Trevor Tierney on the Huguely-Love Tragedy

We are already primed with excuses, though. People will fight the idea that alcohol has anything to do with this Huguely case. We will say, "Well, that kid was messed up!" or "He's an evil monster!" or "I would never do something like that when I was drinking, that guy is just an idiot." We may say, "Well, we can't be held responsible for everyone's actions ... there is always one bad apple in a bunch!". We may point our fingers and explain, "Well, this is a problem in all of athletics, in all of society, so why should our sport take the blame?" We will exclaim, "Lots of people in our society go out and get drunk every night and do not commit murders!"

All of these lines of reasoning may be true to a certain extent. But, there is another side to all of this that we tend to ignore. In actuaility, there are lots of people in our society that go out and get drunk at night and end up in jail, just like Huguely. Or they end up in a hospital. Or they end up dead. And even if this one sad story was the first and only example of an alcohol-related tragedy in our sport (which it certainly is not), then wouldn't that be enough for us to look in the mirror and wonder if something needs to change? Unfortunately, for all the people involved in tragedies like these, there are no second chances.

Fortunately for lacrosse, and for all of us, we all get that second chance to make a change right now. We can either keep making excuses OR we will say to ourselves, "ENOUGH WITH THE INSANITY! IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP AND GROW UP! IT'S TIME FOR ALL OF US TO MAKE A CHANGE BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE ... AGAIN." We will step up and make the necessary changes in our personal life to effect the greater whole. We will stop abusing alcohol all the time and turning our lacrosse events into drinking contests. We will either learn to drink in a responsible manner (if we are of age) or we will just abstain from drinking altogether.

We will stop cultivating the "lax bro" image that only cares about "playing hard and partying hard". We will stop modeling to the younger athletes of our sport in magazines, web sites and other media that it is cool to drink hard. We will stop using alcohol advertisers to pay for our pro teams and leagues. We will realize that this behavior is not "normal" in the real world and it is why many people on the outside frown upon our athletes and our sport.

We will understand that all of us, in some way, have a stake in this systemic failure that is currently letting our youth down. We will stop this madness or...we will just keep going until the next tragedy happens. And just maybe when it does, instead of Huguely or Love, it will be your son, your daughter, your player, your teammate or YOU.

I know it's harsh and I know it's extreme, but if we all don't come together in lacrosse and decide to create change all together, tragedies like these are going to continue to happen. If so, we will all be somewhat responsible once again. Whether it's fair or not, lacrosse will and should continue to shoulder some of the blame, until we all finally decide that enough is enough.


What can we do to make a change? Big changes start with small steps. Everyone in our game first has to look themselves in the mirror and decide what they need to change in their own lives. For now my contribution is going to be this : I am starting a Facebook group and Twitter hash-tag #BESOBERBESTRONG. I would love for coaches, players and fans throughout our game and other sports to join it. It would be especially great to have some professional players sign up for it and be role models for the younger athletes.

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