Teddy's Ballgame: Honorary Buccaneer Making Impact On Men's Lacrosse

You won't see Teddy McGowan's name on a lacrosse box score.  He hasn't scored a goal or dished out an assist.  He hasn't picked up a ground ball, caused a turnover or made a sprawling save in the crease.

No, you won't see Teddy's name on a box score, but after this spring, you undoubtedly won't forget him or the impact he is making on the Massachusetts Maritime men's lacrosse team.

At first meeting, Teddy McGowan is just like any other happy-go-lucky 12-year-old boy.  He lives in Sandwich with his parents, Paul and Becca and his sister, Megan.  He loves sports and potato chips.  He's caught up in March Madness like everyone else, especially his mom, who is a proud Kentucky grad.  He loves to watch his favorites battle it out every week in WWE.

But the battle that Teddy has waged in his young life would make any WWE hero stop and applaud.

At the age of three, Teddy was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disease, an ailment in which the mitochondria of the body cells fail to produce energy for cell or organ function.  As a result of this illness, Teddy has a central line in his chest where he receives his nutrition.  He had to have his colon removed, so he relies on tubes in his stomach and intestines to help with digestion.  Because this disease is a complicated one, Teddy travels quite often from Sandwich up to Boston for treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital and has missed a fair amount of school.  He continues to fight bravely, and in doing so has provided inspiration for his family, his community, and now, his new teammates.

Today, Teddy McGowan became the newest member of the Buccaneer Men's Lacrosse program.  He signed his letter of intent in a special ceremony inside the Clean Harbors Athletic Center surrounded by his mom and dad, his new coach, Rory Deegan and his Massachusetts Maritime teammates, who welcomed him with open arms.  Teddy has all of the Buc gear he will need to dress for success on the sidelines--he even has his own uniform number and locker.  Teddy will be a part of matches, practices and other aspects of the program, and he will be an honorary member of the Buccaneer squad for this season and beyond.

"It's a honor to welcome Teddy to our team," Deegan says of McGowan.  "We're not looking at having Teddy just as a teammate for this season—he is part of our program for the long term.  Every time we take the field, we are playing for him.

"Our program, and our school, is all about community," Deegan continues.  "This is a win-win situation for all of us.  We are playing vicariously through Teddy, and he is a great inspiration."

The bond that Teddy and his teammates are forging is all made possible through Massachusetts Maritime's partnership with Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization based in Quincy that partners with colleges and universities across the region to improve the quality of life for children facing adverse issues and events by establishing and expanding vibrant team-based support networks.  Massachusetts Maritime is now one of 27 institutions in New England that are now part of the Team IMPACT family and stands with such schools as Boston College, Brown, Harvard and Northeastern.

Junior defender Sean Baggett of Braintree is one of four team advocates who have been communicating with Teddy and his family over the past few weeks in anticipation of his arrival.  Baggett, along with fellow junior midfielder Dan Langley of Abington, notes the infectious level of enthusiasm that abounded his team's locker room when Teddy first walked in.

"His enthusiasm is contagious," Baggett says.  "To see how excited he was reminds me of how exciting it is to play this game, and it motivates me to work even harder—you realize very quickly how fortunate you are."

"Teddy is going to push us all a little harder, because he would love to be out there with us," Langley adds.  "We want to succeed for him."

Massachusetts Maritime Director of Athletics Bob Corradi and Head Athletic Trainer Greg Folino played instrumental roles in Teddy's involvement with the men's lacrosse program, but they both doesn't see this as something limited to just the lacrosse field.

"Giving back to our community is something that has been an integral part of our tradition at the Academy, and I can't think of anything better than to have this young man be involved with our student-athletes," Corradi says.  "He is definitely going to teach and reinforce some valuable lessons that will be with them long after they leave here."

"The way that Teddy has been embraced by our student-athletes, coaches and administration reflects the values that are instilled here at the Academy," Folino says.  "He is certainly going to add to, and ultimately expand, those values not just for our lacrosse team, but for all of those who he connects with."

For Paul and Becca McGowan, the opportunity for Teddy to be a part of the team is something they are both excited and grateful for:  "Paul and I and thrilled that Teddy will have the opportunity to be part of the lacrosse team, and we are grateful to both the Academy and Team IMPACT for making this possible," Becca says.  "I'm hoping the guidance and friendship between the team and Teddy lasts a long time."

For more information on Team IMPACT, please visit www.goteamimpact.org.  To follow Teddy's journey with the Buccaneers this spring, please visit www.mmabucs.com/sports/mlax/index.

Click here for Cape Cod Times feature on Teddy McGowan

Click here for Sandwich Enterprise feature on Teddy McGowan 

Click here for Cape Cod Times editorial on Teddy McGowan

Send your best wishes to Teddy and sign his Guestbook!  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/teddymcgowan/guestbook