By John Orrell, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – Whether it be on turf with lacrosse or on ice with hockey, Shrewsbury’s Bryan Parsons has been an integral component of his teams’ success both at the high school and college level.
As a blue-liner, he played a contributing role in Shrewsbury High School’s (SHS) 2009 state ice hockey championship as a freshman. Just this season, also on defense, he played a vital role in Becker College’s first ever New England Collegiate Conference Men’s Lacrosse Championship.
But part of his success has been as an individual honor as well, and as quick as Parsons is to extol the virtue and gratification of team concept and winning, he can also be proud of his being 2014-15 NCAA Division III statistical champion for ground balls per game. While that honor may elude some as to its meaning and importance, it is not lost on his teammates and coaches.
Control of ground balls may not be as widely recognized or celebrated as are recorded goals and assists, but in keeping the ball away from the opponent’s offense, it sets up more scoring chances by allowing more possession time. It’s that extra effort that is a quiet reflection of the player’s willingness to do the little things, not always highly noticed, that bring victories.
“Teamwork is so important in sports and I never lose sight of that,” said Parsons. “The teams I have played on would never be successful unless everyone worked together. I love to go out there and shut down the other team and take their key players out of the game. That’s what I enjoy the most. But, I’m pretty proud of this honor too.”
As a junior, Parsons will have another two years in both lacrosse and ice hockey which he values greatly. Juggling academics and sports can be challenging, he admits, but he knows that schoolwork is priority one and being committed to that allows him to play both sports.
Parsons became introduced to lacrosse at age 10 when his dad and others began a youth program in Shrewsbury. The program emphasized fundamentals and fun, two key components for any youth sports program to be successful. From there, he moved on and improved through hard work and determination.
Parsons made the SHS varsity lacrosse team as a sophomore and was handed a “long pole”, the main tool of choice to be used on defense. At that stage of his high school career he knew he would be counted on to contribute and did just that.