We started last weekend off with a three mile hike over the hills and through the woods of Caleb Smith State Park in Smithtown. This was our first visit to Caleb Smith, though we have driven past it countless times and spoken about going there almost as many times. It was a cold but beautiful day and a great way to begin the weekend. As has often been the case, when we were done, we could not figure out why we hadn’t gotten there sooner, and were already talking about when we could return, to explore the other side of the property.
Later on Saturday, I tuned in to watch Mercyhurst play Lock Haven in Erie. In their first outing since the loss to Seton Hill, the Lady Lakers looked like a different, and much better, team. Using a high pressure man to man defense, and mixing in some zone, the Lakers dominated possession and never let the Bald Eagles make a run at them. It was nice to see Mercyhurst, looking more like the team I am accustomed to seeing, as they cruised to a 16-11 victory at home.
As the weekend drew to a close, I began looking forward to the PAL Lacrosse practices planned for the upcoming week. Now that I am back to coaching, I realize how much I have missed it. I have really been enjoying it, especially when you can see players making improvement. Monday evening in Hempstead we had a somewhat light turnout, but still had a very productive practice. At the Girls practice Tuesday evening in East Meadow, the turnout was pretty good, considering that it is a holiday week. It was also productive. On both teams, there are lots of players who are making big strides and gaining confidence during the course of each practice. It’s a lot of fun.
While I am thoroughly enjoying my return to coaching, I have realized that it has also greatly expanded the size of my “Covid Bubble”. This, coupled with the hospitalization of a close friend, who is younger than me, forced me to reconsider my previous position of not getting vaccinated. Once I made the decision to get the vaccine, I wanted to get an appointment as soon as possible, regardless of location. So yesterday, I set off to SUNY Oneonta to get the first dose of the Pfizer Vaccine. As I drove the three and a half hours, it occurred to me, that this time last year, I had planned on traveling to Oneonta to watch Hartwick College (also in Oneonta) play against Oneonta State in Women’s Lacrosse – as there were players on both teams, who I had coached in the past. They never got to play that game last year. And if you had told me then, that I would be going to Oneonta for a vaccination, I would have thought you were out of your mind. It was a really beautiful ride up (enhanced by a fresh coating of spring snow!) and I was very impressed with what little I saw of the campus (Hartwick looked very nice as well).
The vaccination process was well organized, and I was back on the road inside of an hour. During the return trip, I made a few phone calls and listened to “Playing Catchup”, the Women’s Lacrosse Podcast from Inside Lacrosse Magazine. I tried not to think about any possible long term side effects of the vaccine, as it is too late for that now, anyway. When I stopped for gas in Roscoe, I decided to do something I had thought of many times during my travels in the spring of 2019. I stopped in at the Roscoe Beer Company, to procure some provisions!