This spring semester marks an exciting time for the Georgetown men’s club lacrosse team as it looks to rebuild itself following a suspension that began almost two full years ago.
A number of factors contributed to the team’s suspension and loss of access to benefits, beginning with a game the team played against Northern Virginia Community College in October 2014. The team had recently been granted access to a sports trainer who dealt with a number of club teams that were deemed to involve higher injury risk.
“The culture around [the team] was if you could drink while playing, go for it, nothing wrong with that,” senior defender and Club Lacrosse President Rory Isdaner said. “We had some fans there. . . and they brought a lot of beer. Some of our players brought beer on the sideline. Some of the older players, instead of bringing water out to the players during a timeout, they’d bring a six pack of beer out there and every time someone scored they’d run over and go drink a beer from the stands.”
While this had been the culture of the team for some time, the administration was made aware of it following this game, as the trainer was worried about the players’ disregard for safety precautions. This incident served as the first strike for the team and resulted in the imposition of sanctions by the Club Sports Advisory Board.
The Club Sports Advisory Board asked the team to play one home game and one away game by a certain deadline. The team scheduled to follow through on this commitment by playing a game against the Naval Academy. When game day arrived, however, the team could not gather enough people to make the trip to Annapolis and called off the game that morning.
“We didn’t have a reason to not show up other than that it was a Sunday morning and we were hungover and lazy,” Isdaner said.
This served as strike two in the eyes of the Advisory Board, and the team found itself on even thinner ice.
The final straw came when the captain — who has since graduated — failed to schedule the final away game the team was required to play in order to satisfy the sanctions that had been imposed. Instead, he called the other team to ask them to pretend the game had been played if the Georgetown administration inquired. By asking the league officials, however, Georgetown discovered that the game had never in fact been played. This marked the third strike and the team was suspended.
Isdaner worked alongside last year’s captain to rebuild the relationship with the Club Sports Advisory Board, ultimately regaining access to benefits. Now the team looks to reshape its dynamic and culture.
“When we started up this semester there were freshman, sophomores, and some juniors that were new and no one knows each other, so it’s kind of tough getting back into it,” senior attack and Vice President of Club Lacrosse Kevin Mikovits said. “We’ve tried to have good team bonding and team experiences. Driving together, going out to eat. . . just trying to get everyone to know each other to kind of get back on pace to what it was.”
Sophomore defender Will Treanor said he believes the reinstatement of the team is a positive, as this group of players has the unique opportunity to shape the future of the program.
“Pretty much everyone is new to the team so everyone is really inclusive. It’s not like everyone already has their group,” Treanor said. “It feels like everyone’s in it together because we’re starting a new program basically off of the ground. It definitely just brings us all a little closer together.”
The team has worked to make changes on the field as well, clearly separating social events from games and practices and developing set plays and practice plans.
“We actually have an offense, we practice the plays that we run. I think that keeps people more disciplined,” Mikovits said. Developing an offense demonstrates a stark change from the former structure that gave players leeway to do what they pleased on the field, as long as the team scored and had fun.
“Rory [Isdaner] and the other seniors are definitely trying to get a more relaxed atmosphere without having to worry about the peer pressure stuff of drinking on the field during games,” Treanor said. “We all love playing, so we’re just trying to get out and have fun.”
The team has been practicing since this fall and looks to schedule four or five games during this spring semester. With new leadership and a change in culture, the team has set goals to play in a unified manner and to ultimately redeem its reputation in the eyes of the Club Sports Advisory Board.