2016 – The Year We Celebrate Bruce Lerch’s Life

2016 – The Year We Celebrate Bruce Lerch’s Life
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2016 – The Year We Celebrate Bruce Lerch’s Life

By Sean Morris – BostonLax.net Founder

 

Bruce Lerch was a man of great integrity who brought a ferocious work ethic to his

profession as a journalist.  The Emerson College graduate took his passion for

covering sports to the Boston Herald for a little over a decade, where he first got his

feet wet covering our beloved sport of lacrosse. Bruce feverishly investigated

lacrosse through seeking out players, coaches, fans and parents in an effort to learn

as much as possible about what made our players, teams and sports so special. He

brought this curiosity to all levels of the men’s and women’s game, from the

professional ranks, to college, and on to the high school game.

 

In November of 2011, John Galvin, Paul Chaisson and myself developed

BostonLax.net. We established Boston Lax in an effort to cover the sport in a way

that nobody had ever done before. The problem with our mission was that none of

us were actually journalists. After 24 hours of research and discussions with

numerous colleagues, we identified Bruce Lerch, as the man we wanted to lead the

BostonLax.net. Once we sat down with Bruce and gave him our “rah-rah” speech

about how this website could transform lacrosse in Massachusetts, Bruce sat back

with a slight pause and began to tell you, “how this was really going to go down.”

 

Bruce soon became our Editor and Chief and he began to bring on some of the top

high school sports writers in the state to cover lacrosse programs from Cape Cod to

Western Massachusetts. The past four lacrosse seasons have seen a dramatic

increase in coverage and more importantly, the coverage of the profound and

unique personalities that lacrosse has.

 

Bruce’s personality was electric. If you ever wanted an opinion, he would give you

one. If you disagreed with Bruce you better have a strong point in order to get a

word in. All kidding aside, Bruce had a unique way about him and an ability to

genuinely connect with players through post game conversations, social media and

in his feature stories. Players felt as though he was a peer that they could confide

in. Coaches looked at Bruce as a friend first and as a source second. He would never

jeopardize a relationship to cover a story regardless of the potential negativity

involved.  When Bruce walked across the field during pre-game or post-game, the

handshake and friendly smile meant more to him than writing about a win or loss.

 

One of the unique and fascinating features of Bruce’s work was his ability to thrive

using potentially the oldest cellular phone since Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell.

Despite the prehistoric nature of Bruce’s phone it never stopped

working. Regardless of the sport that he was covering, coaches, fans, parents and

alums felt that they had a direct line to Bruce. These relationships provided him

with the inside scoop on what was occurring before it ever became public. His

friends confided in Bruce and he made sure that he gave you all of his attention

despite already having received five calls and 10 texts messages about it.

 

In my time working alongside Bruce, his work ethic became one that I envied. Bruce,

like many reporters, routinely worked until 4 or 5 a.m. in the morning assuring the

stories would be up in time for readers to pen their newspaper or click on a website

at 6 a.m. At BostonLax.net, Bruce would edit every article that came through the site.

Information was paramount to Bruce; so the more he read and digested, the better

he would be at covering a team or player. His game coverage was unmatched,

whether he was using his trusty notepad on his left hip to record a statistic or using

his camera to record a game, which he would edit and voiceover.

 

The most impressive attribute that I will always remember was Bruce’s uncanny

ability to remember people’s names. He was an endless almanac for players across

the state, throughout multiple sports that spanned over generations. He would often

recall my own high school football days at Marshfield High School, to which he

would recite my entire offensive line and then recall all the teams on our schedule,

while also knowing who the opposing team’s starting cornerback was. To go along

with this great skill, he had the ability to see a name once and would never misspell

it again. Former Duxbury High and current Georgetown University goalie Nick

Marrocco was always a key name that Bruce and Nick’s father would always have

to correct me on.

 

Bruce would often recall his glory days of playing high school football to his passion

for playing cards. Our conversations would often lead in a direction about how he

wished he had played lacrosse, defense specifically. The game speed, skill sets and

aggressive nature made Bruce love our sport. Through this desire, he would sit with

me for hours on the phone or on a sideline learning about the schemes which

coaches were implementing in their game plans.

Why is player X being shut off?

Why does the faceoff man pinch the ball and withhold it?

Why can’t player X get space on the offensive end of the field?

These were just a few of the questions that helped advance Bruce’s lacrosse IQ.

 

To go along with the excitement for the game Bruce always chuckled when talking

about the personalities on the fields. Bruce covered Major League Lacrosse, college

lacrosse, and high school lacrosse. He often said that lacrosse players were a

different breed. They are often educated in their responses and never shy away

from questions. The players have a unique pride about playing their game and are

always willing share insight as to how the game should grow. My response to him

was that these players are well coached on and off the field, but when it came to

their hairstyle or hair color, I was clueless.

 

To conclude this article that has taken far too long to write, I wanted to shed some

light on some of the great memories of Bruce that we at BostonLax.net have shared.

–       His flip back notepad that was always attached to his left hip pocket.

–       Tweeting from a flip phone…literally a flip phone.

–       Waking up to text messages that were sent at 4:37 a.m. to make sure that I read

the article about one of his underdog teams or players lighting it up the previous

day.

–       Bruce’s blog cast on three hours or less of sleep.

–       An issue loading content on the old BostonLax.net website and why it was my

fault for it not refreshing properly.

–       The two of us hunting down every game score on a list of seven websites and

still falling 50% short.

–       The daunting task of the final few selections for the Boston Lax All-American

game.

–       Receiving my normal 2:15 p.m. phone call, while Bruce drank what was his

morning coffee, and discussing how he caught a bad beat in online poker or that The

Rock had made an appearance at Wrestle Mania the previous night.

–       The phone call on the MIAA tournament and All-American selections and how Bruce had the trust of every coach in the room to not leak the picks before they wanted him to.

–       His LOVE and passion for the Catholic Conference in all sports, especially football

and lacrosse.

–       Weekly Sunday night banter with Chaisson, Ryan Kilian and myself over the

Top 25 team rankings and the Top 10 player rankings.

–       His Mentorship of so many young writers that were getting their feet wet

–       Our debates over his Top 20 Team rankings he sent into Inside Lacrosse

–       His Larger then life presence in the Press Box at the MIAA Championships

–       I saved the best for last……His Bear Hugs!

 

At BostonLax.net we have been so fortunate to have a leader like Bruce Lerch in our

profession. Bruce will always be remembered and we will never be able to fulfill the

void that he has left behind.  We will honor Bruce in several facets this upcoming year and

do our best to celebrate the great life that he lived.

 

I know that I speak for the entire Massachusetts sports community in saying that we Love

you Bruce and we will forever miss that big smile on your face!

 

To help donate to the Bruce Lerch Scholarship fund, please click on the link below for all the details: 

https://www.youcaring.com/bruce-lerch-memorial-scholarship-fund-484673

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