No Quit for Big Green Senior: With Football Career Done, Defender Gives Lacrosse a Try
Dartmouth College lacrosse defenseman Teddy Reed watches his team battle Colgate on Feb. 23. Reed, a senior who was a high school standout in the sport, played four years of football at Dartmouth and was a second-team All-Ivy defensive lineman last fall. He has lost 50 pounds and returned to lacrosse action this spring as a Big Green reserve.
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Dartmouth defenseman Teddy Reed changed his workout regimen to play lacrosse this spring. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — Eliminate regret. It’s one of the favorite sayings of Dartmouth College men’s lacrosse coach Andy Towers, and Teddy Reed is epitomizing it this spring as a Big Green defenseman.
A Massachusetts native set to graduate with a history degree in June, Reed earned second team All-Ivy honors on the football field last fall as a defensive end. While many of his classmates have chosen to downshift during their senior spring, however, Reed stepped up his intensity, losing roughly 40 pounds in less than three months so he’d be nimble enough for lacrosse.
“I’d like to be laying out on the Green, but the lacrosse season isn’t the entire spring, and I’ve always wanted to play Division I lacrosse,” said Reed, whose team hosts No. 9 Princeton tomorrow. “You have your entire life to hang out and drink beer, but I’m only a college student for another couple of months, so I figured if I could play on another team it would be pretty cool.”
Reed’s father captained the Tufts University squash squad and one of his grandfathers and an uncle attended Dartmouth. A couple of his other uncles were college sports standouts and one was drafted in baseball by the New York Mets. So the ethos involved in playing multiple sports is a family trait. It’s doubtful, however, that Reed’s relatives had to show the same degree of discipline he displayed between fall and winter terms.
While others were stuffing themselves with food and laying on the couch, Reed was exercising feverishly while wearing a sweat suit. He began the football season at a rather swollen 285 pounds and lost perhaps 10 pounds during the fall campaign, but there was still no way he could expect to keep up with smaller, more agile attackmen in lacrosse at that weight.
So he ate a lot less and worked out a lot more.
“I had been in Dallas last summer, eating a lot of beef brisket, so just cutting my diet back helped a lot,” the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Reed said with a chuckle. “I stopped eating the plates of cheese my mom would offer me when I was at home and cut way back on carbohydrates. The weight I’ve lost is equal to a small child.”
Building cardiovascular endurance was another challenge. Football involves short bursts of high-contact action separated by standing around and panting. Lacrosse calls for even its bigger participants to withstand lengthy mixtures of sprinting, jogging, bodychecking and thinking. January, when the Dartmouth players worked individually with Towers and his staff, and February, when tryouts and practices began, were not easy on Reed’s body.
“The workouts kicked my butt at first but they burned a lot of calories,” he said. “There was a mental aspect to it as well, having to learn the defense. I worked on my stickhandling by throwing and catching against a wall at home, and by the time practices started, I was pretty confident I would put up a good showing.”
Towers cut a half-dozen players, but kept big No. 3. A reserve whose lone start coincided with one of Dartmouth’s two victories this season, Reed isn’t going to be matched up against the fastest opponents, but he’s a load for a crease attackman to handle and when he has the chance to unload on someone, the results are often spectacular.
“He’s knocked some people out in practice and he gives you that element that not a lot of teams have,” Towers said. “He’s quick and he’s tough and you can’t coach his size. He’s really exceeded all expectations.”
Said Reed: “A big guy in lacrosse is only about 205 pounds, so when I get to hit someone here, they definitely feel it.”
Defensive coordinator Tim McIntee was a football and lacrosse standout at C.W. Post on New York’s Long Island during the 1980s, and has always had a soft spot for athletes who embrace those two sports. He said he’s gotten not just a big body, but an analytical mind in Reed.
“He’s cerebral, and while he might make the mistake the first time, he won’t make it again,” McIntee said. “He’s a step behind the other guys who are pure starters, but he’s our fifth guy on the defense and his stickwork is actually very good for someone who hadn’t played in years.
“I think it’s great for us to have a dual-sport athlete and he brings great locker room pizzazz and leadership.”
Reed hails from Boxford, Mass., about 25 miles north of Boston. He began playing lacrosse during eighth grade, but initially committed to play football at Northeastern University before breaking that agreement and attending Deerfield Academy in the northwest corner of his home state. There, Reed pondered trying to play lacrosse in college, but once Dartmouth football came calling, he switched back to that sport.
“It’s been interesting to go from starting every game in football for three years to not seeing much time in lacrosse,” said Reed, who hopes to land a job in New York City’s commercial real estate industry. “It’s definitely a different dynamic and it’s been humbling to be just kind of another guy, but it’s motivated me to work harder to try and get out there.
“A teacher told me one time that you only have a few years of your life to play sports. This has been an awesome experience.”
Tris Wykes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3227.