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nondescript building near campus. Assistant coach Ron Caputo arranged for trays of Italian food for the players, staff and two special guest speakers: Captain Jamie Sands, a former Navy SEAL Team commander, and Colonel Ron Clark, a 26-year Army veteran. Both men were studying in a public policy and counterterrorism fellowship program at Duke. Danowski met them and asked them to speak to the team about their battlefield experiences and how they could relate to organizational effectiveness, how groups get better or worse, but they don’t stay the same.


For the defending national champions, it was a timely message.


It was for Carroll, too. “Like Casey,” Clark said, “I’m an Army Ranger.” Clark drew a direct parallel between lacrosse and the military. “Everybody knows what a size of a platoon is, right? It’s about the size of your team, 35-40 dudes,” he said. “You know why platoons are that size, why lacrosse teams are that size? Since the days of the cavemen, men in groups of 35-40 will band together. How many dudes does it take to fight off a woolly mammoth or to


54 LACROSSE MAGAZINE April 2014>>


fight off another tribe? How many dudes can you have assemble and still know what each other are thinking? You get a group that is larger than that, you no longer have the familiarity. That’s why the platoon is the basic element within a fighting formation.”


Carroll spent about 45 minutes afterward listening to and sharing stories with Clark, Sands and the Duke coaching staff before sneaking home for 30 minutes prior to another team meeting on campus. The players ran this meeting. The senior class, of which Carroll is a unique, respected and accepted member, spoke about what playing at Koskinen meant to them and how to protect the home turf. As with any group of college students, there were jokes and hijinks. But when Carroll spoke, a hush came over the room. “He demands that,” Lobb said. “He’s really what Duke lacrosse is, a guy who believes in right and wrong and lives life the right way.” Carroll spoke in a laidback


tone.


“The fact that I’m standing here right now, and there are 500 other Duke lacrosse alumni who would kill to be in my shoes, says it


all,” he said. “It’s the coolest thing you’re going to do, until maybe you have kids, or something like that.” Laughter echoed in the


room.


At about 10 p.m., John Danowski’s college roommate, Arthur Diamond, a judge in the Nassau County (N.Y.) Supreme Court, and Carroll stood in the hallway of the team building and talked about Carroll’s plans to close on a house, the mortgage that comes with it and a sales and trading job with Wells Fargo that he will start this July in Charlotte. Professional lacrosse with Major League Lacrosse’s Charlotte Hounds also could be an option.


GAMEDAY FELT NOSTALGIC.


Carroll missed the


locker-room humor, which he compared to the team atmosphere of the Rangers. Earlier in the week, Carroll texted with a Ranger buddy, Tyler Fillion, who reasoned that listening to Lady Gaga would guarantee 10- to 15-percent added strength during a workout.


Carroll also keeps in touch with the 2007 Duke seniors, who have a long-running email chain.


Left: Carroll, his sons John Aspden and Casey Patrick, wife Erin and father Peter after Carroll’s first game in almost seven years.


Right: Carroll played nearly every minute in Duke’s 16- 10 season-opening win over Jacksonville — his first game since 2007.


“It’s probably the same reason why all athletes just wish they had one more year,” Carroll said. “It’s just pure fun being out there and having a blast.”


Carroll, wearing a black brace on his left knee, went through some pre-game warmups then retreated to the Blue Devils locker room. Inside, there was no mention of Carroll’s journey back to this place. Focused on lacrosse, he slipped the familiar No. 37 white game jersey over his head and shoulders in the corner of the room next to senior Brendan Fowler, Duke’s prolific faceoff man and the star of its 2013 NCAA championship run. During the national anthem, Carroll’s legs shook back and forth in place. When it was over, Lobb and freshman Calder Alfono tapped him on the back. Then Carroll sprinted to midfield to line up with the starters for both teams. LM


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