An article in Friday's editions of The Sun took a look at an unusual dynamic in Saturday's game between No. 5 Towson and No. 14 Johns Hopkins in which Tigers junior attackman Joe Seider and Blue Jays sophomore goalkeeper Brock Turnbaugh will try to lead their respective teams to victory at the expense of their former Hereford High School teammate and close friend.
I asked Towson coach Shawn Nadelen and Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala about similar experiences during their playing days.
When he was a close defenseman and short-stick defensive midfielder for the Washington Bayhawks of Major League Lacrosse and the Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League, Nadelen said he looked forward to tangling with Chris Schiller, a Penn State graduate who played short-stick defensive midfielder for the MLL's Rochester Rattlers and the NLL's Rochester Nighthawks.
"It was fun," Nadelen recalled. "It's so competitive. When you're off the field, you're good friends and enjoying each other's company, but when you're on the field, I think it brings out a little more focus and a little more intensity because you don't want your friend to have the upper hand. And when you get out on the field and he's wearing a different color, he's not your friend anymore. He's the enemy, and it's something where you want to gain the advantage because you don't want him to brag about it after the game."
Pietramala's best friend is former Towson defenseman Ron Klausner, who is the godfather to Pietramala's twin boys. Pietramala said he did not pull back when he, a defenseman for the Blue Jays, and Klausner met on the field.
"The field's a different place," Pietramala said. "I didn't care. Friend or no friend, it didn't matter, I just wanted to win. The competitiveness on the field is exactly what it is – on the field. If I was defending a guy that I knew and I had to put a heavy check, I wouldn't think twice about it. I think if anything playing against people you know and respect brings out the better part of you. Kids are kids, and no one wants to give an edge to their buddies. You never wanted to give an inch to your good buddy and give him bragging rights. …
"I think playing against guys that you know and have respect for, I think that can tend to bring out the best in you. Whether you're a goalie, whether you're an attackman, whether you're a middie, you want to perform and you've got that little extra juice because you want to perform against your buddy."