Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 5/7/14
The lacrosse game between Upper Darby and Penncrest on Thursday, April 24th was bigger than the teams that played that night.
The game was dedicated to former Upper Darby lacrosse standout Dante DeSimone. Dante was a success story. He was an Upper Darby High School scholar-athlete who was taking his game to the next level by playing at Neumann University, a significant accomplishment given that only one in ten high school lacrosse players makes a college lacrosse roster. Tragically, Dante’s life was cut short when he was accidently struck by a car during winter break. The loss of Dante DeSimone is a loss to the entire lacrosse community.
In his memory, Penncrest Lacrosse honored Dante in its game against Upper Darby. All Penncrest Lacrosse players wore purple and gold shooting shirts – Upper Darby’s colors – with “DeSimone” and his number 21 on them, in warm-ups and under their jerseys during the game.
All players and fans participated in a moving halftime memorial ceremony where Dante’s legacy was honored both in words and in an emotional moment of silence. And, fans participated in a 50/50 raffle in memory of Dante to raise funds to support Upper Darby Lacrosse. Without hesitation, the Upper Darby parent who won the raffle donated his winning share back to the donation fund, raising over $600 for the lacrosse program. The donation check was exchanged by two players who will join together to play at Dante’s school, Neumann University, next year, Penncrest Senior Co-Captain Joe Montgomery and Upper Darby Senior Co-Captain Ramon O’Brien.
Penncrest Booster President Bill O’Donnell had the opportunity to meet with Dante’s father before the game and remarked, “Meeting Dante’s father was truly a humbling experience. His strength and presence is remarkable. It is an honor for Penncrest Lacrosse to recognize Dante’s legacy and helps puts life into perspective.”
Upper Darby Head Lacrosse Coach Warren Danenza added, “As a coach, I have never seen a stronger display of camaraderie, brotherhood, and respect.”
By the end of the game, the score was 12-7 in favor of Penncrest, which ended up winning the Central League title. But all of the players and fans realized that they had been part of something much bigger that night. They had been part of honoring a player who will be remembered long after that high school lacrosse game ended.