Lacrosse Around the World
Division III Devils Head Coach Pat Scarpello and Midfielder MacGyver Hay
By Sara Campione
Devils men’s lacrosse Head Coach Pat Scarpello has taken FDU’s global mission and put a sports spin on it, going abroad to coach Team Bermuda during the World Lacrosse Championships, held in Israel in 2018.
“This past summer was my third time involved with the World Lacrosse Championships,” says Scarpello. “I got involved because of one of my former players.”
Before they met, sophomore men’s lacrosse player MacGyver Hay was already spending summers in Bermuda.
The two eventually met through the Team Bermuda program when Hay was still in high school. “He was trying out, so I started talking to his dad and found out that his dad was born and raised in Bermuda,” says Scarpello. After that, Scarpello began to recruit Hay to play for FDU.
Lacrosse players for Team Bermuda range in age from 16–49 years old.
In order to qualify as a member of a World Games team, an individual must be a second-generation relative, resident of the country, own property in the respective country or have worked in the country for a certain amount of time.
“In Bermuda there’s only 60,000 people, so it is not a big pool to draw from. Fortunately, a lot of players from the island attend boarding schools and that’s where they learn how to play lacrosse,” says Scarpello.
In order to stay active and in shape, Hay and other members of Team Bermuda would meet at an abandoned golf course two to three times a week, prior to the world championships, to run drills and practice. “It might just be three of us a day, maybe four, but we would go out there and get some time in,” says Hay.
For Scarpello and Hay, the championships are a way to not only increase the visibility of lacrosse, but also a chance to see former coaches, players and other acquaintances again.
Hay reconnected with a former coach who was playing with Team Colombia at the summer 2018 games. After the championship, Hay and his former coach swapped jerseys, as is tradition.
“The swapping of uniforms, helmets and gear is something the players do as a sign of respect. Players from other countries usually clap and cheer for the team walking to the field. It’s a sign of solidarity,” says Scarpello.
“It’s a really cool way to remember the people you met while at the world games, and show that you have respect for them and their nation,” comments Hay.
Championship events include: the tournament, a festival and a master’s game. Team Bermuda finished this year’s tournament with a record of 5–3.
As lacrosse continues to become popular in Bermuda, Scarpello is dreaming big. “I hope to resurrect a program where I would go into physical education classes there. The club has purchased a lot of plastic sticks and balls. I introduced the sport to gym classes. The kids loved it. I taught them the basics of how to catch, throw and pick up a ground ball,” says Scarpello. “I would love for the sport to grow in Bermuda that way.”
Meanwhile, Hay wants to get more of his Bermudian friends involved in the sport. “I’ve made it a point to reach out to my friends there and get them to play. I showed them videos, and they really want to be a part of this.”
Ed. note: A version of this article first appeared in the Winter/Spring 2019 edition of FDU Magazine.