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STEADY GOING: Drake Porter built himself into SU’s third goalie in three years

first_img Comments Drake Porter’s stickwork was off. He angled himself poorly in net. His clearing ability, the trait Syracuse head coach John Desko would later deem a differentiator for goalies, was a bit behind. Yet, Edge Lacrosse, a club team program in Toronto which cut Porter seven summers ago, formulated a plan to keep him.Alan Tsang, Edge’s program director, offered Porter a training spot on the roster. He viewed Porter as a “project” who couldn’t start in his first season. Tsang recognized Porter’s talent, so, instead, Porter led Edge’s secondary squad. In his third campaign, Porter ascended to the starting role. Potential equated to expectation, and the lesson in patience worked. In 2019, Syracuse is hoping it works again.This past fall, after sitting for two years, Porter’s status as starting goalie was “temporary,” Desko said. Months of first-team reps did nothing to separate the junior from the pack. On Jan. 9, Desko wouldn’t name a clear front-runner. If Porter’s quick hands and ball-stopping ability carried him to SU, his intensity did, too. In high school, he talked to himself during games, asking “What are you doing?” to no apparent answer. He’d yell “Let’s go!” in big moments and scream at his teammates in others. To become the third starting goalie in three years for the No. 10 Orange, he needed to find the balance between both. Desko’s comments didn’t change the plan. The same one set in motion when Porter was 4 years old. The same one that’s supposed to end with Porter standing in the net for SU’s first faceoff.“I don’t want to build it up too much in my head,” Porter said. “I’m doing what I do. I love playing lacrosse every day. The difference is, I get to play on Saturdays now.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder text,Porter started the process at age four when he followed his brother, Chris, to practices. At Markham Thunder Peanut Lacrosse, based out of a Toronto suburb, he indoctrinated himself while surprising his dad, Dave, who had picked up a stick just twice before his sons started playing. Friday nights were soon spent at Toronto Rock’s, a National Lacrosse League team, home games.While in a United States hotel for Chris’ travel hockey team, Porter flicked on ESPNU and saw a regular season Syracuse matchup. Porter was glued. He searched YouTube videos of then-SU goalkeeper John Galloway — the last Syracuse goalkeeper to win a national title — and mimicked his play.Porter and Chris exchanged tips through text as Porter fed into his new passion, eventually identifying Edge Lacrosse as the next step in his development. It didn’t matter that Edge held practices an hour away.“You’re either gonna like having balls shot at your head or not,” Dave said. “Strangely, (Porter) seemed to really like it. He took it from there.”While growing up, Porter played a variety of sports including hockey and football. His emotions flowed through each team and practice. Porter said he carried the same mindset through every game: The next one will be the best. At times, it fueled him to play better, but for some, his intensity hindered progress.Individual sports hurt the most, and the isolation of a golf tee box brought the same pressure as a goalie net. Porter said he’d smack the pipes or his own head in response to letting in goals. It seemed, Dave said, that Porter usually snapped out of it 24 hours following the contest. Though, it eventually returned when Porter played on “weaker teams,” Dave said — or ones that led to Porter facing more doorstep shots.Coaches wanted Porter to channel his competitiveness. It appealed to some, like Tsang, who identified it in the Edge tryouts. Coaches wanted Porter to recognize “tomorrow was another day.” But tomorrow led to the next game. Losing the provincial championship in his junior year of high school, after “riding an emotional high,” triggered a phone call with his brother.“There was a turning point where I realized we were losing the game and that sort of just,” Porter said recently before pausing, “it really dragged me down.”,Porter focused on his breathing to calm down. In lieu of screaming at his defense for missed assignments, he emphasized proactive communication. He developed relationships with the instructors that helped him the most, like Greg Reid, the varsity coach at St. Andrews (Ontario) College. Reid even cut Porter from a recreation-league team years earlier when Porter was “overconfident” and slacked through tryouts. But Reid specifically demanded personal growth as Porter’s recruiting profile grew, with no exceptions. Porter soon drew offers from elite high school programs in the U.S. and Canada.He wanted to stay in Canada, but Dave was told that D-I colleges preferred U.S. goalies. Porter eventually transferred to IMG Academy (Florida) for his senior year.Through Edge Lacrosse, Major League Lacrosse veteran Dillon Ward connected with Porter for summer sessions and became Porter’s first goalie mentor. He taught Porter what YouTube videos couldn’t, starting with the importance of angles. Before Porter walked onto Syracuse’s campus for his freshman year, he traveled to Orangeville, Ontario, Ward’s hometown, and studied goalie techniques on the field that Ward grew up playing on near Tony Rose Memorial Sports Centre.Porter entered the fall as one of four goalies on the SU roster, yet he didn’t redshirt because he competed to be then-starter Evan Molloy’s backup. He appeared in one game his freshman season — tallying two saves against Cornell on April 11, 2017 — and impressed another backup, leading eventual-starter Dom Madonna to turn to a teammate and say, “Wow, this kid really does step it up in big games.”Madonna had noticed Porter’s talent in practice, when the latter was on scout teams. He also realized Porter’s persistent fire that sparked in fall ball and caused Porter to text Ward for advice. But Madonna reached out to Porter. He said he went through similar struggles in high school. The two confided in between drills, sometimes offering a pat on the shoulder after a string of tough shots. Throughout last season, with Porter listed as the backup, Madonna emphasized communication with the backline.Porter’s focus turned to 2019 as the prior season ended and Madonna graduated. After the fall, Desko called Porter into his office. Porter still wasn’t told he’d be the starter. He wouldn’t hear that until six days before SU’s season-opener against Colgate. But, Desko said, Porter had done enough to keep his post atop the Orange’s depth chart. As he walked outside, Porter called his brother and celebrated before quickly remembering the unfulfilled goal. For just a moment, Porter saw the bigger picture. And the plan seemed to be working. Cover photo by TJ Shaw | Staff Photographer Published on February 8, 2019 at 9:59 am Contact Nick: nialvare@syr.edu | @nick_a_alvarez,Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.last_img read more

A tribute for the late Dr Cheddi Jagan

first_imgBy Rev Gideon CecilA great soul was born on Guyana’s soil,From parents who lived in poverty tears and toil.His path was rough from his birth to his death,Where he lived and died for his nation in no regret. He struggled for all Guyanese to be free,In sweat and tears he fought for our liberty.For us to always remember the Father of our Nation,He fought for one and all without discrimination.  If we will understand our hero Cheddi Jagan,And give each other love and a helping hand.We will live as one people and one nation,With the same destiny for our souls to be free.Let’s remember our liberator and mourn together this day, And join our hearts together to sing and pray.For us to remember he was a man of patience,He ruled our nation with a clear conscience.If we will comprehend this great son of our soil,And emulate his vision to walk an extra mile.We will build a bridge over hate, greed, and war,And live in love to reach heaven’s twinkle stars. O great soul of my country; you came and went away!For this nation to think of your great name and pray.In the ages to come your words shall be our song,For us to remember you for our souls to be strong.You left this nation to mourn and weep for you,And my soul to think of you in everything I do.O what manner of faith you possessed for 28 years!When you struggled for my nation in blood and tears.Your name will be a light in every Guyanese heart,And your words of wisdom shall never depart.Your face we will remember as a smiling rose, And your immortal words even though your eyesare closed.May you be like a Lincoln, Gandhi, and Nehru?As a true statesman in everything you do.So long as history lives, your name will live,As the Father of my blessed country Guyana.You liberated a nation for a new nation to be born,For us to remember Cheddi Jagan as a noble soul reborn.last_img read more

Vocal coach helps ordinary folks unleash musical talent

first_imgBefore she lived in Sherman Oaks and taught regular people how to turn themselves over to a piece of music, Morrow was a Broadway star. She opened for Buddy Hackett. She worked on TV. And before that, she was just a kid going to Catholic school in Des Moines, Iowa, with a couple of opera singers for parents and a flair for drama. “I grew up thinking that everyone in the world could sing,” she said. And, as anyone who’s spent time in karaoke bars or has an overly enthusiastic neighbor can attest, that’s not true. Morrow wasn’t really thinking of that when she was on Broadway, though. Leading lady She started performing 47 years ago, playing Helen of Troy and singing classic leading-lady-character roles. For years, she sang her heart out to crowds and loved it. But the roles only keep coming for so long, and the outlets shrank by the year. The Catskills resorts stopped booking shows. TV variety shows died. Theaters closed. But people still loved to sing and Morrow thought she could put her skills to use. In the early ’90s, she began teaching classes for regular, everyday folks. She didn’t see it as vocal coaching but a sort of therapy to bring out performers hidden within housewives and mild-mannered salesmen. “If I’d had a teacher like me, I probably would have been a big star,” she said, laughing. “People feel important and powerful when they let go. There’s a dropping of the guard. … It’s a yearning for people to be accepted as they are, not who you think they are.” So she offered classes in musical theater at UCLA, then smaller sessions on nights and weekends. Instead of fooling with students’ tone or rehearsing them through scales, she had them tackle the underlying emotions of a piece. They brought in classic literature and applied it to contemporary songs. They carried props and interpreted tunes as the punch lines to jokes. For a recent assignment, they used advertising copy to introduce material, leading to some surprisingly soulful takes on dating services and erectile dysfunction. “It was hard for me at first because with my ego, I thought I was going to train them to win Tony Awards and thank me from the stage,” she said. “But that wasn’t happening. They started telling me, `Wow, I got a call back from the Downey Community Theatre for `Once Upon a Mattress’ or, `I’m singing at a senior center.”‘ And Morrow began to recognize that was perfectly fine. For many of her students, a gig like that meant just as much. Or making the church choir. Or performing at a friend’s birthday party. Heart of the matter Standing before a piano, bringing life to an old Rodgers and Hammerstein tune, they had that same vitality she’d seen so many times in the old days. “Lots of people focus on the technique, but Karen makes you find what the song really means,” said Don Paris of West Hills. “I was singing big once and she said, `OK, that was fine, but sing it back to me like I’m a homeless person.’ And it was much better.” Paris was a music major in his college days but never had a chance to pursue it, settling into a comfortable life as a pharmaceutical sales executive. When he retired and took up music as a hobby again, he went to Morrow. She improved his phrasing and confidence and he made the church choir. Now he’s developed a one-man show based on what he learned in her classes and sings for seniors clubs. And that has become a measure of success for Morrow. She’s not getting rich on the classes, but she makes a comfortable-enough living and keeps herself occupied creatively. “There’s no one there who’s doing this for a living,” she said. “There’s a housewife; the editor of a race car magazine; Big Tall Bob, who’s a masseur; and Chuck, who sells fabrics and sews. “A lot of them sang in school and didn’t think they were good enough to be a professional. I’ve made music safe for them again.” Safe for the doctor of physical therapy with the charming accent. Safe for the publicist who sings of hot flashes and middle-age passion. Safe for a guy named Miguel Vargas, who shows up for class in gym shorts and a T-shirt, then lets loose with a professional-quality rendition of “A Bit of Earth” that leaves the other students floored. “Oh, my God, you did a whole 180 on that,” Morrow gushes. “Beautiful. Have you been coached by someone?” He shrugs sheepishly, embarrassed at the praise. “No,” he says. “I’ve just been listening to you.” brent.hopkins@dailynews.com (818) 713-3738 If you go WHAT: Karen Morrow’s 2007 Master’s Showcase. WHEN: Friday and Saturday; dinner begins at 7 p.m., show starts at 9 p.m. WHERE: Gardenia Restaurant and Lounge, 7066 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood. COST: $12. For more information, call (323) 467-7444.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! McVey sits down, closes his eyes and begins to see, playing away at his phantom instrument. His voice begins to gain strength. “Drop that jaw!” Morrow interrupts. “Lose the L!” And McVey, who’s normally a bookkeeper at a children’s center, is flying. His voice leaps forth. Morrow grins slyly. Her technique is unusual but gets results. McVey coasts through the rest of the song, triumphant. He’s only been studying under Morrow for a few months, years removed from the singing he did back in college, but he’s noticed a dramatic change in his voice – it really sounds like his voice. “She makes people more themselves,” he said. “Once you can go into yourself and let it go, it’s very free. It’s like running and getting your second wind. You just lose yourself in the song.” Her ear cocked to the side, Karen Morrow frowns as she hones in on the notes spilling from Daniel McVey’s mouth. Her student is doing a very credible “Lazy Afternoon,” polishing the show tune for her upcoming exposition this weekend at the Gardenia in Hollywood, but Morrow, a classic Broadway belter, isn’t satisfied. She thinks for a moment as the last bars echo away. He stands patiently and then, she’s got it. “Now sing this like you’re playing a cello,” she says, making a broad sawing motion with one arm, resting the other near her clavicle. “It’s resting there and you’re warming your chest.” last_img