Posted Tuesday, August 29, 2006 by .
Brothers in arms: Dooleys find bond in lacrosse
By RODERICK BOONE
THE JOURNAL NEWS
The ball was being fired back and forth on the sidelines at Mahopac High School, the three brothers taking turns whipping it back to one another.
Brian Dooley and two of his younger brothers 2 Scott and Tommy 2 were preparing for a rare moment, one they had been looking forward to all summer. Given their age differences, the three lacrosse lovers never really have the pleasure of playing as teammates.
But on this night, the Yorktown natives were about to play for Thirsty Turtle in the Sound Shore Lacrosse League's "A" championship game.
"We don't get the opportunity too many times to all be on the same field at the same time," said Scott, 26. "So this summer was really fun, especially at the end when we got to play on the field together."
So there the three were, minus 25-year-old brother Todd, the fourth member of the Dooley clan, who decided to trade in his lacrosse stick for another piece of equipment: a bowling ball. It was almost as if the three were in their old backyard around the corner from the legendary Charlie Murphy's house, strutting their stuff once again.
"There is nothing like it," said Brian, who celebrated his 28th birthday yesterday.
There's also nothing like the way Brian, Scott and Tommy are leaving their mark on lacrosse.
Brian, with Scott as his assistant coach, has turned Rye into one of the best Class C programs in Section 1. Better yet, the town itself is slowly beginning to adopt the sport.
When Brian, who played collegiately at SUNY Oneonta, first arrived on the scene in 2004, there was no youth program at all. In his second season, the youth program blossomed somewhat and had about 100 individuals. Now, it's exploded to about 300, a sure sign the seeds are being sewn like they were in Yorktown decades ago.
"When we are driving around town," Scott said, "and see younger kids walking around with lacrosse sticks, that makes us very happy and excited that the town is not only a football town, but is becoming a lacrosse town now. Kids in the second and third grade are starting to show some interest. It's very exciting, and we are definitely proud of the job so far that we have done."
Especially considering Brian says he just stumbled upon the job. After his graduation from Oneonta, he became an assistant lacrosse coach at Somers in 2002 and stayed there until he was handed the reins at Rye.
"It was more like just dumb luck," Brian said. "It is funny how it all works out. I had no intention of leaving Somers. I was just a 25-year-old kid who enjoyed coaching and not really anticipating a head-coaching job would come up at that age."
But it did, and he was glad to bring Scott on board. And it's not like Scott doesn't have the credentials. After finishing his college career at Hofstra in 2002, he was drafted by the New Jersey Pride of Major League Lacrosse and played four seasons for them. This summer, Scott suited up for the Chicago Machine.
And he wouldn't trade it for anything. He's still living out the dream of playing at the ultimate level of his favorite sport, something just about any serious athletes aspires to do.
"It was just a great experience because you get the chance to play with the best competition around," Scott said. "I had a chance to play against a lot of guys I played in college with and against. It was a lot of fun to see the familiar faces and to be playing at such a high level."
That's something Tommy, 19, hopes he'll be able to say one day. He's already following in Scott's footsteps somewhat by playing for Hofstra. Currently, he's carrying the Dooley name, still writing his own script.
After a slow transition from the high school game to the more up-tempo, fast-paced style of a Division I college program, he began to become a force for Hofstra. As a freshman, Tommy played in all 19 of Hofstra's games, starting 18. He was the team's third-leading scorer with 51 points, scoring 38 goals and racking up 13 assists.
Tommy patterns his style after Brian and Scott, and no wonder. They knew how to fill up the net, too 2 and still do.
"I play my own game, but saying that, it's like playing their game also," Tommy said. "They taught me just about everything I know. I see my game though Brian and Scott. I see different traits in them that they handed down to me."
Todd is the only one of the quartet who's heart doesn't yearn for a daily lacrosse fix. He works for the Yorktown Parks and Recreation Department, but that's just his day job.
For him, it's all about throwing that heavy ball down the lanes and knocking down pins. Ever since his freshman year at Yorktown, Todd has put lacrosse on the shelf. He found out that running up and down the field just wasn't for him.
Now he plays in two winter leagues, sports a 210 average, and has a high game of 289. He's thinking about trying out for the PBA one day.
"I just love bowling, you know?" he said. "I got into bowling and that's what stuck."
However, that doesn't mean he has a distaste for sitting in the stands and watching his siblings put a few moves on unassuming defenders.
"I love going to their games and watching them," Todd said. "That's real fun."
As was the experience of Brian, Scott and Tommy playing together on the same team, trying to win a championship together, trying to create a memory that would last through their entire lives.
"I think as we get older, we realize the significance of it more," Tommy said. "It's pretty special to be able to share one of our favorite things in the world with each other."