As Michael Hoffer so ably noted in The Forecaster, Yarmouth and North Yarmouth Academy are long-time boys lacrosse rivals and played a close, hard-fought playoff game that was in doubt until the final second. The final and deciding goal was scored in the waning minutes as the result of a momentary mistake by the NYA goalie, who had played an outstanding game, repeatedly frustrating Yarmouth shooters.
After the game, the teams lined up and went through handshake lines. A number of the Yarmouth players paused to give more than the typically perfunctory handshake to the NYA goalie. Much more impressively, as the teams returned to their benches, at least three Yarmouth players stopped the NYA goalie, gave him a hug and apparently offered words of encouragement or consolation. The Yarmouth players had earned the right to indulge in a few moments of self-absorption in the glory of their victory, but reached out to a distraught competitor instead. Impressive young men.
Moments later, the NYA team, in what would be the last school activity for the disappointed seniors, jogged together across the field to the applause of their fans. At least half the Yarmouth team spontaneously applauded, too. That’s rarely seen respect.
Coach Pearl deserves credit for proving that a fiercely competitive lacrosse team can display respect and sportsmanship. It would be a noticeable improvement if the athletic departments and coaches of other dominant programs could follow his example.