Lacrosse sidelines left far behind Athlete: With little playing experience, Rick Guinto, 55, scored a goal in a tournament last weekend.

Fitness Profile

July 26, 1998|By Nancy Menefee Jackson | Nancy Menefee Jackson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Rick Guinto manned the lacrosse sidelines for many years.

He coached in the North Carroll County rec program for four years and since 1994 has videotaped games for Goucher College, where his son Keith, now 23, played and still holds the record for all-time leading scorer.

And all of that time, he dreamed of playing.

Last weekend, at the age of 55, Guinto played in the International Federation of Lacrosse World Games here in Baltimore. He proudly wore the stars and stripes of the Old Glory team in the Grand Masters tournament for players 45 and older.

An older player isn't so odd, but an older player who never played lacrosse in high school, college or club is unusual. And an older player who never played and who scored seven goals and three assists in his first six weeks of pickup games is highly unusual.

Guinto had started throwing the ball around when he was 45. At 49, when his son was playing in summer leagues in high school, he would occasionally step into a game, just one or two games a year. The coaches would tell him to just stay behind the other players.

So when Bob Tarring, assistant lacrosse coach at Goucher, urged him to try out for the World Games team this year, Guinto told him, "You've got to be kidding. There's no way."

Still, he applied, and to his surprise, made a team. But it wasn't Tarring's team, and he had a burst of self-doubt about playing with people he didn't know. Tarring traded a player for him, and Guinto found himself playing midfield - the toughest position - on Old Glory.

Upshot: Old Glory won the Grand Masters championship, and Guinto scored a goal in the third game, against England. "It was the greatest thrill of my life," he says.

Guinto was served well by his speed and endurance, developed because he loves to run to release tension. Three days a week, he runs two miles. He also occasionally lifts free weights, doing a couple of sets with 50 pounds, and does sit-ups, just enough to loosen up. And of course, he practices the lacrosse drills, concentrating on scooping with two hands.

He is weak on his left side, and so he bounces a ball off a wall to practice catching on the left side and does line drills with the team.

As he prepared for the World Games, Guinto, a broadcast engineer for an advertising agency, said to himself, 'You're always dreaming, but it's never happening. Now it's happening."

When this season is over, Guinto would like to go back to coaching, this time with a new perspective. "Now I know how the kids feel," he says.

Pub Date: 7/26/98

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