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My dad was on the ’71 team. I was just a toddler in 1976. Shaw, Rimmer, Rule, French, McEneaney, Marino, Kane, Hendrickson—those guys were legends I knew of, but did not witness.
In the mid-eighties, my brother and I spent time behind the nets at Schoellkopf—well behind the nets, as ball boys. We felt part of the ride for the amazing 87 journey. We loved those ridiculous jerseys in which the horizontal Cornell and vertical Lacrosse shared an “L”. We were in the Dome on April 11, 1987 for the most riveting 19 to 6 game ever.
We manned the endlines of the Kopf on a hot May Sunday when it seemed the whole town of Ithaca had spilled into the crescent to watch Adelphi attempt to topple the Big Red (and they came close, with Gordon Purdie, the Aussie, running endless midfield shifts).
We made the trip to Rutgers for Memorial Day weekend. The Saturday rematch with the Cuse kept the dream alive, but my brother and I had red, tear-streaked faces that Monday.
Later, one afternoon in 1994, I got to shoot on Paul Schimoler. He was on the turf in preparation for the World Games; I was a freshman at Georgetown. In a way, that’s where this painting was born. In my fiction, at that moment, he was the Schimoler of the ’88 tournament, and I was both the kid who cheered for him and the college player I wanted to be.
“Red/White Scrimmage” salutes the Cornell Lacrosse tradition that predates the players depicted and will carry on into the future. It asks, what if? What if my childhood heroes, and their heroes before them, along with my son’s idols (who saw his first Cornell game in 2010 vs. Army in the playoffs) could share the field in their prime?
It juxtaposes yesterday’s sticks and equipment with today’s ever changing gear; Schoellkopf field provides a timeless setting; and it sparks a thousand memories.
As a kid I knew two legendary coaches, Bob Scott of Johns Hopkins (we lived in Baltimore for awhile and he held his camp at Gilman where my dad taught and coached) and Richie Moran. In college I had the privilege to play for a third, Dave Urick. All three treat the game with respect and reverence. All three honor tradition. This piece attempts to do the same.