Emerson men's baseball players Kent Anderson and Brendan Lahr found themselves in the thick of a tight contest against Mitchell College on April 14. With the Lions clinging to a slim lead, the primary objective in the minds of the two players was not to make a mistake to cost their team the game.
"The game was really moving in slow motion," said Lahr, a sophomore television major. "I just kept telling myself, 'Don't mess up.'"
It was a task that would have been easier, however, if they had been holding baseball bats instead of lacrosse sticks.
The two spent the day as attackmen for the Lions due to a lack of players able to play in the game.
The need for the players came about due to a scheduling quirk, Anderson said. The game was originally supposed to be played on another day, but Head Coach Michael Blanchard was informed that his team would need to show up for the contest on April 14 or be forced to forfeit. Due to players' commitments in the classroom, only nine of the 22 members of the Lions' roster were available to make the trip for the game.
When it became apparent that the team had only nine available bodies in a sport that requires 11 players on the field, Blanchard was forced to find replacements elsewhere.
Above all else, Anderson said avoiding injury for baseball was his number-one priority.
"Our main objective was not to get hurt," said the senior print journalism major. "We stood in the middle of the crease and just screened the goalie."
Anderson said that the physicality of the sport was an enticing draw to participate.
"I kind of wanted to just hit someone, to whack them with my stick," Anderson said. "Mostly, though, I didn't want to screw it up for the team."
During the course of the game, which the Lions won 7-6, both players got the opportunity to attempt two shots each, but neither connected for a goal. Lahr said the closest he came was when he missed by about a foot to the left of the net.
"It was really frustrating," Lahr said. "I wanted to score so badly."
Because NCAA rules forbid players from competing unless they have filled out a number of forms, Anderson said that current Emerson athletes offered the best option to step in and play because they had already completed the necessary paperwork.
Lahr said he found out he would be playing while riding the subway the morning of the game. He received a call from Anderson, who informed him of their involvement in the contest.
"I was just sitting on the T when [Anderson] called," Lahr said. "He just told me, 'Grab your shorts, we're going to play lax today.'"
On the bus ride to the game, the players received instructions from Blanchard regarding strategy and were able to spend about 20 minutes practicing before the contest started.
Both Anderson and Lahr had never played organized lacrosse before, since the season takes place during the same time as baseball. However, the sport was popular around their homes in Maryland, and both had previous experience playing lacrosse with their friends.
Overall, Blanchard said, both players exceeded his expectations with their contributions.
"They came at it with the right attitude and showed respect for the game, which speaks volumes of them," Blanchard said. "They hustled and they worked hard, and they had a good game."