The Wall

Antony Tsakos, Reporter

Wantagh has always had a prestigious lacrosse program. With numerous County and Conference titles, our program has had many great players come through it. Many may wonder how, in a little town like Wantagh, we’ve been able to develop so many great players. 

I am Antony Tsakos, a Long Island University lacrosse commit and a senior here at Wantagh High School. Oddly, something that is very close to my heart (and could be meaningless to others) that helped shape generations of lacrosse players is the wall behind Mandalay Elementary School. This wall is loved by many of the talented lacrosse athletes who have come through Wantagh’s lacrosse program. While most people don’t see anything in a large brick wall in the back of an elementary school, others view it as something that built their career. 

 This wall isn’t just an ordinary wall—it’s more than that, not only to me, but to other lacrosse players. Danny Fisenne, a senior here at Wantagh and an Adelphi lacrosse commit, claims that the wall was a resource he took full advantage of, spending hundreds of hours there working to get better at his craft. According to Danny, “It’s where it all started. Having gone to elementary school there, I was always close to the wall.”  He stated,  “The wall helped me get so much better at lacrosse. It helped me develop my throwing and catching ability with both hands. It helped me achieve my dream of playing college lacrosse.” 

Not only has the wall helped people’s dreams come true, it has been a financial resource.  Dylan Beckwith, who graduated from Wantagh in 2016, is a very accomplished lacrosse player who played  Division I at Fairfield where he is a top five scorer in their history. Dylan said, “The wall made me get 1% better every day. It made me become the lacrosse player I am today. I got so much better and barely had to pay for college, which helped out my family financially by a landslide.” Dylan would always work his hardest to be the best.  “I remember going there in the winter wearing five layers of clothes and doing 1,000 reps of each hand, freezing cold, not only for myself, but for my family,” said Dylan. Dylan would persevere through the bitter cold of winter to get better at lacrosse which ultimately lessened the financial burden for his family.

I, on the other hand, love the wall for other reasons. Most people go there to play lacrosse as I do, but I have a very emotional attachment to it.  I live down the block and have been walking there every day since fourth grade. The wall is my escape from reality. It’s somewhere where I can just be by myself and believe in my own thoughts. It is somewhere I go for my mental health. With everything going on in my life, I always find myself at the wall  repeatedly throwing the ball up against it. The repetition brings me comfort. I use the wall as a coping method for my own well-being.The wall helped me achieve my dreams of playing Division I lacrosse, as I am going to be pursuing my academic and athletic career at LIU. 

It may just look like a wall, but Mandalay’s back brick wall has shaped a generation of lacrosse players’ lives. Sometimes it is the simple things that help people pursue their dreams and fulfill their goals.