STANDISH — Babies have replaced the lacrosse sticks they once carried in their hands. Life is no longer the game they once knew while waiting to become adults.

Twenty-four girls played for Flossie Smith’s lacrosse team at Bonny Eagle High in 2000. They won the state championship. They formed bonds that since have become virtually unbreakable.

Ten years later, all but one responded to Brook Bowley after she sent out messages through the Internet.

What’s happened since we were teammates? Can you make it to Sunday’s Great Scot Trot 5K?

The race celebrates the lives of Smith and Faith Littlefield, the school’s longtime field hockey coach. Each was an assistant coach for the other. Each impacted the lives of their players in ways that can be measured. All of the 22 teammates who got back to Bowley entered college.

Twenty have received degrees and two are working to earn their final credits.

One is working toward her doctorate in communication arts. A few are teachers. Six are coaching lacrosse or field hockey. One is an attorney, another a hospital administrator. A couple are in marketing. A few are in nursing and one served a tour of duty in Iraq in 2008. Many are scattered across the country.

“My most cherished memories of high school are playing on the state championship lacrosse team, hands down,” wrote Jessica Verostick, who went to Simmons College for a bachelor’s in pyschology and continued on to the University of Southern Maine for a second degree in nursing. She’s now a critical care transport nurse for Boston MedFlight.

“Faith was always asking us what our goals were after high school,” said Shanna Fuller, another Simmons graduate, who is director of marketing for a Boston-area bank. “When I was a freshman, I heard her asking the seniors. the time I was a senior, I knew I better have an answer.”

The fact virtually all the players from that team went on to college, graduated and have jobs in their fields is astonishing.

Fuller was one of 11 teammates who came back for the race which, incidentally, was won by Louie Luchini, the former Ellsworth High and Stanford star.

Older brother Joey, now a teacher at Bonny Eagle, was the race director. Proceeds from the race go to the scholarship fund in the names of Smith and Littlefield.

The two coaches were the best of odd couples. Married and the mother of three, Smith was the passionate caregiver. She was a master tactician in lacrosse.

Littlefield could intimidate anyone within the sound of her voice — her own players or opponents and, sometimes, opposing coaches. Single, she smoked cigarettes and favored an occasional cigar. Players tended to walk on the other side of a school corridor if they saw Littlefield approaching.

When players admitted repeating mistakes, Littlefield shook them off. “You’re not sorry, you’re dumb,” recalled Loren Bowley Dow while her sister, Brook, and Fuller and Courtney Boardman Reeves nodded in agreement.

“Then you’d find out she bought sneakers for the girls in gym class who didn’t have a pair,” said Dow, a University of Maine graduate and an English teacher and field hockey coach. “She’d buy roses at graduation for the girls who didn’t have any.”

When Smith lost her hair to her cancer treatment, she promised her players she’d throw her wig if they won the big game. Her humor and grace helped her players come to terms with her breast cancer.

Littlefield promised she’d do a bear roll, which prompted some funny imagery. The game won, Littlefield dropped to the ground to perform the roll. It was hilarious.

As other runners milled around the Bonny Eagle High lobby, Flossie’s Ladies and Faith’s Babies told more stories and stood their ground. Ten years have not dulled memories. They can hear Smith in one ear and Littlefield in the other.

Brook Bowley, a criminal justice major at Salve Regina University, listens. She had the highest save percentage in Division III during her career playing goaltender in lacrosse.

She left work Thursday night at Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland and drove to a cemetery in Wells to “pay my respects” to Littlefield. It was near midnight and a Wells policeman discovered her. Can’t be in the cemetery at this hour, he told Bowley.

He’ll be hearing from Littlefield. You can be sure of that.

 

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

[email protected]