6 Year Old Commits to 'Cuse Lacrosse

From Staff Reports

April 1, 2002 - The college lacrosse class of 2018 received its first early commitment by an athlete today as Warren "speedy" Sperling, age 6, of Rykland, New York announced yesterday, through his elated father, that he has requested the paperwork from Syracuse University to make an early commitment to play lacrosse. Sperling, a relatively unknown entity in lacrosse outside the Rykland Pee Wee league and surrounding day care centers and pre-schools, is what one might call a legacy Syracuse fan, sleeping in an orange bunk bed with his older brother Wallace and sporting only orange clothing by his own choice since he was 3 years old, indicated by him in a recent interview by holding up 3 fingers and saying, "I was this many."

While the news came as somewhat of a surprise to Syracuse Head Coach John Desko, he is always happy when people love Syracuse, his alma mater, "I'm really not allowed to make a comment on this kid for another 11 years or so, but I understand he is a very well behaved toddler, from what I've heard just today." Desko, seen at countless high school events year round and known as a top recruiter, admits that Sperling was not on his "radar" until today, "I'll have to find out what's going on and talk to some folks in the know. With the rapid growth of the game and the many new hotbeds that are popping up, it's getting harder to know where all the young talent is nationally. Obviously, we just missed this guy. It happens."

We spoke to Sperling's Pee Wee coach, Joe Birney, who thinks "speedy" shows promise, "He is advanced for a six year-old. For example, he's throwing and catching better than, say, his brother Wallace, who's a full year older." Wallace disagrees with Coach Birney's assessment, but supports his brother's decision, "I have a X-box and I get to stay up until 8:30", says Wallace, a bit jealous of all the attention his brother is getting.

Sperling's father, not a college graduate himself, but a lifelong Syracuse fan said the decision made by his son came as a surprise to him, as well, "I'll tell you the truth, I thought the kid was gonna play basketball for the Orange. He's pushing 3 feet and he's gonna be a horse. I just told him to pick one and he chose lacrosse. I guess it makes sense. I mean he has over 20 Casey Powell autographed balls. I started collecting them for him two years before he was born. He's got Syracuse lax in his blood. I just can't wait for Warren to take the field for Syracuse. Who knows maybe he'll do a walk-on tryout for the hoops team too. Go Orange! Woooooo"! Coach Desko, when asked about whether Warren might be allowed to play two sports when he arrives at the upstate New York campus, deferred to legendary Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boehiem, "I just don't know. Maybe Coach Boehiem's heard of him and can speak to that." Boehiem could not be reached for comment.

When asked where Warren got the name "Speedy", Coach Birney admits he doesn't know, "I don't know exactly how that started. I mean, I guess he falls down less than most of the tykes do when they try to run full speed in all that big gear. Yeah. I guess he's speedy. Yeah." Warren's mother, Kim, gets the credit for the nickname, "He just looked so cute with his little legs moving so quickly in those huge shorts. I just started calling him speedy. I didn't know he was good enough to get all this attention though. Warren's father keeps telling me that the boy's got a gift. I guess that's why he decided, I mean why Warren decided to make this decision now. He's good at finger painting too, so I think he'll have other talents to fall back on if he ever needs it."

Carl Turner, of Recruitiny.com, where Warren was registered by his dad two years ago, says early scouting reports on the Sperling are promising, "He's just making the adjustment from mini stick to a cut off real stick and he's transitioning well to the next level and the weight of a real ball. He's a coachable kid and we hear he's pretty consistent about going to the bathroom before games so he doesn't have to leave the field for those sorts of things during play. You know how it is for the little guys." Turner's web based service, Recruitiny.com, which charges 150 dollars a year for a listing, is a spot for college recruiters to learn about high school lacrosse players in places they may not get to watch games. The site lists a number of high school sophomores and freshmen, but mostly juniors. Warren is the only pre-teen listed, although someone actually registered their dog Alphie, who can evidently "gobble up ground balls, and catch quite well but is still learning to throw." Alphie remains uncommitted at press time.

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