LITITZ — While each of Warwick’s nine senior field hockey players were escorted across the field before Wednesday’s Senior Night at Warwick High School, the public address announcer rattled off pre-written summaries of the players’ field hockey and high school journeys, all of which is customary for any senior night across the Lancaster-Lebanon League.
The announcer took his time detailing the players’ fondest memories and updating their college plans, but he also took the time to read what the players had written about playing for legendary field hockey coach Bob Derr, all offering him effusive thanks.
And after the game, coach Derr shared this little snippet about this year’s senior class, which happens to be on the verge of a playoff berth after their 2-0 victory over Conestoga Valley.
“This senior class, there’s a lot… you want to come back on another story on that...” Derr stated, ultimately opening up anyway in his customarily welcome manner, in regard to the sport of field hockey — and more importantly what it means to be a coach.
“This is a really unique story about these nine seniors and the journey they had because when they came up as freshmen I pulled them up only because the junior high coach didn’t want them,” Derr said.
“When they came up with me, freshman year it was an education for them and they got to see… and the kids that were there before them, the older players, they set a good example for them to try to follow.
“But it was tough, when they were ninth graders,” continued Derr. “The growth that they have made since that point of time… it’s just amazing the kind of people that they have developed into. That’s the good thing that sports does for people.”
And in saying that comment, Derr began to choke up. But he continued.
“…I’m getting a little emotional,” he said, “because I’m just so proud of what they’ve done.”