It has been 45 years since Andy Quinn graduated from The John Carroll School in Bel Airand ended his high school lacrosse career, but he can step back on the field once a year and suit up with his former teammates thanks to the school's annual Old Timers Lacrosse Game.
"It makes you feel good, because it makes you feel like you're young again," Quinn, 63, of Bel Air, said during a recent interview.
Quinn graduated from John Carroll in 1972, the same year Ed Miller, the Bel Air private school's archivist and former head coach of the men's varsity lacrosse team, started the Old Timers' game.
Miller, now 87, took over as the lacrosse coach when he began teaching Russian at the school in 1969. He was the men's lacrosse coach for 10 years.
Miller, a 1947 graduate of Loyola High School and a 1951 graduate of Loyola College, both in Baltimore, played lacrosse in college, and he helped start a lacrosse program at Baltimore's Loyola High School in 1959 when he was teaching there.
He said in a recent interview that he organized an old-timers' game when he was at Loyola High, so "it was a natural thing for me to do" the same thing at John Carroll.
"It had a lot of attraction for graduates to be able to come back and continue to play the game that they loved even though it was a one-day affair," Miller said.
The game is typically held toward the end of the school year. This year's game was played May 21. Those who graduated in even years play alumni of odd years.
Quinn, who has played in nearly every Old Timers Game, said many of the players range in age from their 40s to their 60s.
"The passes might not be as crisp, and the shots might not be as hard as what you're seeing in the NCAA, but it's still lacrosse; you still know what to do," he said.
Neither he nor Miller could recall who won this year's game, as playing was more of a priority than keeping score.
About 40 alumni participated this year, according to Miller.
Quinn noted Miller, when he is on the field, is still the coach of 45 years ago, telling players to "scoop the ball or catch" the ball.
"He barks his orders out — they're not orders, he's a coach, so you're listening to him, and not a lot has changed," Quinn said.
Lacrosse is played today in both private and public high schools — by male and female student athletes — in Harford County. Carson Kalama, of Bel Air, and Garrett Reynolds, of Havre de Grace, played key roles in Salisbury University's recent NCAA Division III championship in men's lacrosse.
Jim Long, a longtime John Carroll administrator who died in 2009, is credited with bringing lacrosse to John Carroll at the time of the school's founding in 1964, according to Miller.
Miller keeps a copy of a letter fromer Maryland U.S. Sen. Joseph D. Tydings wrote to The Aegis in 1965, stating that he was "delighted" that John Carroll fielded a lacrosse team, but "distressed" that public schools in Harford were not providing an opportunity for their students "to participate in this great team sport."
"I hope that the team at John Carroll High School provides inspiration for Bel Air once again to resume lacrosse and for the other high schools of Harford County to consider instituting this great Maryland sport," wrote Tydings, a long-time Harford County resident, who played lacrosse at the McDonough School and University of Maryland.
Lacrosse soon was added at Harford's public high schools, which have produced several boys and girls state championship teams in the intervening years.