What’s it like to sit next to a Pro Lacrosse Hall of Famer? Conversations from induction weekend
In Midtown Baltimore, where East Biddle Street turns into West Biddle Street, rests Sammy’s Trattoria. It’s a large Italian restaurant, the inside coated in a dark, damp red to match the awning – the eatery’s principle marker with which its name is embossed in white – out front.
On any given day, there’s dozens of small square tables positioned even-feet width apart. But on Aug. 4, nearly all of them were wedged together to form two parallel tables so long the hardwood floor fought to peek through.
Along them, spread around the room, sat Ryan Boyle, Greg Cattrano, Roy Colsey, Jesse Hubbard and Brian Spallina. The five 2023 Pro Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductees in attendance (Ryan Powell couldn’t attend the weekend) were surrounded by family, mentors and insurmountable greatness, as they talked about the sacrifice and skill required to earn a gold jacket, which would hang in each of their closets in less than two-days time.
For Cattrano, a four-time All-Star goalie in Major League Lacrosse, one of the main costs was paid with his elbows. And most often by the guy who, at Sammy’s, was sitting to his right.
“Jesse Hubbard and I always had a great relationship when we were playing, and we never played with each other,” Cattrano said. “I was talking to him like, ‘Jesse, I remember every time I ran out of the goal, you weren’t going for my stick, you were trying to hit my elbows.’ When I got back to the goal, my arms were on the ground and I couldn't hold them up. Then he’d score another five goals on me.
“He’s like, ‘Oh, absolutely.’
“We laughed about that and then Jesse would say, ‘Oh I was just shooting the ball at the net and hoping it was going in.”
Cattrano played seven seasons in the MLL, winning two championships (2002, 2004), three Goalie of the Year awards (2001, 2002, 2004) and one MVP (2002). Hubbard played eight years in the MLL. He scored 247 career goals and was a five-time all-star.
Before MLL careers worthy of immortalizing their names in the sport’s history, Cattrano played at Brown and Hubbard at Princeton. Cattrano was named Goalie of the Year in 1997 as a senior, the same season Hubbard led Princeton to the second of the school’s three consecutive national championships.
“I also played against Greg in college,” Hubbard said. “He was the year above me. I never felt worthy when I was shooting on him because he would always make saves and run up the field like it was no big deal.”
Hubbard always admired Cattrano on the field. To him, “that’s what the sport’s all about,” he said. “Lacrosse is cool like that, where you have the younger generation look up to the older generation.”
While Hubbard wanted to shoot past Cattrano, he wanted to score like Colsey, another fellow 2023 Pro Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee who Hubbard tried to emulate his game after.
When Hubbard was a junior in high school, he attended a lacrosse camp at a secondary school where Colsey – who played at Syracuse at the time – was a coach and counselor. One day, Hubbard walked into the weight room hoping to get a lift session in. Instead, he found himself sharing the entire gym with Colsey.
“Roy was benching. I didn’t know what to do. I was intimidated. I was thinking, ‘Oh no, what do I do, Roy Colsey’s in there. I have to get out of here,’” Hubbard said. “He was such an idol, I didn't feel like I was worthy of lifting with him.”
Hubbard said he did a “couple of bicep curls, said hi and got out of there,” in fear that his hero might ask him for a spot on the bench press. It’s a story Hubbard has always remembered and briefly mentioned when he saw Colsey during Hall of Fame weekend, leaving out some nervous details about their weight room run-in way back when.
But at Sammy’s, in that one room filled with an enormity of talent, there were no pre-game jitters or tension between foes, just respect.
“We were sitting around just looking at each other and I thought, ‘I couldn’t be any more happy to be inducted with this group' and we all felt the same exact way,” Cattrano said.