The third and fourth grade Penobscot Bay Lacrosse Club team first took to the field two weeks ago at the Twin Brooks complex in Cumberland. They were quickly flattened and then ground to a fine paste. It was the first real game any of them had ever played.

That first outing followed just one practice, where they worked on the basic mechanics of catching and throwing with a lacrosse stick. They didn’t have time to learn subtleties, like where midis can roam, or how out of bounds works. The first game they were ground to a fine paste. The second game was a total shutout, but it looked a little less like a mugging than the first game. The learning had started.

The after-game smiles told the story that the scores did not, that for this Penobscot Bay team lacrosse is fun.

These teams are the feeder teams for the Camden Hills High School lacrosse program. They didn’t exist until two years ago when Chock Griebel’s dream reached escape velocity and he put his blueprint to work, introducing young kids to a sport he played in high school and college.

Fast forward to the following week in Brunswick. Into the crucible of the first two defeats Coach Mike Taylor threw in two intense practices that asked a simple question: “Fellas, there is only one ball out there on the field. Who wants it more, you or the other guys?”

The Pen Bay that took to the field against Fryeburg was a different team than we saw in Cumberland the previous week.

They scored first with a blazing and decisive thing from Clark Gleasner’s stick. Fryeburg countered with a goal tying the score. Ian Sullivan made the final and winning goal by dogged determination. The ball didn’t go in the first time, so Ian worked the rebound until it rolled into the Fryeburg net.

Penobscot Bay was a team transformed. Fifteen minutes later, the players took new energy to the Brunswick team.

The kids didn’t seem to care that Brunswick outnumbered them by about three to one. From the sideline it really looked hopeless. Picture a marathon runner competing against a relay team who runs a mile before substituting a fresh runner.

One of the Pen Bay parents nervously laughed saying Brunswick looked like the Roman army. I countered with something clever about Rome’s fall, but it lacked conviction. But the kids focused, not on the number of the other teams, but on that one ball and who wanted it more.

In the end, Penobscot Bay beat Brunswick 7 to 5. We had slain a giant.

Charlie Griebel and Clark Gleasner both had hat-tricks against Brunswick. Kieran Mcgrath also scored. And none of them could have been accomplished without the solid support of their teammates, both offensive and defensive.

The team, in only two short weeks and a couple of practices under Coach Mike’s guidance, had gone from bumbling to beautiful… albeit, a gritty lacrosse kind of beauty. The players  worked together, calling to each other, moving the ball with precision and teamwork and huge determination even as they ran past tired into a new kind of fatigue, Penobscot Bay came up with the bursts that got them to the ball first, with the gumption that dug the ball out of throngs of opponents, to pass it clear to a teammate.

As I write, Coach Mike has them practicing the fine points of using your feet as well as your stick.

He’s yelling, “Kick the ball! No raking!”

Coach Mike has them on the fast track. He’s given them a taste of the game. They are hungry for the next match in Freeport. I can’t wait.

Interested in playing lacrosse. Visit, and join, Penobscot Bay Youth Lacrosse!