Rick "Tuggy" Passfield Tournament - recap, thoughts, etc.by By A.P. McKay (reposted by Ron Pallister) (Premier Login olaf_admin)
By Andrew "A.P." McKay
Sunday, August 26, 2007
A couple of people asked me to write a little something on the Tuggy tournament this weekend. I didn’t think a scores and games recap was really appropriate, so instead, here’s a jumble of thoughts I put together when I got home Sunday night.
It was somewhat fitting that my drive home from the inaugural Tuggy tournament took me along the Highway of Heroes, with thousands of people standing on overpasses through Oshawa, Whitby and Ajax, waiting to pay tribute to Canada’s latest fallen soldiers. They smiled and waved, firefighters stood atop their trucks, sirens flashed along the highway, for miles. After this weekend, I think I understand.
The first annual Rick “Tuggy” Passfield Memorial Field Lacrosse Tournament for U-16s went off this weekend without a hitch. That doesn’t however, mean nothing went wrong; the first barbecue didn’t work, the ridiculous weather on Saturday forced the shutdown of two fields,the P.A. guy who seemed incapable of actually pronouncing a name correctly, one untrained timekeeper* either let guys out of penalties too early or made them stay too late, etc.
But really, none of that mattered. I don’t mean in a “big picture” kind of way, either. Anything that went wrong was quickly shaken off, and I’m not being melodramatic when I say there was a spirit of “get ‘er done” throughout the event that you normally don’t see…well, anywhere. When the fields were closed, everyone buckled down, moved to the last available field, and just played longer. When the barbecue didn’t work, they got another one. When the timekeeper screwed up, teams laughed it off. When the P.A. guy mangled names, we laughed at that too.
The tournament itself had its share of highlights – Oshawa 1’s last second (literally – the Blue Knights scored with 1 second left) win over Halton Hills in the A semifinal stands out the most for me – but the bigger impact was the stature the event gained in a short period of time. The tournament program tells a fair chunk of that story: letters of recognition from the Ontario premier, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Mayor of Oshawa, the Durham Regional Chair, the Oshawa Hospital Foundation, and the president of the OLA, as well as a formal recognition of Saturday, August 25th as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Awareness Day in memory of Tuggy, by the City of Oshawa. The tournament raised over $10,000 for the Oshawa Hospital Foundation that will go towards purchasing an echocardiogram machine that will help diagnose conditions like HCM.
I can’t imagine the amount of work Joel Johnson, Linda Hurren, and everyone else had to put in long beforehand to get this thing off the ground, but they really did do a great job, and I was glad that Joel got a chance to get back from Owen Sound in time to see the final day and experience it all. It was equally impressive to see Team Alberta and a team from Pennsylvania come up to participate, not to mention the Iroquois and Akwesasne teams, to go along with Halton Hills and the strong Durham representation. As the clock ticked down on the final game, one of the officials noted that it was somewhat fitting that the inaugural winners of the A and B championships were Oshawa 1 and Oshawa 2, respectively – the same program Tuggy played for starting at age 10.
I think the officials summed up everything that was great about the event. They donated their time (which was estimated to be almost $3000 in fees normally), but it wasn’t a hodge-podge crew. Some well-known names, including Jim Price, Jon Watson and Bill Fox, joined an incredible crew of probably the most professional officials I’ve ever come across. More importantly, they treated the tournament with respect and helped give it the feel of a high-level tournament. I really can’t say enough about what an absolute pleasure it was to watch those guys work these games.
After the medals and trophies had been handed out, one moment stood fresh in the minds of many at the event. It happened late in the ‘B’ final. Jordan Passfield, Tuggy’s little brother, was sent on by his teammates with a short stick, after playing pole all weekend. Alas, the ball went the other way. So Jordan chased it down, came up with the ground ball, and took off up the field. Met just past midfield by a couple of Clarington defenders, Jordan tried to charge through, then jumped a bit, and flopped over them, into a full-out barrel roll – and held on to the ball. He got up, ran again, passed it off, and got an assist on Oshawa’s last goal. But what made it better, at least for me, was that Sheila Passfield, Jordan and Tuggy’s mother, was standing right on the sidelines, ready to hand out the medals. Anyone who knows Sheila would have loved the look on her face, watching her son run around with reckless abandon, pulling off the one play that got everybody off their feet and talking about it hours later.
I wanted to end with a little bit about Sheila. I haven’t seen Sheila smile this much in a long time, watching all of these teams play, watching a fantastic tournament named after her son, and really being a part of a lacrosse community that cares so much about her and her family. I think, this weekend, she was proud of everything Tuggy was able to do. So many of the people he played with came out to play again, or coach, or help out, or watch. So many others chipped in with donations, auction items, etc. And in the end, it was because of Tuggy that the tournament raised enough money to meet its goal, and take a step in helping Durham-area youths avoid the same tragedy that befell Tuggy.
For the people who lined Highway 401 on Sunday night, the significance lied not in their intent, but in their willingness to make an active statement. That was the same feeling I got all weekend in Oshawa: that regardless of their reasons, their relationships with Tuggy or the sport in general, all these people – players, coaches, sponsors, officials, volunteers, parents, fans – took a step above “remembering”, and stepped up to do something small to help out. It’s been said that small actions yield great results, and I think probably everyone who participated in the tournament feels like their participation, however small, helped Tuggy do something great yet again.
"If that’s the lasting legacy of this tournament, you couldn’t ask for much more."
From Ron Pallister: God bless you Tuggy, Jordan, Sheila, Andrew, all their relatives and friends, the officials, volunteers and players who participated in this great event - the first of many I trust.
Posts from the unofficialola Fan Forum
People only die when they are forgotten.
Tuggy still lives.
Nicely done Andrew
by Ron Messer
Thanks Andrew that was a great piece. It was a lot of fun. As I said in my bit at the dinner Saturday night, the lacrosse family is unique, I examined my list of friends and acquaintences, they almost all come from the "family". My buddy Linda did all that work from her heart, as did all the volunteers, she never stopped all weekend. As this tourney hopefully grows over the years, it could well become the highlight of the Field lacrosse season.
by Ron Pallister
Andrew, this post touched my heart.
The feeling you have now is similar to how I feel when donations are made to the CBCF in my wife Brenda's memory.
It's this kind of support that is generated by "the greatest people on Earth", the lacrosse "family" that makes all the work more than worth while.
Thank you/Nya Weh to the lacrosse community/family.
by Sheila Passfield
Thank you for the wonderful "recap" ... Your words captured our weekend beautifully.
I cannot fully express my gratitude to the amazing group of people that made the idea of a Charity Tournament become a reality - it appears we may have reached our fundraising goal and more importantly, we have had an opportunity to share information about HCM ...
The planning for next year will be underway soon --- I hope to see everyone again ... A heartfelt THANK YOU to EVERYONE that attended, participated, volunteered ( I could go on and on and on ....) --- it means so much to know that Rick is still remembered and that those that did not know him get a chance to know of him ... He was part of an incredible lacrosse community of brothers ... no matter what color the jersey !! Your kind support proved the strength of that brotherhood over the weekend.
Thank you so much for all your hospitality, letting others into your family's hearts, it was such a great weekend, it makes a person sit back and say wow, this person that none of us (from Akwesasne) knew must have been someone really caring and giving to have such great people looking out for him and never forgetting someone that can still help put smiles on peoples faces.
Even with the rain, imagine the skill levels of those kids enjoying the greatest game on earth, the love of the game of those boys and the love of knowing they too are now part of something special.
You can bet one thing "TUGGY" your new found friends in Akwesasne will be back next year and for many to come as you and your family plus the numerous friends that helped make this weekend a special part of our lacrosse lives.
Thank you or the memories and great lacrosse weekend, that is what lacrosse is all about.