Backpacks. Desks. Pencils. Notebooks. Lacrosse sticks?

Michael Emer ’10

Four of the five afore-mentioned objects are scholastic items that can be commonly found in high school classrooms across the country.  However one of them, although foreign to most classroom settings, graciously walks the halls of Mountain Lakes High School hand-in-hand with a select group of students.

The highly-acclaimed Mountain Lakes Lacrosse Team is synonymous with the high school’s motto: “A Tradition of Excellence.”  One of their traditions include the freshmen boys’ hair bleaching as initiation to the team. Another is the “Fun Run:” a community-wide event that brings together Mountain Lakes lacrosse players grades two through twelve.  Among all else is the team’s tradition to be the best, as shown by their New Jersey State Championship victories in the last two out of three years.  Under the phenomenal coaching staff lead by 31-year coaching legend Tim Flynn, the Mountain Lakes Boys Lacrosse Team continues to pursue and implement their traditions.

However, is it only tradition that has many members of the team to grace the halls with their lacrosse sticks in hand?  Or cause impediments and restrain smooth traffic flow within our classrooms?  Art teacher Mrs. Linda Aldrich states that the “lacrosse sticks prohibit easy walking within the classroom.  The [players] are tempted to swing them and they create a safety issue.”  Personally, I find it somewhat distracting and restricting that our crowded hallways need be clustered with additional space-fillers.  Senior Celine du Terte supposes that “[the players] do not do it on purpose.  However, there is no point to walk with them.  I almost trip over them in the hallway.”

Also, is there a reserved right for the lacrosse team to carry their apparently beloved counterparts from class to class?  If the answer is no, then I don’t see why it would be out of place for myself and fellow Crew teammates to carry with us our twelve-foot-long oars; or for the baseball team to bear their baseball bats throughout the halls.

The answer may not be that they are trying to cause hazard to fellow students, there may be a practical side to this practice. Senior Laura Cacciabeve says that “[the players] carry around their sticks not as a distraction…but because it gives them the image of a respectable player and I can respect that because lacrosse is such an important and emphasized part of [Mountain Lakes].”   So this is the  reason why the lacrosse players carry their lacrosse sticks- players rely on the equipment to help  their image.  We all know how important one’s image is in high school, and because the lacrosse players are so highly-esteemed, it is necessary that they maintain an equivalent, if not larger than life, image.  Senior lacrosse player Ryan Mason, however, feels that there lies a higher purpose between athlete and lacrosse stick.  “A lax stick to a lax player is like caramel to an apple, ketchup to curly fries, a 15” subwoofer to a 1990 Saab.  Not only an extension of the body, but of the soul as well,” he says.

Why do these select athletes feel the need to adorn our hallways with their precious lacrosse sticks?  Is it because they unknowingly desire to prevent smooth flux throughout the school?  Or is to advance their appearance as iconic representatives of MLHS?  Perhaps there lies an even deeper reasoning in which we “non-laxers” can understand.  Though for now, we shall continue to question.