The Jump From College to Pros
Welcome to the League, Rookie
Imagine making one of the biggest transitions of your life. You’re graduating college, receiving your degree, and moving into the adult world full force. Now, imagine making that transition during a pandemic that has shut down the whole world. And on top of all the things that come with life after college, you are a professional athlete expected to join, play, and produce at a higher level against the most talented players in the world. That was the reality for the Premier Lacrosse League’s rookies this season. What would already be a new and intimidating experience for them was put under even more pressure, and the rookies found themselves entering this new phase of their lives and playing careers under circumstances no one else had faced before.
For Bryan Costabile, the Atlas’ second overall pick hailing from Notre Dame, preparing for the season was not much unlike his preparations for college. A tailored regimen of shooting four times a week with running and lifting the other three days allowed him to hone into what he needed to work on to prepare for the PLL style of play.
Chrome rookie Reece Eddy found it difficult to get into a normal routine for training due to gym closures and heavily enforced social distancing. To ensure he still prepared and fully met his needs, he focused on his conditioning and worked in small groups, such as sessions with coach Dylan Donahue at Platform Lacrosse, and with current collegiate lacrosse players. Their abilities to quickly pivot and problem-solve impressed many on and off the field, as their impacts were felt immediately.
Dream Come True
Aside from the anxieties of preparing for an unprecedented season, both Costabile and Eddy felt a lot of excitement as they met their new teammates and faced the opportunity to play at the highest level. The opportunity to suit up alongside their heroes was one they had dreamed of, and it was made even better because they would have the chance to show that they too belonged on the field with them.
For Costabile, getting a practice or two under his belt was a sure way of breaking past the anxieties of playing with and against the best of the best, and allow him to simply play the best lacrosse he could. Before joining the Atlas, he knew John Crawley and Scotty Rodgers, who had previously coached him, and Ryan Brown, a close family friend. This provided him the chance to “meet new people and make different connections,” and having prior relationships with team members helped him make the new connections as well.
Having “incredibly helpful and welcoming” teammates on the Chrome helped Eddy quickly acclimate to being in the Championship Series environment. He felt “lucky” to be able to play with Skaneateles High School teammate and friend Sam Duggan, as it made the transition of playing in the Championship Series and being in the bubble a bit easier.
So what was it like being “in the bubble?" Eddy was grateful for the three weeks of uninterrupted time to hang out and bond with his teammates, finding the rare nature of this particular format to be valuable. He feels “proud” of the way his team responded to adversity throughout the tournament, especially the camaraderie built in the locker room which he believes the team will continue to build on for next season.
Costabile came into the bubble with “no reservations,” finding that the setup was similar to “playing in an away game in college.” Being able to maintain a pre-game routine was vital in finding a good mental state, and since there was really no other PLL season for him to compare to, that added further to there being no reservations and allowed him to simply focus on the season at hand. This first season found him taking on multiple roles depending on his team’s needs, for example d-middie which he had not played in four years.
He hopes to carry his momentum and willingness to learn into next year, becoming the best at whichever role he is tasked with taking on. For both athletes, the goal for next year is to be “the last team standing,” and I am sure we can all agree that we are excited to see all the teams (hopefully live) next year!