March 28, 2008

Nathan Switches Sticks, Becomes Vocal Leader

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In the only sport where it’s possible to decide between a short stick and a long stick, senior co-captain Danny Nathan had to make the switch. In an impressive act of selflessness, Nathan agreed to undergo a metamorphosis from his former position on defense, which uses a long stick, to become a short-stick wielding defensive midfielder in his junior year so that then sophomore Nick Gradinger could gain a spot on defense. Lucky for Nathan, picking up a short stick was not quite so hard as it might have been since he had some experience with the position in high school. “Its been challenging at times trying to play a different position where you don’t have as much room for mistakes…” Nathan said. “I played short stick in high school so it’s good to get back to my roots. “
Although he has spent a lot of time regaining confidence with the ball in game situations Nathan has enjoyed the added challenge of starting out as less than an expert at his position. Not only that, he’s actually come to prefer his new stick and his new role on the team.
“I like the action and challenge and I think it’s a more difficult position to play,” Nathan said. “It’s a less glorious position and a little more blue collar and I kind of like that approach to the game. I have never been a finesse player and this is even less of a finesse position so it goes hand in hand with my mentality and the way I approach the game every day.”
The kind of player who is willing to take one for the team never goes unnoticed. As a captain and a senior Nathan plays an invaluable role on the Red defense. He has played a huge part in organizing the defense and making sure that every player knows where to be and what job to do there.
“Danny Nathan is clearly the leader of our defense in terms of being the vocal and physical presence that we need back there,” said head coach Jeff Tambroni.
Although he’s made a lot of personal improvements for the good of the team, Nathan feels that it’s all part of what attracted him to Cornell and the Red lacrosse program in the first place: the importance of family. In addition to the support and inspiration he receives from his actual blood relations, Nathan said he has benefited from his lacrosse family almost as much.
Like junior co-captain Max Seibald, Nathan is also greatly influenced by a previous team captain. In Nathan’s case, Cameron Marchant ’06 had an immense impact on his experience on the team and his idea of what it means to be a leader.
“I have always looked to Marchant, who was a previous captain of our team,” Nathan said. “I think he really embodied the spirit of Cornell lacrosse and the late George Boiardi ’04 and he truly carried out the tradition of George.”
In his final season as a Red lacrosse player, Nathan’s goals are straightforward but the road to achieving them will be a challenge, as usual. With his team-first mentality, Nathan has his sights set firmly on securing the Ivy League championship and helping to bring his team back to the Final Four for another go at the NCAA championship.
“Getting back to the Final Four and winning an Ivy League championship, those are the goals,” Nathan said. “My own success is the team success so I think they go hand in hand.”