Help Defense ... in Fields of Growth or on Fields of Lacrosse


"Despite his massive stature he surprisingly wasn't dominating and was very sensitive to the local environment," Otoa says. "He adapted well to the local environment but did not sacrifice his natural, overly enthusiastic and positive self. Many people here describe him as easy to get along with. "

After a month, it was back to the United States, though he has kept in touch on a regular basis with many of the people he met in Uganda.

Back at Princeton, he was ready to help the lacrosse team turn around last year's 4-8 record. He also found that the beloved wife of his coach was losing her battle with cancer, and that 10-year-old Nick Bates needed people to be there for him.

Wiedmaier, along with several other seniors, helped Nick through that time, before and after Ann Bates passed away on Nov. 30, 2011.

"He's been wonderful with my circumstance," says Chris Bates. "He puts his arm around Nick and takes care of him, and Nick knows he's looking after him. He's a great player, but he's an even better person. I couldn't be more proud of him. He's a member of the team, but he's also a friend, and I have a lot of respect for him."

Princeton has done more than turn around last season's struggles, as the Tigers are 9-3 and have clinched at least as share of the Ivy League championship heading into Saturday night's regular-season finale against Cornell and then the Ivy League and hopefully NCAA tournaments.

Wiedmaier is headed for more individual accomplishments including the likelihood of being the first four-time first-team All-Ivy pick in Princeton history.

His days with lacrosse are not going to be finished when he graduates, or even when his MLL career ends. Wiedmaier's career goal? To be a Division I coach.

That coaching path figures to be much more traditional than the one he found in Uganda.

There are other pictures from Wiedmaier's trip, some that show the construction on the Hopeful School, part of the Princeton Project. One shows him as he celebrates with this joyous team, after they won the first national championship.

There's also one that shows him as he chomps into a sandwich that is dangling from branch, tied to a string. It's a contest, apparently, between him and a young boy, probably to see who can eat the sandwich fasted without using his hands or having it drop.

Behind him, there are only smiles, as a crowd of about 25-30 watches. Someone holds up a really young boy, probably 3 or 4, and he is smiling ear-to-ear. All the way in the back stands a very tall adult, with a smile to match that of the young children.

Next to Wiedmaier, his much smaller opponent looks up at his sandwich on the string and then, beyond that, to Weidmaier. Because of the way he is straining up to get to the bread, Wiedmaier's neck and shoulders bulge out from the blue tank top he wears. He is ripped. To his young opponent, Wiedmaier must look like a giant.

A giant, that is, who made this long trip to his country a trip that almost nobody who has ever attended schools like Princeton or Delbarton ever will - to help in any way he could, and as it turned out, there were all kinds of ways in which he did.

And how is it possible to sum up the impact that he had there? Beyond lacrosse, obviously.

Well, there is this picture, the one with the sandwich game, the one with the young opponent, who is half trying to chomp on the bread and half looking up in awe at the giant, looking at a person who gave so much of himself, all in the name of simply helping out.

That little boy can live to be a hundred years old.

He'll never forget Chad Wiedmaier.



Jerry Price is Associate Director of Athletics and Athletic Communications at Princeton University.

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2012-04-27



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