Last night I had the honor and pleasure of watching my father, Lou Corsetti, be inducted into the Georgia Lacrosse Hall of Fame Class of 2011. Aristotle once said that “dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them.” I always felt my dad deserved every award he received because he never concerned himself with collecting them but in earning them. I often joke with players and parents that Coach Corsetti is a great man on the lacrosse field, but that I live with him twenty-four seven. That puts me in an interesting position that will hopefully illuminate some of my father’s character to those who only get to see it an hour or two at a time.
As with many memories the difficult and challenging ones stand out the most often. My first challenging lacrosse memory came in the sixth grade at Murphy Candler Park at the original Atlanta Youth Lacrosse. I made a mistake and my coach pulled me off the field. Needless to say I did not find that fair at all. I stomped to the end of the bench, threw my stick onto the ground and parked my rear end on the ground and sulked. For the rest of the game I held my head in my hands until the final horn blew. After the game I stuffed my gear into my bag tossed it into the back seat of the car and sulked once again in the front seat. Then my coach sat down in the driver’s seat and quietly told me, “Gordon, when I pulled you off the field I was going to put you back in again but because you sulked and did not support your team on the bench I decided that you did not deserve the right to step back onto the field. You have to remember that if you play hard you have to support your team hard even if you are pissed off and angry. Do not ever let me see you sulk on the bench again. You can sulk at home but when you are on that field you have a duty to your teammates and this game. Remember that.” Then my coach drove me to get ice cream.
Dancing Coach Lou
If you have not caught on my coach in sixth grade was my dad. I call him coach in that story because at that time he was not my father. He was my coach. Even when I was very young my dad created a clear line between dad and coach. A coach will be mean and uncompromising, but a father can also be mean and uncompromising – but he loves you. All jesting aside, when my dad coached me I thought of him as a coach who happened to be my father not the other way around. Still, when he rightfully chastised my behavior I got a double whammy because both my coach and my father were disappointed in me.
After his little talk my dad never mentioned it again. He waited to see what I would do and did not remind me about how to behave for my next game. I was going to either learn the lesson or not. I am pleased to say that I learned how to be a good teammate in trying times. In fact, I focused on becoming the best teammate all of the time. Ever since that verbal dress down in his truck I never once sulked on the sideline no matter how angry I got. I yelled and screamed from the sidelines but I was always positive, always moving, and always urging my team on.
I recount that story because it highlights the best qualities in my father as coach and a dad. He never lost his temper. He thought carefully about how to teach a player and son a necessary lesson. He did not pressure me to change immediately but probably hoped I would. He put the focus on the team and away from my individual problems. Finally, he taught me that a player must act in a manner that reflects the integrity of the game and behave with excellent sportsmanship at all times.
Dad, I know you are proud of me as your son and I hope you will always be proud of the way I respect the game you taught me. Every good thing that lacrosse gave to me came as a result of that lesson you taught me so many years ago. I became a better player, a better teammate, and a better man because of you.
With Pride and Love.
Gordon James Corsetti