Blogs and Commentary

posted 04.16.2012 at 10.15 a.m. by JJ Gilbane

Cornell's Senior Day Approaching, Morale High

JJ Gilbane

With only three weeks left of classes, the end our regular season is quickly approaching. At this point in the season, we are 9-1 and have two games left on our regular season schedule: Brown and Princeton. Our last home game is this Saturday, which will also be Senior Day.

Senior day is always a lot of fun. It includes pre-game salutes to the members of the graduating class, as well as a post-game roast that the juniors make of each senior. While the coaches and the seniors try their best to make sure that only good things and funny stories are told about each senior, there are always a few gut-check jokes that are made to embarrass the senior being roasted. I was fortunate enough in my sophomore year to roast a senior defenseman at the time, Mike Howe. I remember how long and hard I thought about what would be appropriate to say in front of a room of my coaches, parents, family, and friends. You always try and throw a few inside jokes in there that make the whole team burst out laughing, leaving the parents of their child puzzled about what was said, why it was so funny and what skeletons their flawless son may have in their closet.

On Senior Day we always get a lot of people to come and support our team and our senior class. We are very fortunate to have a great group of alumni and fans that come to all of our games. Before or after just about every game, you can expect a call or text from a few of your past teammates asking you questions about the upcoming game, and letting you know how much they wish they could suit up for it. Members of the Cornell Dining staff at Trillium Cafeteria are some of our team's biggest fans and are always in the stands of our games cheering loud and proud, asking us the next day if we could hear them. Before our Syracuse game last Tuesday, past teammates Rocco Romero and Max Seibald came to our pregame meal, making the trek from New York City to cheer a team made up mostly of people they never played with. Rocco Romero even decided to stay a few extra nights and was added to our team morale.

Having fun and having a good attitude are important factors that help give our team a high morale that leads to our success. Coach DeLuca loves when we run out to practice screaming and fired up to play. As excited as we all are to play everyday, one of the greatest additions to oursquad has been our newest member of the coaching staff, Mark Wittink. In his first year as our team's volunteer assistant, Coach Wittink has brought tons of positive energy and fun to practice, which always gets the squad pumped up. He played lacrosse here at Cornell with Coach DeLuca and graduated in 2000. He is one of the most fun and happy people you will ever meet. He was nice enough to invite our senior class to a dinner with him where we got to chat and laugh for a few hours about lacrosse, life, and everything else in between. Topics such as drills in practice (pressure stick work), goals for the team, and some other funny stories we had kept us smiling and enjoying each others company. Coach Wittink has continually kept our team smiling at the hardest and most intense times, knowing how important it is to work hard, but also have fun while doing it. He, as well as the rest of our coaching staff, genuinely caresabout each guy on the team and wants each of us to get better while having fun doing it. Our team is extremely lucky to have the coaching staff that we do, their love of lacrosse and passion for our team, make the experience that much more enjoyable.

Thanks for reading,

JJ Gilbane