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Flames welcome back former players during their third-annual alumni game
To recognize former team members, the Liberty University men’s lacrosse team held their third alumni game, in which the alumni defeated the current players 20-11.
According to Head Coach Kyle McQuillan, this is the third year the lacrosse team has hosted an alumni game.
This year, 10 players came back to participate in a scrimmage against the current team. Players who attended Liberty as far back as the 80s, as well as some who had just graduated the previous semester, came out in the drizzling rain for the friendly match.
The 10 alumni, along with a few Liberty players to even out the squads, won, due to the benefit of their scores counting for double the points.
“It’s always a fun time playing in the alumni game,” Liberty senior Travis Briggs said. “You meet new people, play with some of your old teammates, see how the game of lacrosse has improved and, most importantly, see how God is working through the Liberty lacrosse program to impact others.”
McQuillan talked about the importance of having alumni stay in touch with the program.
“Throughout the course of the year, a lot of our alumni stay really well connected with our guys,” McQuillan said. “We bring them in for games in the spring … Our alumni have been really great over the years. (They are) really encouraging and (are) keeping a relationship with the players and the program.”
One of the alumni who attended the game, Mark Gedicks, reminisced on his experience playing for Liberty from 1988-1991, explaining that the program has come a long way since he last played. According to Gedicks, the club’s first win came in 1988.
Gedicks was a business marketing major, but after graduating, he was called to be a pastor and has lived in New England since. He has made the roughly 600-mile drive each of the last three years to attend the alumni game. After the game, Gedicks had a chance to talk to the team and give them some words of advice.
“I reminded them that they are called to be missionaries through the sport,” Gedicks said.
Gedicks said that during his time on the Lacrosse team, he and his fellow players used it as a chance to witness and pray for the opponents they played throughout the season.
“You can either worship yourself through lacrosse, or you can worship God,” Gedicks said.
In New England, Gedicks now coaches lacrosse for two of his children’s teams. He explained that this has been able to open doors for him that he might not normally get as a pastor.
Playing, however, is a different experience these days.
“My head is still there, but it is like you are wearing cement shoes,” Gedicks said, describing his play against the younger athletes.
However, despite the difference in play, he did not have any complaints.
“It’s a blast,” Gedicks said. “It’s something I look forward to on an annual basis.”