Even as he neared the nation’s all-time wins record of 747, West Genesee lacrosse coach Mike Messere remained grounded.
“I don’t see myself as a legend,” he recently told the Eagle Observer. “I guess I’m just fortunate everything has fallen into place.”
His is the kind of humble grace parents can only hope their kids will take away from the field after playing for Messere’s team, and his humility is impressive given the legacy he will leave behind — his name will surely ring in the minds of lacrosse players and fans of the sport long after he coaches his last game.
Which brings us to our next point.
Messere won’t have to have a field named after him for his name to be remembered, but that doesn’t change how we feel — that the field where he’s coached for the last 37 years should bear his name.
He’s put his heart and soul into West Genesee lacrosse, and in the process has done more than just coach young athletes to victory — he’s taken them in like family, and helped prepare them for life after high school.
For all these reasons, the West Genesee Board of Education should revisit Policy 1540, a policy put in place in spring 2009 that restricts the district from naming any building, field or area after an individual. More than 1,000 community members have expressed their desire, in writing, to have the field named after Messere, yet the current policy prevents this from happening.
This past winter, the school board voted 5-4 not to revisit the policy.
We understand it could be a slippery slope — that there are only so many fields, courts and academic buildings, compared to a much higher number of people who make their mark on the school district daily. But the people have spoken, and their message is clear: Mike Messere’s name should be etched not only in the community’s memory, but in its lacrosse field as well.
Adding a simple clause to Policy 1540 allowing for an exception to the rule on a case-by-case basis could do the trick.