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Thank You

Friday May 12th, 2023

After tough losses, my mother usually reminds me of a saying from high school that always makes her laugh.

“Sometimes she goes, and sometimes she doesn’t. And that’s just the way she goes.”

Saturday night, we got beat by a Calgary team with more playoff experience and they showed us what it takes to win in the postseason. They were simply the better team. It wasn’t meant to be, and that’s just the way she goes.

What a year we had. We outperformed nearly everyone’s expectations for us, and we collectively believed and persevered through adversity. We had our backs against the wall several times throughout the year and we found our way out of those situations so many times.

A few moments from the year stick out:

  • With a 2-3 record, we were down 6-2 against Philadelphia on the verge of being in a major hole in the standings. Phil Caputo buried a goal on the first shift of the second half, then Will Malcom put the team on his back and eventually won it with 30 seconds left. Without that game, I don’t know where we are.
  • Facing a long home-stand, we won 5 of 6 home games in February and March, including huge victories over Colorado and Saskatchewan which set us up for playoffs.
  • Down late at Vancouver, our defensive leaders found two goals in the dying minutes to lift us over the Warriors and into the playoffs for the first time.
  • Without our leader TK, Matt Hossack scores at the end of the third quarter to give us a 9-8 lead over Calgary in the playoffs. Obviously, this didn’t hold up, but what a feeling that was.

A lot has been made in recent days about the comments of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and his comments after a first round loss. He said that losing wasn’t a failure, and that in sports we live and learn rather than fail.

On one hand, I agree with him. This season was a success in many ways. Furthermore (and more importantly) I think Giannis is promoting a healthy psychological understanding for athletes, that we are not defined by wins and losses. I believe that we should all be judged not by our results on the floor, but by the content of our character. In that judgement, what a group of absolute studs we have in our locker room.

But from a team level, I disagree with Giannis. We did fail. The great part about sports is that someone is always keeping score. We win or lose. We fail or succeed, fall down and get back up again. We failed to win the championship, but we will take the incredible memories from this season with us forever.

The idea is not that we did not fail. It is that we had the courage to try. We left absolutely everything we had on the floor. In fact, I think it is this competitive reality that keeps everyone playing. Professional lacrosse is a grind, but the thrill of victory (which creates the crush of defeat) is powerful enough to draw everyone back in. Luckily in sports, the consequences aren’t life or death.

That leads me to gratitude. I was speaking with some family members on the floor after the game. I told them simply, as someone who is a die-hard Calgary Flames fan, I played in the Saddledome in front of 15,000 fans. I have nothing to complain about. Life is cool.

The fact that we will never be fully the same team again is the part that really stings. We had a special group this year and we showed our love for each other in the way we played. We have many young players, who I hope to grow with for a long time, but the reality of the business is that we will never be the same. That sucks.

Equally crappy is the sudden nature of the final game. There was so much promise going into Calgary and now it is just over. The lacrosse world has a short memory, so our guys are already off to their summer leagues to keep playing. I am happy for everyone, but wish we could put on the PCLC uniform a few more times this year.

Lastly, I want to thank some people for making this year a success. From our ownership in Greg Bibb and my boss Amber Cox for providing everything we needed on the business side. To Bob Hamley for bringing me into the fold and to TK and the rest of the coaching staff for having patience when I needed it, compassion when I needed it, and a kick in the butt when I needed it.

To our support staff, Amanda, Coyner, Allison, Andy, and the awesome marketing and creative teams that I work with every day. Thanks for making us all look good and keeping the train on the tracks.

To the rest of the PCLC office and everyone who works to improve our organization, thank you.

And lastly to the fans. Thank you for coming out all year long, for bringing the energy, and for supporting us through the ups and the downs. I think we are building something great at Dickies and this was another step forward. And thanks to everyone who reads this mellow-dramatic blog every week. Thanks for humoring me.

As a lacrosse player, I measure my life in seasons. This closes another chapter of my life, and what a great one it was. I came a long way, have a long way to go, and couldn’t be more excited for it.

I know I have already overused quotes in this blog, but allow me one more. A former coach told me one time that “everything will be ok in the end. If it isn’t ok, it isn’t the end.”

It isn’t the end for us.

Thanks for everything, see you next season.

Donny

Panther City Lacrosse Club