May 23, 2013
BALTIMORE - Loyola University Maryland men’s lacrosse player Jason Crane has been named the 2013 male recipient of the Yeardley Reynolds Love Unsung Hero Award, the One Love Foundation announced today.
Crane joins the University of North Carolina’s Zoe Skinner, the female award winner, as this year’s honorees. Now in its third year, the award celebrates selfless acts of initiative and commitment performed by Division I lacrosse players. The duo are being awarded based on their exceptional dedication, integrity, humility, hard work, community service, leadership, kindness and sportsmanship, traits Love exemplified on-and-off the field.
In January, Crane organized a trip to Newtown, Conn., with teammates to put on a lacrosse clinic for youth players in the town affected by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Crane gathered many of his teammates, and they departed Maryland, or their homes as it was during Christmas break. A total of 14 Greyhounds gathered in Newtown to lead a clinic in the town where 26 adults and children were killed just weeks before.
Crane reached out to Jim Wallace, the Coach Training Coordinator for the Newtown Lacrosse Association, and Wallace invited the Greyhounds to lead the clinic. The clinic drew more than 100 Newtown youth players, ranging from third through eighth grades, despite the fact that Crane and the Greyhounds put their plans together in less than a week prior to coming. At the clinic, the Greyhounds taught lacrosse skills and team play, as well as interacted with the kids on the field.
“In recruiting, it is hard to measure the intangibles of a player, but we recognize that we hit a home run athletically and intangibly,” Loyola Head Coach Charley Toomey said. “The initiative and leadership skills that Jason showed in organizing this were incredible, especially considering he was only a freshman at the time. The relationships we have developed with the families from Newtown are ones that we will continue to hold close for years to come.”
Wallace added, “Jason knew that words were not enough, and he took action. His action brought smiles and laughter to our community; I can't begin to tell you the importance of that. Jason and his teammates didn't just run a lacrosse clinic, they brought hope to our community. He is the kind of student-athlete that you want your child to look up to and to emulate. We will always be thankful to Jason for what he did for our community during our darkest hour. Jason has shown us that good can come out of tragedy, and what great people do without being called upon to help: to take matters into their own hands to provide comfort. He has inspired us to find the good, to remember that people care and that there is good in this world.”
Since then, Crane and many of the players kept in regular correspondence with the Newtown youth, and more than 100 residents of the town attended Loyola’s April 13 game against the University of Denver at Ridley Athletic Complex where they took in a tour of the facility, watched the game and then played on the field with the team after the game.
“Jason's compassion and enthusiasm to help those around him truly embodies the shared memories of Yeardley and she how gave herself to others without asking for anything in return,” said Jeff Tousignant, Newtown Youth Lacrosse’s president. “His offer to help our community and rally the support of his fellow teammates to visit our children in their darkest moment brought smiles to their faces and those of their families; it helped put laughter back in their voices. It is something our children and parents will never forget. I could think of no finer person to receive this wonderful award.”
Sharon Robinson, Love’s cousin and a member of the award’s selection committee added, "We are so impressed with both Zoe and Jason and are proud to celebrate the positive influences that each of them had on their teams and on the community at large. Like Yeardley, they both epitomize the goodness in collegiate athletics which is sometimes overlooked in our society. They are amazing student-athletes and we salute them for their humble leadership.”
As a freshman long-stick midfielder, Crane played in 12 games this season, picking up five ground balls and causing a turnover.
The winners were chosen from a pool of applicants nominated by either a coach or person associated with Division I lacrosse programs throughout the United States. The award’s selection committee highlighted 10 finalists (five women, five men) earlier this month and then chose the winners to announce leading up to the culmination of the NCAA lacrosse season.
Each winner will receive a silver bowl recognizing their accomplishment, and a $250 donation will be made in their name to a charity of their choice.