By Betsy Tanenbaum
With dirt on his face and a ripped pair of sweats, the usual outcome of Sunday morning touch football with the boys, Dan Doreste has always enjoyed mixing it up on the athletic field. Though football and soccer would have satisfied his love for competition and contact, Dan was looking for something different, something that he could call his own. It wasn’t until he first blasted a ball out of an unfamiliar stick that he realized lacrosse would become his passion in life.
Doreste, a sophomore, began his involvement in lacrosse in the second grade when he first picked up a lacrosse stick. His love only grew when he started to mimic the stick work of his older siblings. “Not only was it evident from the beginning that Dan could easily master the skills that Eric and I showed him, but also it was clear that he had a great passion for the sport,” recalls his sister Alex.
Throughout his elementary and middle school years, Dan’s participation in youth training clinics and teams, along with his determination and competitive spirit, helped build the foundation of lacrosse skills that have come to the attention of his high school coaches and the travel coach of the Long Island Outlaws.
As lacrosse is a game that requires the ability to use both hands, it is not uncommon to find Dan practicing long hours in his backyard, mastering techniques most high school players are not committed to learn. “I always make it a priority to practice with my left hand because I know that’s my weakness,” Dan said.
According to Dan’s mother, “one of his most admired features is his determination and resolve to excel.” On a typical weekend, Dan can be found at home in his backyard cradling a ball in his stick, while keeping his eyes on targets that he strategically places in his lacrosse net. “Practice makes perfect,” Dan explained. As he focuses on his body movements, he envisions an opposing goalie attempting to prevent him from scoring. This scenario is repeated over and over as Dan realizes that only with practice will he be able to achieve his ultimate goals: mastering his left hand and being the best offensive player he can be on the field.
Dan’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. His teammate sophomore Jarett Greben said, “Dan’s hard work and tremendous effort off the field have made him a better player and reveal that what you put in, you get out.”
His parents, however, remain his top supporters. Their presence at his home and away games is something that Dan greatly appreciates and serves as a continued source of motivation to perform well. “Whether I have a good or a bad game, my parents’ honest comments are the ones that are most meaningful,” Dan said.
What continues to drive Dan’s yearlong efforts to improve is his hope to gain the attention of college coaches, particularly at a Division I or II school.
Though Dan realizes that earning a spot on a college lacrosse roster is difficult, his hopes have been raised by the interest of a Midwest school that invited him to participate in a weekend recruitment clinic. “I just focused on not messing up,” Dan said.
Among a group of high school juniors and seniors, he was the only sophomore present. As a result of his energy and confidence, “Dan was recognized as one of the better players on the field” by an attending college coach that said he “will likely be on our recruitment roster for 2015.”
This recognition has not given Dan a false set of security. He knows that anything could happen over the next two years. In his father’s eyes, “Dan is doing what he loves to do and hopes that his efforts will not only help him reach his sports dreams, but allow him to be successful in life.”
Dan Doreste focuses during an intense Lacrosse game Reproduced with Permission of Dan Doreste