In 1917 the first american troops arrived in France. Eventually the whole force paraded through Paris. The American commanders stopped at the grave of the Marquis de Lafayette and exclaimed the words, “Nous voila,Lafayette.” Lafayette we are here, announcing the return of the favor extended by the Marquis in his support and participation in the American War of Independence. The quote was originally ascribed to General Pershing, but in fact it was actually uttered by LTCOL Charles Stanton. “Lafayette we are here,” could have been said earlier today as 24 field hockey athletes, along with their retinue of parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters arrived for preseason. Collectively the group traveled over 10,000 miles to arrive at the college established after the Revolutionary war hero’s triumphant tour of the United States in the 1820’s.
As always, especially for our first year team members and their parents, it is a poignant moment. I detected a few hidden tears, but certainly there was pride as these young women ( and yes their parents) begin their passage into another phase of life.
The day started with the mundane tasks of move in. Keys were acquired, ID’s issued, and the these student athletes arranged their new home for at least the next year. The players had the support of the more senior players who have been here before. All had arrived last saturday, renewing friendships, getting together with captain’s practices, and ,many trekked out to Spooky Nook to watch Amanda Magadan, Lafayette graduate, and the U.S. women’s team play the Canadian National Team. Several members of the Lafayette team who reside in Canada, had also played with members of the Canadian National Team. So there was an interesting clash of allegiances.The game would be a 1-1 tie with Amanda scoring the only US goal on a redirect with only one minute run off the clock.
After a terrific brunch hosted by the upper class parents, the players moved off for the requisite physicals, pictures in their new uniforms, and a first team dinner. Tomorrow is the first day of real practice and points to a pre-season game on the 17th at 6pm at Rappolt Field with Monmouth University..
As the players moved on, the parents were treated to a low key reception at the iconic Lafayette College Hill Tavern (CHT) a favorite of students and alumni alike as long as I can remember.
Coach Stone briefly explained her relationships with her athletes and parents, while Josh Azer ( Executive Director of the Maroon Club), praised the parents as stedfast supporters over the years. Many started the ball rolling continuing that tradition. Your writer also added a few passing comments. The administrative requirements taken care of, no doubt all will be looking forward to tomorrow’s first day on the turf as the 2017 Field Hockey Leopards.
I will be covering preseason practices right here, probably keeping a respectful distance until friday or saturday.