Imagine this, freshmen phenoms Kevin Durant and Greg Oden staying after practice, weighted with the task of counting up every single basketball and then finding the ones lost in the stands by blocked shots and errant passes. Now imagine that there are 100 to 150 basketballs. Most likely, this is not their reality.
It was the reality, however, of sophomore Max Seibald last year of the men’s lacrosse team.
“I was the designated ball boy last year,” Seibald said “We needed somewhere around 100 to 150 balls for each practice and game. I had to carry them out, and then count them and collect them at the end of practice. When we traveled, I always had the heaviest bag.”
Carrying equipment is something most of the younger kids on a sports team have to do, regardless of the level or location. Seibald was not an ordinary freshman, however. He was only the third-ever Cornell freshman to be named an All-American, receiving second-team honors after recording 33 points, second most by a freshman middie in the nation.
Seibald worked his way onto the field while earning his teammates respect through a combination of hard work and personality.
“I think in regards of just sheer talent, Max stands above most kids at his age,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni. “… I think through that talent and through that poise under pressure he really earned the respect of his teammates.”
Seibald was able to not just earn the upperclassmen’s respect, but that of his class peers as well.
“[Seibald is] just one of the guys off the field. He’s a very unassuming young man. He gets a ton of attention through the media, he gets a ton of attention through our opposition. … When he straps on his helmet and pads, he’s one of the best lacrosse players, period, in the country. Then when he takes all that off he’s just one of the guys, and our guys love that about him.”
Still, Seibald figures to be a large part of the Red’s attack this year, which will change with the loss of All-American Joe Boulukos ’06.
“Last year, the offense was to essentially run right up the mid field because we had Boulukos. Now that we lost him and we have three starting seniors, it opened up a lot more room for dodging from the attack and at the midfield.”
This style of play has led to more equal distribution of the ball, allowing every guy on the team to get his opportunities at one time or another.
And while Tambroni said that Seibald has the green light at any time to shoot or dodge or create, both have a less tangible goal in mind for Seibald this season.
“This year I need to be more of a leader,” Seibald said. “Last year, I went along with the flow because we had some great leadership and I was just learning the ropes. I’m trying to be a little bit more vocal. I feel like I can help people by sharing my view.”
“He’s so unassuming that I think sometimes on the field I don’t know if he realizes how talented he really is and how much respect he has earned through his teammates regardless of class,” Tambroni said. “So taking on that role as a vocal leader is important. … It’s not something that I can say or one of his teammates can say, it’s something that he just has to feel inside his heart that he can prepare to do and take that role.”