DOVER, Del. - Jim Reynolds was sweating as he returned to the press box on Saturday evening after running up and down the bleachers at Drass Field handing out game programs for the fifth game of the day. The 13th Annual Dave Reynolds Lacrosse Festival was winding down, and so was Jim.
He and his wife Jo Ann had worked tirelessly the past two days to ensure that the Festival ran smoothly, and he was finally about to catch a short breather in the press box. "We work non-stop on the days of the Festival," said Jim, "but it's worth it when you see how appreciative everyone is. We try to make it a special event for everyone and it is."
The Reynolds' have spent the past 13 years holding the Dave Reynolds Lacrosse Festival at Wesley College, working with Athletic Director Mike Drass and the Wesley Athletic Department to organize and run the event in the Wolverines' stadium. "Coach Drass has been wonderful working with us over the years helping to organize the event," said Reynolds.
Dave Reynolds was a pioneer of lacrosse in Delaware. He attended Caesar Rodney High School in the 90's and led the Riders to a Delaware State Championship. He went on to coach at Saint Mark's High School in Wilmington, Del. before being hired in the winter of 2003 as the Wesley College Men's Lacrosse Head Coach. A few months later, Reynolds suffered a tragic swimming accident and passed away. In the spring of 2004, Jim and Jo Ann began an endowment in his name and established the Dave Reynolds Lacrosse Festival as a fundraiser for the scholarships being given, and as a way for the Delaware lacrosse community to join in a celebration of Dave's life and love of lacrosse. In the twelve years previous, Jim and Jo Ann have raised over $20,000 in scholarship funds in their son's name.
"It's a special weekend for us," said Jim Reynolds, "People understand what it's about. We think about Dave everyday, but we set this up to honor him. This is his legacy."
Games in this year's Festival included participants from Saint Mark's, Caesar Rodney, Worcester Prep, Salesianum, as well as the Camden Mid-State and Dorchester Youth Lacrosse Teams. The tournament included great competition and a lot of emotion. Dave Reynolds had connections throughout the Delaware lacrosse community. You couldn't walk ten feet without bumping into someone who had known Dave, played with Dave, or had been coached by Dave. His brother mark even coaches the Saint Mark's boys team.
"The people that attend this event have a connection with Dave," said Jim. "They want to be a part of this festival, not only because it's a first-class event but because Dave gave so much to the sport. I think that coming back and playing in this event is their way of honoring him for his contribution to the sport."
When Jim and Jo Ann returned home to rest after their big weekend running so many lacrosse games at the Festival, they finally had a chance to open the card that they received from the Caesar Rodney girls' varsity team. One of the notes from the players stuck in the minds of Jim and Jo Ann: "We opened the card and read a note from one of the players that said, 'This tournament has started my love for lacrosse,' That really captures what this event means to us and what we hope it means to everyone else that attends."
The card made the Reynolds' smile. Somewhere Dave was probably smiling too.