By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
Needham native Danny Jacobs was living the dream: a senior lacrosse player at Middlebury College in Vermont preparing to cap off his athletic and academic career this spring.
Nicknamed “Diesel” by teammates, the 5’10,” 175-Ib attack-man out of Nobles was set to pop off in 2020 as the Panthers looked to compete for the NESCAC title and earn a spot in the NCAA DIII Tournament. Through three games, Jacobs recorded 11 goals and a pair of assists as Middlebury began the season 3-0.
Suddenly, on March 10, daily life as we all knew it changed. Just hours before the start of Middlebury’s home contest against Plattsburgh, Middlebury and the NESCAC announced the cancellation of the remainder of the 2020 spring athletic season due to the outbreak of COVID-19. All athletic events scheduled for March 10 were to go on as scheduled, but that would be it. Danny Jacobs and his fellow senior counterparts at Middlebury were about to play their final college lacrosse game.
“That final game against Plattsburgh is probably my most memorable lacrosse experience,” said Jacobs when asked about the events that transpired that day. “It was incredible. Unfortunately, just hours before the game, we found out our season was going to be suspended indefinitely and that this was the last game — it was devastating. But our coaches told us to play with as much joy and passion and love as we possibly could; and we did.”
The result? A resounding 30-8 victory in front of a packed house that featured four goals and an assist from Jacobs. Despite this obviously being an extremely sad way to have your career come to an end, Jacobs says the moment was bittersweet, thanks to the incredible support he and his teammates received from their peers and that he will always remember that day.
“Our coach played all the seniors basically the whole game, so it was really special to be able to share the field with my classmates for one last time,” said Jacobs. “What we didn’t realize was how many people were going to attend the game. The stands were filled with students chanting and holding signs, and that support meant the world to us. We also scored 30 goals, which made it a whole lot better.”
Since having his lacrosse season and senior year at Middlebury end abruptly, Jacobs has moved back home to Needham, where he intends to work full time once the stay-at-home order is lifted. Jacobs says he is not sure of whether or not he will try to play somewhere as a grad student. However, Jacobs says he does intend to find a way to continue to play the sport he loves with his fellow alums this summer.
“I’m not really sure how I plan to move forward with my lacrosse career,” said Jacobs. “There are opportunities to play in grad school, and our coach has been very willing to reach out to schools and help make arrangements. But like many others, I’ve made plans to work a full-time job next year and that’s my plan for now. Nonetheless, I’ve certainly been thinking about how I’ll continue playing. I know Middlebury lacrosse alums play in a tournament every summer, which would be an awesome way to get back together and back on the field.”
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as game highlights, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.