Boston Globe Feature: Reid Building A Career Of A Lifelong Passion
By Cindy Atoji Keene
If lacrosse is big on your radar, you're likely to hear about Jack Reid. He spends his days selling sporting equipment - and his off hours as a defenseman on Boston's newest professional sports team, the Boston Blazers.
During the week, Reid peddles lacrosse helmets and eye masks from Cascade to local sporting goods stores. On the weekends, this All-American defenseman, who is 6-foot-3 and weighs 200 pounds, attacks any player who wants to bury him on the crease, scooping up loose balls and forcing turnovers.
The 40-hour workweek, combined with a long commute from West Hartford, Conn., to the Hub, and 16-game regular season schedule "can be kind of grueling," he says.
Unlike most professional athletes who enjoy million-dollar contracts and endorsements, Reid and other National Lacrosse League players are a throwback to the days when playing sports was a part-time occupation that participants did for the love of the game - not the money. The typical NLL player earns between $12,000 and $20,000, but Reid said he feels privileged to be paid to play a sport that's known as "fastest game on two feet."
A lot of lacrosse players would love to be in your shoes. What advice would you give to kids and adults who want to become professional athletes, or earn income related to the sports they enjoy?
Enjoy playing, have as much fun as you can, and take advantage of any opportunities as they develop. It's that simple.
You're a big name in lacrosse, does that help open doors as a salesman of lacrosse equipment?
Sure it does. Lacrosse is a tight-knit community, so when I cold call coaches or other people in the industry, I have more name recognition than someone calling out of the blue. That gives me credibility.
How did you get started in lacrosse?
My dad played lacrosse at Yale; my grandfather played football there. Athleticism runs in the family. My dad ran me through a lot of stick drills, kind of like playing catch with the old man, but out there instead with a stick and ball. I picked it up quickly and my skill level was ahead of the curve for my age.
Indoor lacrosse is played on a hockey rink covered by an artificial turf surface. What's that like?
If you take a spill on AstroTurf, it claims at least a layer or two of your skin. If you're not getting turf burns, you're not playing hard enough. The enclosed space makes the game much faster, and more physical.
You're number 18 on the Boston Blazers. Does that number have any significance for you?
It definitely has a special place in my heart. I wore number 18 for four years at (University of Massachusetts), where I was an All-American. It's also my home address, the dates of my parents' birthdays, and the beginning of my student identity number.
You're a big guy. How much can you bench press?
I hate giving those numbers out to anyone - I have freakishly long arms. But I squat over 400 pounds. That I will divulge.
Lacrosse players are known as being hunks. Are you?
We're in great shape, and many players combine brains and brawn, if that's something that girls are interested in. Can you publish my cellphone number if anyone is?