A post Mann Cup-victory locker room area can be a messy place. After a long summer that had plenty of ups and downs, the Peterborough Lakers were enjoying the fruits of their labour by releasing all the pent-up pressures from the 2012 season after clinching the Canadian championship in a hard-fought six-game series with the Langley Thunder. The hot tub was full to overflowing. The cold tub had been been converted to a beer cooler. Josh Wasson was walking around wearing the bowl of the Mann Cup as a hat. Life was sweet in Lakerland. Darryl Gibson was enjoying the victory as much as anyone, but he was on a mission. Gibson was looking for his helmet and gloves.
You see, after discussing retirement in the immediate aftermath of Peterborough’s 2010 title, Gibson had no second thoughts this time. He knew he was done. The lefty defender had already announced his retirement from the NLL’s Buffalo Bandits. And he knew it was now time for him to go out on top of the MSL world. Which meant he needed to find his gloves and helmet as keepsakes of his time with the one-time rival Lakers.
The tricky part was, all of the team’s gloves were piled in a massive rubber bin in the trainers’ room; they’d been tossed into the bin as they were collected from the Memorial Centre turf, where they’d landed after being tossed in the air when the final buzzer went on game 6. Now Gibson was sorting through the pile of sweaty mitts to find his #19s.
Gibson leaves the sport as one of its great unheralded defenders. He wasn’t a flashy player by any means (although he could score–Gibson once totalled 113 points in a Junior B season and reached the 30-point mark twice with Brooklin in MSL). If you wanted a steady defender, though, it was tough to beat the consistency he brought to the game. As he told the Peterborough Examiner, “I know I did a good job anchoring the crease there for a lot of years and the guys in that room know what I did.”
The Lakers recognized his quiet contributions with their defensive player of the year award in 2010. That honour may have surprised some observers, considering he played with the likes of Chris White, Scott Self, Jeff Gilbert, Mac Allen and Steve Toll. As someone who saw the Lakers play about 30 times that summer, I can assure you that it was well deserved.
The always self-effacing Gibson told the Examiner that it was getting hard to keep up with the young players. Now, he’ll leave the fate of the Lakers in their capable hands while he moves on to focusing on keeping up with one particular young player–his eleventh-grade son Tyson, who’s in the process of launching his lax career. Eventually, Gibson found his gloves in the pile, so both he and Tyson will be able to look at them and remember when dad was a player, too.Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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