Inspired by Memory
'All Lacrosse the Ages' for Kevin Reichardt
by Kristin Hagert
Adrenaline pumps through my sprinting legs, forcing me to ignore the aching of every step. The heat beats down, and beads of sweat collect above my brow. The familiar churning sensation in the pit of my stomach starts to settle as nervousness and fatigue complement one another. Contradicting thoughts of thirst, determination, anger and giving up swirl through my mind. But one image outweighs the mental and physical struggles of preseason lacrosse training: the picture of family friend, fellow athlete and role model Kevin Reichardt. With just a thought of Kevin, I dig down deep to grab the last bit of energy left in me to finish the next sprint.
An aspiring scholar-athlete, playing soccer, basketball and lacrosse, I was envious of Kevin's personality and determination and driven to be just like him. At 20 years old, however, Kevin was killed in a random shooting in Chapel Hill, where he attended the University of North Carolina.
With both public and private education, beautiful parents and the best of friends, I thought I was untouchable. With Kevin's sudden death in 1995, my sheltered world was jolted by harsh reality.
Kevin's death changed the lives of everyone who knew him. Although his life was cut short, his excellence academically, his accomplishments on the lacrosse field and his warm interaction with people of all ages lives on and inspires me.
As it inspires all the 480 boys and men, girls and women who will play in Kevin's memory in this year's All Lacrosse the Ages. The Reichardt Foundation intends to score a Guinness World Record for the "Most Players in a Lacrosse Game." Thunderstorms last year cut short the foundation's first try, as players were unable to complete the 12-hour game requirement. The Reichardt Foundation is hoping for sun and success this year, executive director Shelley Collinsworth says.
Kevin played lacrosse because he loved life and loved the sport. I remember Kevin as the boy next door before he became a scholar-athlete at UNC. He and my brother played on the Davidsonville Gators Little League teams my father coached. Kevin would come over for rides to practice, pat me on the head and joke with me. Even then, I looked up to this tall, lanky boy who never made me feel like the little sister that I was.
Kevin's example has inspired me to pursue my own college lacrosse career - despite frequent thirst, anger and desire to give up. All Lacrosse the Ages helps others to do the same. All proceeds from the day go to the Kevin Reichardt Scholar-Athlete Championship Fund that awards scholarships to student-athletes who exemplify Kevin's leadership on and off the field.
The theme for my Loyola College lacrosse team this year was, "How would you play today if you could not play tomorrow?" Years ago that question would have had no effect on me. Today, I ask myself that question every time I step onto the playing field.
How would you play today if you could not play tomorrow? Those who love sports know that you give 110% every time you step onto the field. Kevin cannot play tomorrow. Knowing this motivates me to give everything I have -- not only for me but also for him.
Last year Kevin's spirit motivated 193 players, who ranged in age from six to 46. Each year, all players are welcome, as are watchers. Admission is free and the St. Mary's Athletic Association will be on site with food and drink. Free educational clinics are held throughout the day by former college all-stars. The Scholarship Fund will also announce this year's recipients in closing ceremonies.
All Lacrosse the Ages runs from 8am to 10pm Sat. June 19 at Anne Arundel Community College. Each player will be required by Guinness to play at least 60 minutes, so registration will end at 240 players for both the male and female games. $20 fee includes T-shirt and certificate. Call ahead or register the morning of play with the Reichardt Foundation: 410/741-0381 or 800/515-8752.
| Issue 24 |
Volume VII Number 24
June 17-23, 1999
New Bay Times
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