section of the Philadelphia Inquirer. I generally do not read the death notices,but they are on a facing page near the weekly weather which I always check. When you inadvertantly spy a familiar face it shocks you.
The face I saw is above: Coach Neely. He was an assistant coach for my High School Lacrosse team in the late 70's and early 80's. He taught us to protect our goalie,establish the sanctity of the area in front of the goal so the Attackmen knew they would be punished if they entered. He also taught us and drilled us in the fast break slide and man-down defense. More than than the technical, he taught us to play hard but clean and to be gentleman when the final whistle blew. Lacrosse has always had the tradition of a hand-shake line up at the end of each and every game. Coach Neely taught us to be gracious winners and losers in that line. He was a great guy...I liked and respected him and now I learn he his died. Like blocking a hard shot from a Midfielder....painful.
You will note the uniform cap worn by Coach Neely in the photo...He was also a dedicated volunteer firefighter and EMT...hence there is a whole seperate level of respect and appreciation his friends and family can express to honor his memory