Assistant Sports Editor
It is an unseasonably warm January night in Springfield. The temperature sits somewhere in the 40s around midnight on Jan. 29. The sounds of young men hooting and hollering resonate throughout the campus.
But these sounds are not coming from the Townhouses or a house party. They are coming from the East Field where the Springfield College men’s lacrosse team is kicking off their season at the earliest possible moment.
The NCAA does not allow men’s lacrosse teams to start practicing until Jan. 29, giving every team the same amount of time to practice before the season begins. So when his captains approached him with the idea of starting at midnight, coach Keith Bugbee was on board.
“Normally, weather-wise, it would be tough [to go at midnight],” said Bugbee. “But it was in the 40s, which is nothing. And they did a great job.”
Bugbee’s one stipulation was that they clear it with the trainers, something that they had already accounted for. With everyone on board, the Pride took the field at the stroke of midnight.
Assistant coaches Shawn Runyon and Pete Sessa, both former players, split the players into two teams and kicked off the 2012 season with a scrimmage.
“It was a lot of fun,” said junior defenseman Chris Loy. “It felt like a game atmosphere out there, which was great to have so early in the season.”
In addition to the scrimmage atmosphere, the players had a “longest shot” competition during the halftime break that multiple players took part in. That type of excitement has Bugbee excited about this season.
“The enthusiasm was enormous,” said Bugbee of his team’s effort. “Guys were flying around; it was great. The locker room was really energized. We had music going. It almost felt like a pre-game in the locker room.”
What Bugbee felt made the biggest difference was that the idea came from the players, not him. Senior Matt Hudson had approached him earlier in the week about a “time change” for practice, possibly some time in “the evening.”
“I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it again next year,” said Bugbee. “We’ll have to play it by ear with the weather. I mentioned it to a few of my colleagues who said, ‘Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.’ I think it kicked the season off on a good note.”
The Pride will kickoff their season on Feb. 22 against Gordon College.