BY MICHAEL KELLY
CLIFTON PARK — It’s perhaps the biggest weekend of Scott Marr’s coaching career. A packed house is expected at UAlbany’s Tom & Mary Casey Stadium, the reigning national champion is in town to play his Great Danes, and a spot in the NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament quarterfinals is up for grabs.
His wife? Never even considered going to the game. With a big laugh, she’ll readily admit that.
“I mean,” she said, “I’ve been watching Scott’s teams for 25 years now.”
OK, in reality, Traci would be at her husband’s game against North Carolina in a heartbeat — braving the expected heavy rain — if she didn’t have her own big-time lacrosse weekend planned.
Daughter Jordyn, a freshman member of UAlbany’s women’s lacrosse team, has her first-round NCAA tournament game Friday night at Stony Brook against Northwestern.
Mom will be there.
Son Kyle, a sophomore on Johns Hopkins’ men’s lacrosse team, has his first-round NCAA tournament game Saturday afternoon in Baltimore against Duke.
Mom will be there.
Oh, and if the UAlbany women win Friday and advance to Sunday’s second-round game?
Yeah, Mom will be back in Stony Brook for that one, too.
“Sometimes,” Traci said, “you do wish you could make two of yourself.”
But there’s only one of her, so Traci will happily spend the bulk of her Mother’s Day weekend on the road by herself, singing along to a SiriusXM Radio’s ’70s station. If things go as she hopes and there is a game for her to watch Sunday, she’ll have spent approximately 16 hours driving and logged more than 900 miles by the time she gets back home to Clifton Park. She will have also watched her husband’s game on TV, which is her plan Saturday night at whichever hotel she stays.
“She’s got a lot of energy,” coach Marr said. “A lot of good energy.”
She’s put that to good use since lacrosse became such a huge part of her life more than two decades ago. Traci first met her future husband in September 1991, when both were working at a middle school in Delaware. Scott took Traci to her first lacrosse game a few weeks later, a scrimmage for the University of Delaware, for which he was an assistant coach and where she had played volleyball.
“Pretty much after that, that’s what we did,” Traci said of her first lacrosse weekend. “I didn’t really know anything about lacrosse.”
They got engaged a few months later, when Traci had accompanied Scott on a lacrosse trip, and married in August 1992. A little less than a decade later, they moved to Clifton Park after he got the head coaching job at UAlbany prior to the 2001 season.
Now a high school science and special education teacher at Shenendehowa — the district from which Kyle and Jordyn graduated, and youngest daughter Keeley is a ninth-grader — Traci’s schedule has remained full with lacrosse over the years. While Scott coached, she drove the kids to one youth tournament after another. Both her older children played competitive hockey, too, so she’s also spent a fair amount of her weekend in hockey rinks throughout the Northeast.
The busy sports schedules of her children have forced Traci to miss big UAlbany men’s lacrosse games in the past, too. One year, she remembers watching UAlbany beat Johns Hopkins — Scott’s alma mater — on a little screen at a hotel in Massena. She was at a hockey tournament for Jordyn.
It hurts, she said, to miss those big moments for her husband. But both parents want Traci at the games Scott can’t attend, especially now.
“They only have four years, and that’s it,” Traci said of her kids’ college careers. “So, no matter what, we always say the kids’ stuff comes first. He’s going to be coaching for a long time after this [year], but when they’re done, they’re done.”
“Not everybody, unfortunately, has the opportunities that we’ve had,” said coach Marr, who will have daughter Keeley in attendance for his game this weekend. “We’re very blessed. We appreciate that.”
In past years, Traci had been more of a fixture at UAlbany men’s lacrosse games, especially during her husband’s first several years when she acted as a team mom. Now, she travels many weekends for Kyle’s games — she’s only missed three this season — and probably has spent more time watching Jordyn’s Great Danes than Scott’s team.
“Whenever Scott has a game,” she said, “he comes home to watch it [again] and no matter what, I watch it then with him.”
As a wife, Traci nervously watches games. As a mom, games are more exciting.
As a person, she might be a bit tired after this weekend. That’s fine with her.
“This weekend,” she said, “is a really fun problem to have.”