The Norwell High School Boys Soccer Team just completed their best season in school history. The Clippers finished with 19 wins, 5 of them were pressure cooked tournament triumphs. They marched to a South Sectional title before falling just short in the state championship game to Nipmuc. Their ride to glory was fueled by one of their own, a former Clipper, loyal fan and friend, Andrew Lawson who has Down Syndrome and who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
"I asked the boys one day to come up with an idea to brighten his day. Two days later the shirts with "Lawson" across the back were made and they dedicated their season to Andrew. They wear the shirts in warmups and practice and it just took off from there,” Norwell Coach Jack Browne explained. “I love Andrew. He brings everyone up on the bench, you see him passing out water, he comes over when the coach gives a halftime speech, he lightens up everyone’s mood, he gives you a reason to play for him,” captain Troy Studley told me.
Feeding off each other’s energy the Clippers outscored their first five tournament opponents by a margin of 11-1. When they shut out Dover-Sherborn to win the South Title they knew whose hands belonged embracing the keepsake trophy - their inspiration, Andrew Lawson. “We were all inspired by him, his fight, motivation, and determination as well. I've never seen that on someone. It was pretty amazing,” added goalie Cal Stoddard.
Andrew keeps the trophy on his kitchen table, it sits there 24/7 and he proudly shows it off to all visitors at his family’s home. The mailman, the oil delivery person, friends, neighbors and relatives all have had their picture taken with Andrew and the trophy. I wondered if Andrew was more proud of the team or was the team more proud of Andrew? "I believe we're more proud of him, we've seen all of the struggles he’s gone through, fighting to keep his head up no matter what. He's always here supporting us through everything he's gone through,” commented captain Tyler Studely, Troys twin brother.
The Clippers have an unbreakable bond with Andrew and his family. If Andrew can't make it to a practice or a game, his sister usually stops by with an update. FaceTime on bus rides became a valuable tool to keep the connection between Andrew and the team. It was a season to remember as a passionate young man and a high school team borrowed inspiration from each other.
"He inspired me, he’s a true champion, We’re just going along with him for the ride,” said William Anastos.
And what a ride it has been. With all that is going on in their young lives; school work, practice, SAT's, college applications etc - The Norwell team found the time to be unselfish, to think of enriching the life of someone else before their own lives. Friendship, leadership and unselfishness, gifts you can't buy on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, online or in any store. Gifts that are truly priceless and keep on giving - forever.