By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/8/11
La Salle will play DeMatha Catholic (Md.) Friday afternoon (3:00) at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, Md., in the Travis Manion-Brendan Looney Memorial Lacrosse Game to benefit the Travis Manion Foundation and to honor the memory of a friendship between two fallen heroes.
The contest – which can be seen live on La Salle’s streaming site – will be played before Friday’s Division I game between Navy and Maryland at 7 p.m. Proceeds for the Memorial Game go to the Travis Manion Foundation, which was created to remember 1st Lt. Travis Manion, USMC, a 1999 La Salle alum, standout lacrosse player and wrestler, who was killed by a sniper while serving in Iraq on April 29, 2007.
Manion’s best friend, LT (SEAL) Brendan Looney, a DeMatha grad, was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Sept. 25, 2010. Looney and Manion, roommates at the US Naval Academy, were laid to rest side-by-side at Arlington National Cemetery.
Manion starred for La Salle but did not play lacrosse at Navy; instead he excelled as a wrestler. Looney picked up lacrosse while at Navy and became a key midfielder for a team that went to the NCAA semifinals.
“It was an honor to teach and coach Travis,” said La Salle lacrosse coach Bill Leahy. “He embodied the motto, ‘Boys will be boys, but La Salle boys will be gentlemen.’ In the end, he was a true Lasallian hero, and inspiration to all in our community.”
Event organizer Lt. John O’Hara, a company officer who graduated with Manion at La Salle and was a friend to both at the Academy, said a crowd of at least 1,000 is expected. More importantly, the game will serve to help everyone remember two heroes.
“The anticipation for the event has been amazing, and we are expecting (weather dependent) possibly up to 1000 people,” O’Hara said. “Although, I think there is definitely some irony in having the event in the rain.
“Travis and Brendan never wanted to take the easy way out of anything (‘If it was easy, everyone would do it.’) They accepted any challenge and would not tolerate the word can’t.’ They would embrace this rain and not allow it to have any effect on their day.
“The legacy that Travis and Brendan have left at Navy is one that will be spoken about for centuries. I think (Navy) Coach (Richie) Meade said it best when he talked about how Brendan had the potential to be spoken in the same sentence as the greats – Halsey, Patton, or Lejune – only his time was cut short. The same can be said for Travis; the two embodied the Warrior Spirit and lived their lives to the fullest.
“Their time was certainly cut short, but their legacy will not be forgotten, and my hope is that events like this one on Friday will help get the word out to those that were not as fortunate as I was to have been close with these two American heroes.
Both teams have had tough starts, though each plays a strong schedule. La Salle (2-3) dropped its first three games to Episcopal Academy Malvern Prep and Calvert Hall (Md.) and has bounced back with easy wins in the Catholic League over Roman Catholic and Archbishop Carroll.
DeMatha is 2-6 with losses to the likes of D.C. and Maryland powers Gonzaga, Bullis, Paul VI, Landon and St. Mary’s.
Donations to Foundation
All contributions for the event and the foundation are greatly appreciated. Please forward and questions or concerns through the Foundation office (information listed below).
Travis Manion Foundation
PO Box 1485 Doylestown, PA 18901
The Travis Manion Foundation is a 501(c)(3) Organization
Tags: La Salle