Perseverance centers a life of meaning. People with Parkinson’s know that well.
What follows is perseverance in a different realm, a gifted young athlete’s hard-fought journey to the top of his sport, lacrosse. The athlete is our youngest son, Jonathan (“JT”) Thelen, #8.
It rained sporadically Saturday night at Mustang Stadium, home of the Stevenson University lacrosse program. The place: Owings Mills, MD, a northwest exurb of Baltimore.
JT likes rain with his lacrosse, the more and the better. He’s been that way since he started playing at age 10.
It’s Stevenson against Widener (Chester, PA) for the MAC Commonwealth Championship. Winner receives an automatic bid to the NCAA D-III championship playoffs.
Also at stake is #8 JT– MAC Offensive Player of the Year—rematched against Widener’s #41, John Ferguson– MAC DefensivePlayer of the Year.
This game is for revenge — Stevenson’s for the physical pummeling it took from Widener a week earlier. Stevenson overcame a four-goal deficit to edge Widener, 11-10 in the final regular season game for each.
Widener is by reputation aggressive, very aggressive. They were in the week-earlier game. The refs stood by as Widener’s defense repeatedly pole-axed Stevenson attackers, hitting them in the helmet and driving them to the turf.
Nonetheless, JT had 4 goals, 1 assist.
This night, Stevenson’s blew Widener’s doors off. At half, Stevenson 6, Widener 0.
JT, #8, had 3 goals after 30 minutes. The game ended 12-6 with #8 accounting for 5 goals and 1assist.
The outplayed Widener #41 ended his game ignominiously. He was ejected for unsportsman-like conduct in the final period.
JT finished with 95 points for the season to date, a conference high and second most ever by a player in the storied Stevenson lacrosse program.
JT is gifted at lacrosse. Academics come hard.
He struggles with ADHD.
He has worked very hard at lacrosse to become the player he is today: commanding on field; graceful and spontaneously creative; uncanny in his full field of vision; a great passer who assists teammates make goals.
Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene refers to JT “doing his thing,” sometimes with a note of criticism for his risk-taking style of play.
JT’s “thing” has propelled Stevenson to a 12-6 record, after starting 0-5 against a killer’s row of opponents and season loss of two-thirds of the first defensive line.
Jonathan (JT) Thelen preservers with a huge heart and complete commitment to his teammates.
His mother and I could not be any prouder of his achievements than we are today.