Over the years, countless bands of brothers have joined forces on the lacrosse field to grow the game in our neck of the woods.
The list includes Nelsons and Marrs at Yorktown, Bocklets and Daniellos at John Jay.
Every successful high school program in the area has benefited from players who shared a love of lacrosse with siblings in the backyard. Look at what’s happening right now in Pleasantville where so many of the standouts on a team that won a Section 1 title last season literally grew up around the game.
Bloodlines can make all the difference.
“My dad was big into baseball,” said Jack Drillock, a senior All-America long pole who shares the field with his younger brother, Ryan, a junior attackman. “But my older brother started playing lacrosse and I got hooked because of Gregory. It really started there for us, playing together in the backyard.”
Brian Reda is following in the cleat marks of Kevin and Owen.
The Pleasantville sophomore attackman is already holding last spring’s championship over the heads of his older brothers.
“I went to all of their games when I was little,” Reda said. “I remember going to Hen Hud and Rye. I kind of got to see the whole program evolve and I really looked up to the varsity players.”
Those annoying kids in loud shorts running around with sticks on the sidelines of modified games and club games usually become ready-made varsity standouts.
Most of them are way ahead of the competition.
“In general, a lot of the kids who have older brothers playing lacrosse have a better idea of how to play the game,” said Pleasantville coach Chris Kear, who played for his dad at John Jay along with younger brothers Tucker and Casey. “From being dragged to all those games, there are certain things all of them just know. They have an innate sense for the game.”
They grow up mimicking the older standouts.
“Each summer we’d go to lacrosse tournaments and some of my friends had older brothers playing, too,” Drillock said. “We’d always be playing somewhere on the side. And my little brother did the same thing when he got dragged to my games, my little sisters, now, too. I picked up so much from watching my brother and we both pass things down. I had a head start. Even today, some of what I do goes back to what I picked up when I was younger.”
It’s a productive feeder program.
“We all grew up in a family like that,” Kear said. “It creates an atmosphere of competition and the younger brothers feel a responsibility to carry the torch. They want to play as well as their older brother. If one wins a playoff game, the next one wants to win a sectional championship and maybe talk about it each year at Thanksgiving.”
The Panthers are big on family.
Brendan Halloran is going to have plenty to crow about at family gatherings. He left for Skidmore as the program’s leading scorer, but there’s time enough for Brian and Jack to fill up the net.
They also have Greg and Tim Driscoll and Hayden and Shane McBride in the program.
“I’m very competitive,” Brian Reda said. “Me and Owen argue quite a bit over whose team was better. I’ve always wanted to see if I could be as good as my brothers were, and they’ve helped me so much. Having an older sibling is a huge advantage.”
Turning brothers loose with sticks and helmets is generally not a good idea, but the sibling rivalries never seem to show up on the field.
“I got to play in the Section 1 tournament senior year with my brothers,” Kear said. “They were brought up as freshman and I remember being so overprotective of them. Most of the time we’d be yelling and screaming at each other away from the field, but I can actually recall giving them a pep talk before the first playoff game.”