The New Unsung Ohiri Hero

Writer's Block

A free association game beginning with "Harvard Women's Lacrosse" might lead to a number of different responses.

You might say "Char Joslin." Or "a damn good team." Or "Just mutilated B.C." But few would answer: "a truly outstanding manager."

I'd like to end this injustice.

It's too easy to"ooh" and "ahh" at nifty bounce shots, to scream with pleasure at a timely interception, and to admire coaching finesse, while forgetting all about that hero that makes this game what it is: the manager.

He sits, hunched over the clock panel at the table, armed with a cross pen and a substitution horn.

Folks, meet Andy Arends.

How did Andy decide to be manager?

"A month ago I met a friend of mine for dinner at Mather, and it turns out she's one of the captains, Julia French," Arends said. "She said they needed a manager and started giving me a hard time about how I'd make a good one."

Arends knew the grave responsibility of the job, had heard rumors about the gut-wrenching life of a manager, and did not take the offer lightly.

"I thought about it, and thought about it," Arends said. "It was something different, I guess, something out of the ordinary, and I said, why not? I guess I'm just a nice guy."

But being a nice guy won't carry you through a lacrosse game. No, sirree. It takes courage, strength, and stamina.

While the players rush down the field, checking and tossing, Arends' pen rushes across the stats page, circling and marking times.

Imagine the scene. Julie Clifford gets bashed in the knee. Penalty. (Arends takes it down.) She takes the ball to the outside of the circle and tosses it to Becky Gaffney who wops the ball in. (Assist, score, time. Probable substitution pending.)

Isn't he glad he used Dial?

"It was nerve-racking," said Arends. "I was always afraid I was going to screw up."