When it comes to youth sports, one of the most accurate words used to describe the last 15 months for student athletes is perseverance.
And for Orange Lutheran senior Andrew Strauss, the perseverance he has had to endure on a personal level in the sport of lacrosse has brought him equal parts disappointment and hope.
A transfer student his sophomore year, Strauss stepped into a brand new lacrosse program at OLu. Having played the sport prior to becoming a Lancer, he was excited to use his skills to help build the team from the ground up.
“It’s a great team sport,” says Strauss. “You get a lot of exercise. I just love the community. It’s been a lot of fun for me.”
With high hopes and a strong team that was poised to make an impact, the Covid-19 pandemic ended his junior season soon after it started. And just as they got back on the field last fall to prepare for the spring season, Strauss tore his ACL. Instead of playing his senior year, he instead has six months of recovery in front of him.
“It’s really hard to watch games when you can’t play,” says the 18-year old. “The positive is I do get a better understanding of coaching.”
Instead of quitting the game altogether, Strauss decided to use his view from the sidelines as a way to contribute to the team through a supporting coaching role. This has allowed him to continue to lead his younger teammates and invest in the future of OLu lacrosse.
“Andrew's leadership and dedication to the team has been unwavering as he worked through a very difficult injury and rehabilitation that he knew would keep him out of competition for this entire school year,” says OLu boys lacrosse head coach, Michael Finley. “His commitment to the team and doing whatever he could to help coaches and players alike set a great example for our young team and is a testament to his character and maturity.”
Strauss has been working specifically with the Lancer defense and is using this unexpected time to both strengthen their skills and prepare himself for an assistant coaching position next season. He is following in the footsteps of OLu alum Brad Leon ’20 who is also a former Lancer lacrosse player who has returned to coach. While he hasn’t been able to compete as much as he would have liked, Strauss’ student athlete experience at OLu has been a memorable one.
“It’s a great way to make friends,” says Strauss. “I came in here knowing pretty much nobody. I started playing sports and that’s how I grew my friend group. It’s a lot of fun being in high school sports, great memories that you get to make.”
Strauss is also a Boy Scout and recently completed his Eagle Scout project, a parking lot landscape renovation at Sacred Heart Retreat Center. In addition to working with the OLu lacrosse program, he plans to attend Santiago Canyon College and then transfer to a four-year university to study mechanical engineering.
He is grateful for the example his father has set for him and considers the teaching staff at OLu to be some of the best role models he could meet. While the last 15 months have not gone how he envisioned, he knows the best is yet to come.
“Prayer has been helpful and a way for me to calm down,” says Strauss. “I know that God has a plan for me.”