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THE BUCKEYE


what you make of it.” Darris Kilgour was Steve Fannell’s teammate with the NLL’s Buffalo Bandits and Albany Attack. “He was a guy you could always count on. He’d always say the right things in the locker room,” Kilgour said. “He knows he can reach out to me. I wish him the best. He’s had a long, hard struggle.”


Eric Fannell also is careful with his own vices, especially drinking. “I’ve come to realize, it will never be corrected,” he said. “It’s something that I will always struggle with.”


W


Fannell has struggled with addiction like his father, Steve (top left), a former pro lacrosse player whose issues were exacerbated by prescription drug abuse. The two no longer speak to each other.


Fannell plays summer box lacrosse for St. Catharines (Ontario) and spent two seasons playing field lacrosse at Division III Adrian before transfering to Ohio State.


is my one true love. That’s how it is. That’s how it always will be. I love lacrosse more than myself, really.”


e haven’t yet explored the fact that Fannell was a box goalie growing up, and a defenseman in field leagues. “Going from a midfielder to an attackman, or a defenseman to a midfielder, that’s not that big of change. But going from a box goalie to an offensive player? That’s like, ‘I can’t believe that just happened,’” said Darris Kilgour, who coached Fannell for two years with the Junior Athletics. When Fannell first began playing at a young age, he didn’t want to run (a trait that he’s still working on to this day, to get in shape. Plus, in the house box leagues in St. Catharines, everyone saw value in a kid who wanted to play goalie on their team, because


38 US LACROSSE MAGAZINE March 2017 I


most wanted to play the floor. “I liked that whole, ‘They want me, they want me,’” Fannell said. Lastly, playing defense


outdoors made sense to him, because he was on the defensive end indoors.


Not until he was 16 did Fannell start to play attack in field, ditch the goalie gear and switch to offense in box. With the Junior Athletics, the switch only happened because he asked, and only because the team was so short- handed that it needed help. Fannell rode


the bench behind Eric Penney, now the Vancouver Stealth’s starting goalie. Fannell led the Athletics in scoring his final two years in Junior A, showcasing what teammates and coaches describe as uncanny field vision and unselfishness to go with incredible hands, pick-and-roll ability and scoring and shooting touch. He just calls it fun. “It’s like a kid in a candy shop,” Fannell said. “Whenever I get on the floor, the field, wherever lacrosse is, I love it. ... Lacrosse


“HE’S


PROBABLY IN A


HALFWAY HOUSE, POSSIBLY PRISON, POSSIBLY


REHAB.” — Eric Fannell on his father, Steve


n July 2015, after multiple phone interviews and an in-person evaluation, Myers invited Fannell to Ohio State for an official visit. Doctors can examine recruits on such trips, and this one showed significant wear to the meniscus in Fannell’s knee. He needed surgery, but even that wouldn’t guarantee he’d play. It would have been easy to cut bait. “I couldn’t stop thinking about him,” Myers said. “Knowing that coming to Ohio State would literally change his life. It would change his whole outlook, to get him here and get him a degree. If we got him healthy, who knows what could happen? He could be a game-changer. It’s all come together. He’s done it, but he’s still got plenty of work to do, and he’s hungry to prove himself.”


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