Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

Writing. Photography. Video. The home of Jesuit High School student journalism.

Jesuit Chronicle

What a belt buckle and eye black has to do with being an elite lacrosse goalie

Brady Smith is a two-time state champion goalie for Jesuit and knows how to set himself up for success on the field (photo by Naji Sakar, courtesy of Brady Smith).

In the world of Oregon lacrosse, Brady Smith is widely regarded as the best goalie in the state. He is committed to Hobart College, a division one school, and is the reigning first team all state goalie. What many people don’t know is that he wears a large shining belt buckle over his jersey, wears interesting eye black patterns, and tapes his calves strictly for looks.

For such a high level player, why does Smith feel the need to take part in all of these unorthodox rituals?

While wearing a cowboy belt that he bought on a San Francisco pier, or putting on excessive amounts of tape may seem strange, it is actually instrumental to his success on the field.

“It can get difficult playing such a tough position and keeping a positive mindset when in practice the drills are made for the offense, games when I’m getting absolutely peppered with shots, or if I’m not playing well, it can be taxing as a born competitor,” Smith said. “I do these things to remind myself I’m out on the field to have fun and get better, and there’s no need to take any time I spend on the field for granted because of bad feelings.”

Playing goalie in lacrosse is arguably the hardest position in all sports. The job requires standing in the middle of a 6×6 goal wearing only a helmet, a thin chest pad and leather padded gloves while trying to stop a small, hard, rubber ball coming at speeds ranging anywhere from 70 to 100 miles per hour.

To be successful at his position, Smith needs to have a light hearted personality, thick skin, and the ability to have a short term memory and move on to the next play. Throughout his high school career, Smith has proven to possess all of these traits, making him an elite level goalie.

“Brady’s attitude is an awesome balance,” senior captain and starting defender Richie Nadolny said. “When we’re playing you know he’s got your back and he’s talking you through everything he sees, as soon as the play ends… good or bad he’s back to light hearted and keeping your confidence up. It helps us all play loose and brings out the best in his players.”

His resume speaks for itself. He has been the starting goalie for the state’s most prestigious program since his sophomore year. Smith is a two time state champion, playing a crucial role in both title games and has also seen his name on the all state teams for every year he has started, second team all state as a sophomore, first team as a junior, and will more than likely stay put on the first team after this season concludes.

So why would Smith choose to play such a difficult position?

Smith started playing goalie in the 7th grade. He felt that he didn’t really fit in anywhere else on the field after trying out different positions. Smith grew up playing club lacrosse for a program called 3D Oregon, a team that traveled all around the country, playing in premier tournaments.

It was at a tournament in California that their goalie didn’t show up for, leaving Smith’s team without a goalie.

“My coach chose me. I played well that tournament, considering it was my first time playing,” Smith said. “But what really got me to not switch back to the field was that thought that after playing, I realized that being a goalie means I could single handedly effect the outcome of the game. I finally felt like a difference maker.”

A difference maker is what Smith has been for the Crusaders, as he had an impressive 65 save percentage last season with a monster 10+ save game in the state title game.

Although Smith has proven to be a gifted goalie and has shown that he is indeed a difference maker, it is his connection with his defense that takes him to the next level. A goalie in lacrosse is like a safety in football, they are the quarterback of the defense and they are the last line of defense.

A goalie must have a strong relationship with his defenders and be someone that they can count on to lead and direct them where to be on the field.

“My connection with my defenders is vital to my success,” Smith said. “Constant communication, talking and working together as one unit rather than 7 individual players is the key to having a successful defense.”

Smith has earned the respect of all his defenders which shows the type of leader he is.

“He literally never stops talking to us,” senior starting defender and Denver commit Jacob Hutchinson said. “I always know where the ball is, he tells me when to throw checks and get out of my offensive guy’s hands. Without him talking, the defense falls apart so he’s super helpful.”

Being a leader to Smith goes deeper than just on the field.

“This Connection and friendship in my mind, is almost just as important off the field,” Smith said. “I enjoy messing around with my defenders before and after practice, and just hanging out with each other brings us together as a family.”

While he may wear a cowboy belt, rock multiple pairs of socks, and put on excessive eye black and tape, there is much more to Brady Smith than what meets the eye. The connection he has with his teammates and his ability to have such short term memory is special, all while playing at a level that is on par with premier goalies around the country.

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About the Contributor
Luke Bayne
Luke Bayne, Sports Writing Editor
Luke Bayne is a senior at Jesuit High School. He is interested in writing about sports specifically analyzing the competition, game plan and personnel for each team. Luke loves playing lacrosse and golfing in his free time. Along with those hobbies, he attends most Oregon Duck home football games. Luke got interested in journalism from watching sports and reading articles on ESPN and Sports Illustrated, he is super excited to interview Jesuit athletes and coaches and learn how they prepare for each game. Luke hopes to publish many articles for Jesuit athletics and provide insights about the crusaders to people all around the pacific northwest.