Now in these uncertain times, Shaker Lacrosse and their head coach, Shawn Hennessey, are taking things in stride and await direction on where the 2020 spring season will go.
"It's all relative. It's all in perspective," said Hennessey. "It's definitively difficult and not just the boys in my program, but the school in general, and basically the community of North Colonie in general."
For the players, impatience is expected, but it is important at this moment for them to stay away from each other and put in as much work by themselves as possible.
"Obviously there's ...lear disappointment," said Hennessey. "Some of these kids have trained their whole lives to be in this moment, especially the seniors we have. Our program is doing a tremendous job."
Hennessey and his staff are doing everything in their power to get the team together virtually and train strategically at this point.
"We are doing a couple things to bring everybody together virtually in order to keep everybody in a positive frame of mind," said Hennessey. "Keeping them in spirit of getting better and moving forward is important. I think we are lucky in those aspects."
Shaker graduated 17 last season and returns just six seniors. The seniors that do return to Shaker are highly praised by Hennessey.
"They haven't shown any emotion. We are meeting everyday, online, right now and they haven't shown the emotional part of it because the message we are giving them is, 'We will play again, be optimistic,'" said Hennessey. "Nobody gets to say we're not playing until we are not playing. What are the things we are going to do, what do we need to do to move forward? We need the seniors, as leaders, to lead the charge with this and that it is okay to be angry and it is okay to be upset with this, but what are you really going to do about it?"
Hennessey is very happy with how his senior leadership embodied his coaching staffs message and their ability to continue their workouts and continue to keep an unwavering positive attitude at the moment.
"They are tremendous individuals," said Hennessey. "These are some of the best kids in the school. We have lacrosse players, football players, all types of different athletes, and they are smart as they come kids. We couldn't have picked a better class to have to spearhead this with. Every single one of them gets it. Every single one of them gets the significance of what is going on in our community."
Hennessey continued on and said one of the harder things right now with social distancing is the workouts are done individually, taking away the comradery found in blood, sweat, and tears and the group mentality to push one another through a hard workout.
"It's new ground and I think change is difficult for a lot of people. For not just the players, but the coaches, and anybody else that is actually experiencing and going through the changes," said Hennessey. "You don't get to share that pain and anguish, or anything, any of the common things. You know the friends on your team and when things are tough sometimes you have to look next you and say,'hey, you got this?' and somebody has to pick you up. Now it is mental toughness and you versus the workout."
The effects of coronavirus on recruting status for a lot of younger players has yet to be determined, accoring to Hennessey. With the way the pandemic is looking, summer ball (where a lot of college lacrosse recruiting is done) could possibly see an effect on it due to the virus.
"We don't know if summer ball is going to happen," said Hennessey. "There are so many avenues. What has happened in the last two, three years in lacrosse is we have gone back to no more early recruiting status. Players can't even be looked at until their sophomore summer and they can't be contacted until they are juniors anymore, and this is how it was awhile ago."
"Our younger kids, our ninth graders who will be tenth graders, still have a lot of positive things. Our tenth graders who will be eleventh graders still have a lot of positive avenues, the real concern is these juniors. They are trying to take that next step, now all the juniors that are varsity players all had a sophomore summer, they are going in with some good prospects of what they can potentially do, or can't do -- I think that's where the ramifications of recruiting is going to come from is that 2021 class. All that says to me is that we have to do more work for these kids."
Hennessey has been upfront with his players through thick and skin. The situation has not been easy on anyone, including their fearless leader and head coach.
"Like I've said to the players, you have to take a couple days," said Hennessey on how he has felt through this whole process. "You have to be angry. You have got to generalize, but when we first started this, after the first three days of postponing the season and the reality of that hitting, you have to send a large message out. We sent a message to our group message of every single player on varsity and said, 'Listen, players play and coaches coach, we have got to get back to doing what we do.' I told them to take their time, I know I did, and let's get back after that."
Shaker lacrosse has taken their time and is back. Hennessey praised his team for having a hundred percent attendance for all of their meetings, putting the power back in the coaches hands and taking it away from the coronavirus.
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