By: RJ Kaminski
Massachusetts resident Joe Ryan and his son, Frankie, left their house so early to go to Shootout for Soldiers Boston that they turned the usual 1-hour drive into one that took only a half-hour. The two left their home in Attleboro, Mass. at 2 AM to drive to the event with a few Gatorades and snacks to get them through the morning.
The departure time did not seem to bother the Ryan men.
“Who cares if it’s two in the morning?” Joe said. “That just makes it more fun.”
Frankie, 8, began playing lacrosse at the age of 3 and recently finished his fourth year of U9 lacrosse. Lacrosse is the center of Frankie’s sports world, so his father decided to register the two of them to play.
“I told him what the event was and about the great charities that it contributes to,” Ryan said.
Joe and Frankie did not just come and play for the usual one-hour time slot. Because there were multiple open slots during the less popular early-morning hours, the two played on team Stripes together from 3 AM to 8 AM.
“He was pumped the whole time,” Ryan said. “He was excited to get to play with the big guys. The big guys were anywhere from my age to kids at 10 or 11. But they’re still big kids to him.”
The size and age range of Frankie’s opponents failed to intimidate the 5-year lacrosse veteran.
“He did a lot of trash talking, I know that,” his father chuckled. “I know [Boston volunteer] Tom Sheerin took a face-off with him. As they approached midfield, Frankie turned toward Sheerin and said, ‘Not today, Tom. And not tomorrow neither!’”
Frankie may have been “talking the talk” throughout the night, but his final hour showed that he lived up to his own hype, as he scored 15+ goals. Although Frankie technically racked up around 300 minutes of playing time, one cannot argue that statistic.
Now that he had the chance to play with his son, Ryan now wants other fathers to be able to experience what he did under the lights at Harvard this past weekend.
“I know in lacrosse a lot of parents never get the chance to do it. I think at some point we were the oldest and youngest out on the field.” -Joe Ryan
Washington College alum Andrew Manos, 42, also had the chance to play with his son during Shootout for Soldiers Baltimore. His reaction, similar to Ryan’s, was overwhelmingly positive.
“We’re not going to get that many chances in life to make that kind of moment,” Manos said.
Toting two lacrosse bags, two helmets, and of course, two lacrosse sticks to the parking lot, Joe and Frankie had finished possibly the longest game of “catch” in father-son history.
“To actually be on the same field, it was a really good feeling,” Ryan said. “And during an event like the Shootout for Soldiers, that just makes it even more special.”