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Beyond The Turf: The Importance Of A Friendship On And Off The Field

For seniors Kyle Bacon and Tim Schof, playing lacrosse at SUNY Oswego was more than just the game, it was an extension of a lifelong friendship.

Tim Schof, who is now the captain of the Oswego lacrosse team said he and Bacon, both from Montgomery, NY started playing lacrosse together when they were children. This was the start of their friendship and close bond. 

“I started playing in 5th grade,” said Schof. “Kyle [Bacon] had already been on the youth team because his dad was the coach, and that’s how we became friends…we used to get rides together on the way to practice.”

Kyle Bacon, 1st on the left – Tim Schof, 3rd from the right – pictured from their highschool days at Pine Bush.

Friendship has been important to Bacon and Schof and is the basis for their positive experience with lacrosse throughout their lives. 

“We connected right away when we first met as kids, and that translated to the field right after,” said Bacon.“Tim [Schof] always knew where I was on the field.”

They played lacrosse together all throughout high school at Pine Bush, in Montgomery NY, and continued to grow together as players and individuals. 

Schof said throughout the years he recognized and was inspired by Bacon’s strong work ethic, how hard he plays on the field, and his integrity as a player. 

“My favorite thing about Kyle is how honest he is,” said Schof. “He always tells it exactly how it is even when the truth hurts.”

Bacon said the reason he chose Oswego was because of Schof, knowing that he was also choosing Oswego to play lacrosse was a motivating factor for him. They ended up being roommates during their four years at Oswego.

Throughout their time playing lacrosse in high school and Oswego was an opportunity for Bacon and Schof to make discoveries about themselves as well as share similar experiences. 

“Everything that I went through with lacrosse, Kyle went through too,” said Schof. “Every step of the way it was always us going through the ups and downs together.” 

Both Schof and Bacon made it to playoffs in highschool, as well as leading their team to SUNYACS last year. These were two significant events for them as athletes that they were able to experience together.

“Helping to secure our team’s spot in the SUNYAC tournament last year was amazing, because this  was the first time in a long time that this has happened for the team,” said Bacon. “This was an awesome experience for me and Tim.”

When Schof was asked his favorite memory playing with Bacon, he mentioned their first playoff game from high school.

“Our first playoff game I had broken the points record for a single game in the playoffs for our school. The next game Kyle beat my record. We were happy we won the game, as well as both our individual accomplishments.”

During this time, both Schof and Bacon have grown as individuals, as athletes, as well as building their friendship. 

Schof believes that during his experience playing lacrosse at Oswego it has taught him that building strong friendships with his teammates both on and off the field has helped him change his priorities as well as build character. 

“I’m not the type of person that I used to be in high school,” said Schof. “I was always the person who wanted to score more points and get the most assists out of everybody. When I came to college I learned that it’s not that important, and that individuals accomplishments aren’t as important as being a team player.”

Bacon contributes his learning experience to understanding the meaning of brotherhood and respect towards teammates. 

“This can be applied to life as well I believe, and is very important to learn,” said Bacon.

Both Schof and Bacon couldn’t stress enough the importance of friendship. Building relationships with their teammates both on and off the field is something that has made a valuable impact on their experience playing at Oswego.

“To play with all my friends and meet everybody and make all the friendships on the team, that was definitely the best part,” said Schof.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately their final season and senior year was cut short, just as their season was in full force.

“Hearing this news was super upsetting. With everything going on we knew something was up but we didn’t expect this to happen,” said Schof.

Schof says he remembers when the team heard the news, that they were in major shock and couldn’t believe the words they were hearing.

Jeff Dangler, a junior on the team said the news was extremely hard to hear, but he couldn’t imagine being a senior and going through this.

“It is hard enough for your season to get cut short as an athlete on the team,” said Dangler “But for the seniors, I can’t imagine how hard this is for them…it’s really too bad.”

During this tough time, the athletes were able to get through this as a team. Bacon was able to keep himself busy academically to get him through this tough time as well as lean on his teammates for support, especially Schof. 

“I was able to stay positive by spending whatever time I had left with my friends and teammates the best that I could and just enjoy each other’s company,” said Bacon. “Especially me and Tim, we’ve gone through so much together we were able to understand exactly what eachother was going through.”

Both Schof and Bacon are able to lean on each other during this unfortunate time as a support system. Besides their studies, they continue to workout and train in spite of their season being cancelled which has helped them stay positive and active.

“Just being able to actually talk about what we are going through, and how we feel about [the season getting cut short]…and really just being there for each other, it really helps us get through everything, as well as continuing to be active and practice together,” said Schof.

Though the season might have ended early, the friendships on the team will remain. Bacon says he learned that in life there are obstacles you must overcome, and the only way to get through the adversity is move forward, and not look back. 

“I have learned many things from lacrosse, but one that sticks out is the meaning of friendship and respect towards my teammates. This transfers to life as well I believe,” said Bacon. 

Both Bacon and Schof graduate this year. Bacon plans to become a firefighter in the FDNY (New York City) or a police officer in the state of New York. Schof applied for the Orange County Sheriff’s department as well as the FDNY EMS. 

There is a chance both Bacon and Schof may end up working together, therefore their dedication, teamwork and communication they have learned on the field will help them in their future endeavours, and will carry on in their friendship that is sure to endure. 

Bacon (left) and Schof (right) at their high school graduation at Pine Bush.

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