BY RICKY POLLITT
All good things must come to an end.
On Saturday, the Salisbury University men’s lacrosse team closed the book on a 21-year pregame tradition – the tunnel walk.
Before the new Sea Gull Stadium, players would make the walk from the locker rooms in Maggs to the stadium before games kicked off.
What started as a simple five minute walk turned into a famous tradition celebrated by fans, parents, players and alumni.
On a normal week day, the tunnel serves as a path for students to get to different sides of route 13, but come game day it’s something else; a sanctuary where the team becomes the dominant force fans witness at every SU lacrosse game.
“It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had walking through that tunnel,” senior midfielder Thomas Cirillo said. “You walk through that tunnel, you see all your boys, fans are giving us love, getting us hyped, and it’s the coolest environment.”
The tunnel walk is started with the gathering of fans and parents by the entrance near the Wayne Street Garage. However, come 45 minutes before game time, it became a completely new environment.
Led by the captains on the team, the entire lacrosse squad walks out of the tunnel like soldiers prepared to fight in battle.
With the cheers and yells echoing off the walls, fans often catch themselves getting goosebumps as they see the team emerge for match.
“Seeing them come out before every game with the intensity they have is really chilling,” SU senior Richard Pearch said. “We’re only a Division III program, but when they do the tunnel walk it’s feels like I’m watching professional athletes get ready to play.”
With the new stadium opened and equipped with locker rooms, players will no longer have to use the ones in Maggs, making it unnecessary to use the tunnel.
Although it will mark the end of a long tradition in Salisbury, the team is eager to start up new traditions involving the new stadium.
Even with the tunnel walk gone, junior goalkeeper Colin Reymann doesn’t think the team will have a problem getting pumped up before a game.
“I’m glad we get to set our own tradition. The tunnel’s a surreal experience, and I’m glad we got to experience it one last time,” Reymann said.
The final walk not only celebrated the 2016 squad who clinched a perfect regular season with a 17-8 win over Cabrini, but it also brought back many familiar faces who were pivotal pieces in winning 10 national titles for Salisbury.
Former players such as All-Americans Knute Kraus, Scot Simmons and many more were in attendance to join their fellow Gulls in the tunnel for one last march.
As senior midfielder Davis Anderson led the charge, Sea Gulls of the past and present stormed out of the tunnel ending one journey and beginning another.
With the team’s victory closing out the undefeated regular season, Sea Gulls’ head coach Jim Berkman knew the day would be one to remember.
“It was a great end to the regular season, having the last tunnel walk to honor that tradition and have the victory, the guys really put an exclamation on the day,” Berkman said.
The ending of the tunnel walk closes the door on one tradition but will open the opportunity for a new pregame ritual to be born.
Although the longtime celebration will no longer take place, the winning mentality will remain among the SU lacrosse program.
Change is inevitable, but with the fans, parents and players remaining the same, Salisbury’s new pregame tradition should leave the same lasting effects the tunnel walk did.