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Heading 'necessity is the mother of invention,' Pingree School's Trevor Leahy set his mind to recouping any advantage that he could achieve within the rules. Hockey rules recently mandated smaller sizes for hockey net minder pads. While the offensively minded thought this a great idea (goalie pads were starting to cover far too much of the net face), goalies, like Trevor, were miffed asking why should the net-minders give-up their advantages?

If a skater can tape his stick blade with black tape in order to hide the puck, Treavor reasoned, I should be able to paint and design my pads with the design of the goal net so as to confuse skaters about the edges of my pads.

A patent application and a deal with Stomp Manufacturing later, and the GoalieFlage is a reality.

There's no way to measure the effectiveness of the design, but one teammate tells the New York Times (Against Goalie Trevor Leahy, It's Nothing but Net) that he finds the design effective by disorienting his shooting.

As for Trevor, he's now pondering a career in sports marketing or design.  As he told the Times:

"It would be unbelievable to get some kind of job out of this...I would love to get my stuff out there and then see other kids wearing it and think, wow, I designed that." (NYT)
Let's hope the hockey powers-that-be don't send Teavor's creative thinking the way of the A-11 football offense or Steve Avery's antics.  Creativity makes the game fun.
An article from today's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (Minnesota prep school spawn hockey elite) highlights the strong qualities of Shattuck-St. Mary School's community and the school's hockey program. S-SM produces great prep hockey teams and individual players, but more than just the hockey, S-SM provides a great setting for hockey players to mature.  

As S-SM alumnus and Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby told the paper:

"I was away from home for the first time...I didn't know what to expect, and I was lucky to meet a bunch of really nice people. I grew as a person on and off the ice."
The S-SM team seems to live an especially intense boarding school life: 

"They live together, eat together, go through a grueling course load together and play 50-60 hockey games a season against high school teams, junior teams and men's teams. Down time is rare."
Tenth year S-SM coach explains it this way:

"It takes a special breed of cat to fit in and get through a day here...The expectations are high for them on the ice and in the classroom, and they need self discipline and good time-management skills."

"They have to do it on their own. That's what makes this place special."

John McPhee Spotlights Lacrosse in The New Yorker

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John McPhee- perhaps our finest non-fiction describer, boarding school alumnus and boarding school chronicler (The Headmaster)- published "Spin Right and Shoot Left" in the week's New Yorker. If you've ever been part of that boarding right of spring- lacrosse, you'll find much to warm your heart and reminisce over. The piece is a nice primer on lacrosse history, development and dissemination.

"Lacrosse and basketball are the siblings of soccer, hockey, and water polo...

Of these five games- with their picks and screens, their fast breaks and rotational defenses, their high degree of continuous motion- water polo, in its sluggish medium, is surely the most awkward, and lacrosse, at the other extreme, creates the fastest, and crispest accumulation of passes and is the prettiest to watch."
McPhee touches on the game's roots and history, international spread, a bit of coaching, some minutae- like the FOGO (Face Off, Get Off) specialist, modern equipment, his own playing experiences and the constant fiddling and re-engineering of one's stick. He requisitely mentions one of the great pieces of lacrosse trivia. The game's greatest player? Syracuse's Jimmy Brown, yes, that Jim Brown.

You can hear Princeton coach Bill Tierney talking pure lacrosse to English national team players- pure coaching and lacrosse tempered with diplomacy and respect for learning players.

Pure, feel-great and fun. Spring is here.

Photo credit: psmithy

Myron Rolle on CNN

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Myron Rolle paid a quick visit to CNN this morning touching on topics ranging from the NFL draft, education versus money, the possibilities of being an MD and life as role model.

For those new to this story, Mr. Rolle is a Hun School alumnus, Florida State graduate, Florida State football  player, potential NFL first round draft pick, Rhodes Scholar headed to Oxford this fall and aspiring MD.

Playing for dad at any level has it's ups and downs. At the University of Rhode Island, wife & mom, Cindy Baron makes the father-son/coach-player tandem of Coach Jim Baron and player Jimmy Baron work.

The friction seems particularly difficult in this story as the blunt, workaholic Coach Baron is driven not to favor his son on the court while Jimmy seems motivated to work so hard so as to deprive anyone from using the line 'coach's son.'

The guardedness and sacrifice of the father-son relationship is palpable. As Jimmy Baron told the New York Times (When Father and Son Clash at Rhode Island, Mom Mediates):

"The hardest part has been not being able to develop a father-son relationship. We try not to show much affection in front of the other guys, because you don't want them to get the perspective that what he's doing is for his son." (NYT)
Noteworthy from the boarding school perspective, Jimmy's high school basketball career bloomed late during a post-graduate year at Worcester Academy (Worcester, MA). His brother Billy Baron, will also attend Worcester.

Photo credit: Balakov

From Sneakers and the NBA Back to His Alma Mater

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It's now about the kids for Seth Berger. After building, then, selling And1- the athletic shoe and gear company- Berger has returned to Westtown School outside Philadelphia as basketball coach.  

As he tells the Philadelphia Enquirer (Seth Berger, from And1 to Westtown), "It is absolutely a total, total fantasy." Berger understands the school's mission and values and, as one of his players tells it, he lives for easy shots as opposed to the high flying style of And1's marketing.

Berger doesn't shy away from his NBA resources and experiences. He seems to have made a complete transition now loving and inhabiting his new role: "...I'm just a sneaker head like anybody else. Today, I'll wear Adidas at practice." (Philladelphia Enquirer)
Don't miss the current wealth of up and coming mens' basketball talent in the 2009 prep school class. The Rivals 150 list of top prospects includes no fewer than 20 boarding school students from boarding schools such as Tilton School, Brewster Academy, South Kent School, St. Mark's SchoolHargrave Military Academy, Patterson School, Oak Hill Academy, Christ School, Miller School and International Management Group's  IMG Academy.

Hargrave has four students in the top 150, Oak Hill & Brewster have three, while Tilton, Christ and Patterson each have two players in the Rivals 150 list.

If you enjoy high level basketball and have the opportunity to take in a game with these teams we certainly recommend it. Seeing these players and teams is easiest in the NEPSAC Class A level.

Visit the NEPSAC home page for schedules, scores and information on all NEPSAC sports.

Photo credit: e453753

For the past few months, Brian tracked Florida State's (& The Hun School's) Myron Rolle and his application for a Rhodes Scholarship during the heart of the college football season. If you missed his posts, you can read them here & here.

Just this week Myron formally announced his decision to postpone entering the NFL draft in favor of accepting the prestigious scholarship and heading to Oxford for the year to pursue a Masters in Medical Anthropology.

ESPN's Chris McKendry caught up with him during yesterday's SportsCenter and they discussed his plans for the next year at Oxford, the NFL and his post-playing career ambition to become a Neurosurgeon with the intent of creating a free health clinic in the Bahamas.

He's a young man with a clear vision on how he can positively impact communities around the world- to demonstrate such a sharp focus at his (or any) age impresses me to no end.

You can watch the entire interview below:

Former Kimball Union Academy & Brewster Academy Athletic Director Bill Pottle received the NEPSAC Distinguished Service Award in mid-December. "The NEPSAC Distinguished Service Award is given annually to the individual who has contributed significantly to New England Independent School Athletics and Physical Education through enthusiasm, dedication, leadership and vision." Bill is easily one of the top two administrators that I worked with.
Talk about perspective. Sports suffer from overuse as metaphor and insight into the model for life.  But, in this story, athletics is an end not the philosophy, thinking, or means and the latter three provide the crux of the story.  

Kevin Laue plays basketball at Fork Union Military Academy. FUMA plays great basketball- teams comprised of PG's and younger athletes many of whom are headed to NCAA Division I or very strong lower division programs. Mr. Laue's athletic talent is great enough to play at this level driven by the desire to earn a Division I basketball scholarship. He's 6'10" with size 17 feet- averaging 6.9 points and 7.4 rebounds this season.

The perspective, Mr. Laue plays with only a right hand.

His parents provided the experiences and the opportunities and Mr. Laue has grown into quite a young man. He now finds himself the subject of a documentary film and providing a model and inspiration for others.

He's received recruiting letters from Division III schools, but he's still fighting to convince Division I coaches that he can play the highest level of college basketball.

You can read more about this young man and his story by reading a recent New York Times article.

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