Virginia wins one for fallen teammate

May 18, 2010 | Paul Hoke

Let me start off by saying that I don’t like lacrosse.  I’m not a fan of the sport, and as a youth ice hockey player, our mantra was always, “lacrosse is for the kids who can’t ice skate.”  I mean no disrespect to fans of the sport, or those who coach it for that matter, but I think you would be better served using those sticks with the baskets at the end for catching butterflies.

Having said that, I witnessed something special, and lacrosse related this past weekend.  Before heading into work, I stopped over at my in-laws house.  My father in law, a fan of all sports, especially English Premier League soccer and any sport played by pretty girls, had turned on ESPN for the start of the Towson vs. Virginia girls’ lacrosse game.  It was the opening round of the NCAA tournament, and the Lady Tigers were facing the powerhouse that is the 6th ranked Virginia Lady Cavaliers.

We all know by now the significance this game held.  The tragic murder of Yeardley Love at the hands of George Huguely is a still unfolding story, and this was the first time since that spoiled little coward murdered Love, that her fellow teammates took the field.  Say what you want about my assessment, I’ve been in law enforcement for 15 years and around it for 34 years…he did it, the death penalty was made for people like him.  But, I digress.

Watching the beginning of this game was special.  They announced the Lady Tigers, who show an enthusiasm for the game that many professionals have long forgotten.  Next, was the Lady Cavaliers.  It’s amazing just how many of these kids, on both teams, come from this area.  I may not be a lacrosse fan, but as a born and bred Baltimorean, I take alot of pride in the fact that we are a hot bed for the sport.  Then, came the moment of silence….

As I told Rex Snider the day I called into his show, the only way Yeardley Love could be honored by her team was to hit the field.  Her story will be told and retold countless times, but the one fact that will remain the same is that she is gone.  How better to honor her then to take the field in her memory?  Her fellow Cavaliers did just that.  Ms. Love would probably have wanted it that way.  And let me tell you something, they honored her with a fantastic game.  The Lady Cavs defeated Towson 14-12 in what may have been the greatest lacrosse game I’ve ever seen.  Now, like I said, I’m not a lacrosse fan, but I know how the game is played.  The heart and passion that BOTH teams showed was a testament, not just to Ms. Love, but to sports everywhere.  It was an honor to watch it, and as much as I love Towson athletics, I was a Virginia fan from the start.

Towson gave the Lady Cavs all they could handle.  But in the end, the Cavs pulled out the W.  I’m not an overly sentimental person, just ask my wife.  But I was rooting for the Cavs from word go.  Now, there was a small part of me, who always roots for the underdog, that wanted Towson to pull off what would have been a monumental upset.  But I knew that this was Virginia’s day.  It had to be.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have issues regarding my faith and belief that there is something waiting for us on the other side.  I’ve seen enough in my life to question whether or not a higher power or a “Heaven” really exists.  But as with everything, I do account for the fact that I could be wrong.  It happens alot, once again, just ask my wife.  But if there is an afterlife, and just as we’ve been told, our loved ones keep watch over us, then I have to believe that somewhere, Ms. Love is giving her fellow Cavs a standing ovation.  They won this game for her.  And to be honest, with that in mind, the Tigers never had a shot.

Well done Lady Cavaliers.  God bless you, and the entire Love family.