Basics propel milestone victory
Well, my drought of assignments came to an end Sunday where I shot three assignments plus a bunch of work at The Towerlight. Change of pace for this post. Here is another story I thought was a good enough to share from my New Media course. Enjoy.
John Grubb’s North Harford Hawks’ were giving Perry Hall a pounding in the first half Thursday afternoon, as they led by nine goals.
But then, with five minutes remaining in the match, the decision to start third string in the second half backfired for the coaching legend.
His hands clinched the inside of his pockets like vice grips on a rusted bolt and his legs crossed tightly at the ankles, as he continually rose up and down nervously on the tips of his feet.
Frustrations flared after another goal rocketed past the goalkeeper and sidelined teammates shouted at defenders on the field. The Hawks, only up by four goals, watched as time and their lead ticked away little by little.
The only lacrosse coach in North Harford program’s history has been stationed on the Hawks’ sideline for 32 years, and this game means more than just another first home game of the season. Grubb has a chance to reach career win No. 300.
Lacrosse has been flowing in Grubb’s veins since the ninth grade when he played his first game at McDonough High School in Baltimore, Md. “I got cut from the baseball team and my buddies I played football with were lacrosse players and got me to come out,” Grubb said.
From there, a scholarship landed him at Towson State, where he earned All-American honors as a defenseman and was inducted into the Towson University Athletic Hall of Fame.
Although Grubb, 60, achieved success with the sport, he never contemplated coaching, “I never really thought about it, especially when I took a job in Harford County, they didn’t have lacrosse.”
Then in 1977, Al Cesky, head of intercollegiate athletics in Harford County, recruited the social studies teacher and other notable lacrosse coaches, as he filled the schools in the county with lacrosse talent.
But before he started tallying nearly 10 wins a year, Grubb endured losing seasons, including a winless campaign in 1979. The following season, he adapted something he learned at a young age and transformed it into a successful coaching strategy. Fundamentals.
“That’s all I heard when I was playing - fundamentals. I don’t even think I knew what that meant,” Grubb said. The basics of the game have been a trademark for Grubb and something that past and present players and coaching staff commonly recognize him for.
“Everyday, catch and throw, catch and throw,” Alex Poteet, a senior attackman, said. “ He tells us you have to be fundamentally sound before you can do anything more advanced.”
Grubb’s repetitive routine has proven to be profitable, as he has propelled the Hawks’ to two state championships, 12 Harford County titles and was named Harford County coach of the year seven times.
“He is a huge mentor of mine,” said Jason Bellamy, former player under Grubb and coach at first year program, Patterson Mill High School. “Pieces of what I learned from him, I use in the game.”
While the game has changed dramatically since his arrival at North Harford, more than 30 years ago, that hasn’t changed his coaching style.
“[He] adjusts to the rules and little things that need to be adjusted, but I think the reason he is consistently competitive and successful overall, is that he sticks to the basic, time tested drills,” said assistant coach, Todd Grubb, who views John Grubb not only as a father, but mentor and coach. Todd Grubb was a part of the 1995 team, as a player, who won the Class 1A-2A title.
Grubb has not only been working on developing the game in Pylesville, Md. with the Hawks, but with kids all over, with a lacrosse camp he started with former Towson State teammate, Frank Mezzanotte.
“We realized that to compete with the other counties in lacrosse, we needed to start a camp in Harford County and try to bring in good coaches from outside to teach our kids the game,” Grubb said.
The camp is about teaching and as listed on the Web site, “We build players, one at a time.” In its 27th year, the Towson duo have educated the essentials of the game to nearly 4,000 players of all ages, and recently watched the game progress with its recent branch in South Carolina.
But to the most winningest coach in Harford County history, lacrosse isn’t everything.
“I am a big believer, I don’t care what sport it is, sports are a game of life. You got some valleys and some peaks, and everyone goes through it,” Grubb said smiling. “Kids that play sports are better prepared for life.”
Whether or not members of the 2008 squad will be better prepared for life, they will remember a peak of Grubb’s life as the final whistle sounded Thursday, concluding a 19-14 victory.
Following the final handshake, Grubb, modest and laid back, exhibited a quick smile after officially achieving a milestone in his career. But the smile vanished as he received accolades from players, parents and wife.
“Are you going to celebrate?” asked Judy Duarte, the mother of a sophomore player. “I’ll probably have a cold one,” Grubb said.
I am not writer by all means, my talent lies in my photographs, so I would love to hear some feedback.