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  Monday, December 22, 2014
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Southie Lacrosse - Making a Tradition Even Better
By Paul Linehan

     A few weeks ago, I had the very good fortune to return to Boston from Washington, DC and share in the time honored tradition of St Patrick’s Day.  While I enjoyed the festivities of our cultural heritage, I also had the opportunity to visit with a few life-long friends who carry on another fine tradition of South Boston Lacrosse.

     One early Saturday morning, I went to the stadium at Moakley Park on a cold, 40-degree, East windy and overcast day.  There I met my good friends, Bob Ferrara, Michael Dugan, Kevin Cox, and Michael Hurley, along with the other coaches, Pete Lisiecki, Mike White, Bobby Nelson, Allyson Yablonskie, Courtney Walsh, Marcia McNiff and Holly Goodin.  At that practice, the enthusiasm and camaraderie I felt from them and the Lacrosse youth was sensational.  These devoted coaches and assistants are there on their own free time, teaching Southie kids about this phenomenal and original American sport – and more importantly, they are teaching the youth some valuable life lessons of teamwork, dedication, drive, and harnessing the inner and physical strength to overcome obstacles to emerge victorious on and off the field.

     As I thought of all this, I reflected back on the origins of South Boston Lacrosse.  This evoked memories of Ronnie “Noonie” Ingemi, Bernie O’Rouke, and “Waz” Mahoney and Billy Curley– Southie Lacrosse icons who took up the sport while attending Boston State College (BSC), which eventually merged with UMass Boston in 1982.  While at BSC, this trio enjoyed tremendous success from combining their athletic skill and Southie-sports style to lead BSC to winning seasons.

     It was around 1978 - 79, that Paul Shuman, assisted by the BCS trio, brought Lacrosse to the South Boston Boys Club.  Joining them in this endeavor was Harvard All-American quarterback and Lacrosse standout, Jim Kubacki.  Jim, at the time was a social work graduate student at Harvard, who was assigned to the Boys Club to work with inner-city youth.  I recall the day that Jim pulled up in a van loaded with Harvard Lacrosse equipment, and the rest, as they say, is history.  We played for four solid seasons, and in our final year, we earned a winning record of 8-2, playing against some of Massachusetts High School Lacrosse’s perennial powerhouses – Newton-North, Lincoln-Sudbury, Billerica, Hingham, Fessenden Academy, Ipswich, Winchester, and Milton Academy.  Though some of us had such limited skill that we could have played with a broom, we all played hard, never gave up, and worked as a team.  We were an eclectic group of kids from the Point and Lower End, but we found Lacrosse as a way form a bond that built cross-town bridges of friendship.

     The dedication and effort of the Southie youth who carry on this fine tradition is impressive indeed.  As for the coaches, I know that with the assistance of involved parents, neighbors, and support from the city, they will continue this legacy and teach our youth valuable lessons that will remain with them for a lifetime.  In retrospect, we owe a great debt of gratitude to our coaches who started all this.  In particular, we are reminded of Paul Shuman’s infinite patience and his dedication to inspire us to do great things.  And finally, I would be remiss if I did not thank all the members of the original Southie Lacrosse team for all the great memories:

     Bobby Ferrara, Michael Dugan, Danny Conroy, Joe Skulski, Billy McNeil, Dan “Dapper” Fitzgerald, Tommy Casper, Jimmy Donovan, Billy Welch, Edso Welch, Packa Ross, Jerry Wright, Robert Wright, Kevin “Caveman” Wright, Franny Frischette, Greg Mackin, Michael Gill, Franny “Bazoo” McNally, Pat Kineavy, Tim Kineavy, Johnny Allen, Steve, “Rocka” Castigliola, Richie Turpin, Jimmy Flaherty, Sean Flaherty, Eddie Talbot, Dave Egan, and Rocky Cabral and Rocky Ingemi.

Thank you Southie Lacrosse!  You are making a great tradition even better.



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