The Midland boys' lacrosse team may not have had the chance to score any goals on the field this spring, but it still scored some major points in good citizenship.
Several members of the cooperative team, which consists of athletes from Dow High and Midland High, spent the latter part of last week helping with flood relief on a variety of levels — and earning high praise in the process.
"We've gotten many contributions from the community to help with our lacrosse league, and so they (our players) were more than willing to give back all that they can. I truly appreciate their help, because I was running out of gas (from volunteering in the flood relief efforts)," said Bob Costly, a member of the Great Lakes Bay Veterans Coalition and assistant coach for Midland varsity boys' lacrosse.
" ... When we reached out to them, those boys were there in no time. ... And the kids never stopped. They loaded trucks and unloaded them. They just jumped right in," Costly added, noting with a chuckle, "I'm coming back from shoulder surgery, and I had to be careful, but the kids knew that, and they took care of me like their dad or their grandpa. ... They worked their hearts out for me."
Costly was quick to add that members of both Midland High and Dow High's football teams also volunteered their time, as did members of the schools' girls' soccer, volleyball, and pom-pon teams.
The student-athletes began by helping load and unload supplies for the Midland County Humane Society animal shelter and for food banks around town. Later, when the opportunity arose to help flood victims clean out their basements, the lacrosse team and other student-athletes jumped at the chance.
"The boys never hesitated. I kind of looked around at their faces to see what their response would be, and they were like, 'Yeah, no problem. Is that OK, coach?' They actually asked for approval," Costly said with another chuckle. "We had them check with their parents, and then ... they jumped right in and never stopped. They were right there the whole time for a couple of days. ... It was definitely rewarding."
According to Costly, some combination of his players helped out around the community last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. He noted that lacrosse players Ryan Kreusch and Chase Mahabir volunteered their time all three days, while Cal Stearns and Mason Reed were both also heavily involved.
"Ryan and Chase started the first day and were there the whole time for three days," he said of Kreusch and Mahabir. "I didn't have to ask them, and I didn't have to beg. They were just there."
Kreusch, a senior at Midland High whose home escaped flooding, said his conscience would not have allowed him to avoid helping out in some way.
"People are going through a pretty hard time right now, and people are losing everything — losing their homes, losing their memories — and it would've felt wrong to not go out and try to help people," he said.
Kreusch said that he and his teammates were ready and willing to take on "whatever jobs needed to be done," even if that meant more than a little heavy lifting.
"You can't underestimate how heavy a futon is when it's full of water," he noted with a chuckle.
Kreusch and his teammates devised a plan which enabled them to get to houses that needed the most help. They printed flyers and distributed them throughout neighborhoods on the north side of town, asking residents who needed help to text their phones. From there, they put together a list of addresses and went to work.
"It was really nice to do something with the guys and to see everyone again — to see the coaches volunteering at the (animal) shelter and to be able to drive around with buddies. It was good to see everyone again," said Kreusch, who, like so many other spring sports athletes, was not able to play his senior season due to the coronavirus crisis.
Kreusch drew a parallel between what the senior class of 2020 and flood victims have experienced this spring, noting that "losing things sucks."
"We lost the senior season that we'd been training for for four years. That was taken away from us," he said. "That's not on the same level (as being a flood victim), but you can kind of relate to people who have had their houses flooded. ... Whether you lose your sports season or have damage to your home, it sucks to lose something you hold dearly."
Being able to help others who have had a tough spring was "rewarding," Kreusch said.
"There's not anything anyone can do for us athletes to get our senior season back," he noted. "But we can do so much to help people who had damage to their homes."