Life in the fast lane of professional lacrosse
BY SEAN BRAY Sports Editor South Glengarry’s Jacob Ruest, who grew up playing minor lacrosse in Cornwall, is now competing in the pro ranks, as a member of the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League.
The 25-year-old forward is in his second year with the team, which is currently competing in league playoffs.
Ruest, who checks in at 5 ft. 10 in., 185 lb., has 103 career regular-season points with the Mammoth, through 36 games.
In one playoff game to date, this spring, he notched two goals and three assists, though Colorado lost 15-12 to the Calgary Roughnecks.
For his development in the sport, Ruest credits early coaches Perry Blanchard and Rick Fillion, as well as his father, Jack Ruest.
After his minor days, he joined the junior ‘ B’ Celtics, before moving up to the junior ‘A’ ranks with the Burlington Chiefs.
At the same time, he was introduced to the field version of the game, while a student at The Hill Academy, in Vaughan, where he spent his Grade 12 and 13 years.
Ruest subsequently received a scholarship to play Division 1 lacrosse at Robert Morris University, in Pennsylvania.
He was initiated into the NLL when Calgary drafted him, but was then released during training camp, before signing during the summer of 2016 with the Colorado club.
On his two years playing pro, Ruest says he’s enjoyed the entire experience, from the travel across North America, to the friendships he’s made, to the knowledge of the sport he has gained. In terms of his goals in the sport, he tells
that he strives to improve each and every game that he’s on the floor.
“I know mistakes will be made, I've seen it in my first year and continue to see it throughout my career, it is inevitable. However, learning from those mistakes and ensuring they won't repeat themselves allow me to be prepared for the next task. In doing so, I hope to establish myself in the league and enjoy a successful career in the NLL.”
One of the challenges of playoff professional lacrosse, unlike the big pro sports such as hockey and baseball, is that lacrosse athletes need to have other jobs to survive. In the case of the Mammoth, only about half of the team lives in the Denver area; the rest commute.
Ruest says that a couple of the most popular jobs for players are teachers and firefighters.
In his case, he is a graduate student at the University of Ottawa, where he is working towards a Master’s degree in sports management.
So what would he advise to young athletes considering the sport?
“My advice would be to play! I found there were no better ways to spend a summer than with 20 of my best friends. Lacrosse is more than often a secondary sport to young athletes. This makes lacrosse unique. Sometimes a youngster’s primary sport can be all-consuming. Lacrosse can be the escape or reason to prevent staleness, all while maintaining physical activity levels and teaching core values such as discipline, commitment, and teamwork.”
Fans of box lacrosse can follow our regional team, the Cornwall junior ‘C’ Celtics, which are currently playing there summer 2018 season in the OJCLL.
Next home game, at Cornwall’s multi-sport complex, is scheduled for Saturday, May 26, at 2 p.m.