Goettelmann Says He Will Return in 2011
by Corey McLaughlin | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff
All-time MLL goals leader Tim Goettelmann says he will likely donate his salary to his "Monster's Kids" charity again in 2011, when he returns for his 11th season with the Lizards.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com
Even a Monster can have a change of heart.
Veteran Long Island Lizards attackman Tim Goettelmann, Major League Lacrosse’s all-time leading goal scorer nicknamed "The Monster" for his 6-4, 215-pound size, has decided to return for an 11th MLL season.
In the moments immediately following the Lizards’ loss to the Chesapeake Bayhawks in the MLL championship game Aug. 22, Goettelmann said he was leaning toward retiring to make it easier to balance his full-time job and family commitments.
But after speaking with his wife and thinking about the disappointing end to the game -- Long Island lost, 13-9, after being tied at 8 entering the fourth quarter -- he now says he needs to come back to try for a championship in 2011.
He notified the MLL of his decision Monday, saying he wanted to avoid a Brett Favre situation. Goettelmann also considered retiring at the end of 2009, but decided to return.
“I can’t end on that game,” Goettelmann told LMO Tuesday morning from his office at Hartan Brokerage in New York City. “I wouldn’t feel comfortable with myself if I didn’t play next year. And even if it doesn’t work out halfway through the season or something, at least I continued on.”
Goettelmann is the last remaining original Lizard, having been with the team since the league’s first season in 2001. The former Loyola All-American was the Lizards’ second-leading scorer last season behind Matt Danowski. He is the MLL’s all-time leader in goals (248), games played (122) and game-winning goals (14). But Long Island hasn’t won a title since 2003, when the Lizards beat the then-Baltimore Bayhawks. The drought gnaws at Goettelmann, especially since they were so close this season.
“I want to win a championship,” said Goettelmann, whose 251 career regular season MLL goals are four more than second-place Jesse Hubbard and 24 more than the next active player, Kevin Leveille. “We haven’t won since 2003, which is a long time ago. Had we won this year, I would have retired.”
Goettelmann is a wholesale insurance broker in New York and resides in Garden City on Long Island. He has two young kids and another on the way with his wife, Lisa, who is due in February. The addition of another child could affect his plans to play next season, he acknowledges, but for now he’s decided to return.
“I sit here in August and tell you I’m playing, but we’ll have three kids under the age of 3 come February. And training camps aren’t too long after that, which are three weekends,” he said. “Things could change, but my mind and body are telling me I have to get back.”
Another contributing factor to his return is the platform the MLL gives for his charitable foundation, Monster’s Kids, which is dedicated to supporting pediatric hospitals. The foundation has raised more than $100,000 in the past two years, which included a $12,000 donation from himself -- his 2010 MLL salary -- which he gave to Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York. He was named MLL Sportsman of the Year for the second straight season in 2010.
“I probably will play for free again and continue doing that,” Goettelmann said, adding that plans are in the works for donation campaigns in association with the Lizards and other MLL players.
“It’s amazing what sports can do and how people respond to an athlete that’s giving back,” he added. “The perception with athletes is we’re selfish, self-absorbed. I know that we’re so lucky to be playing professional lacrosse.”
Which is why he’ll keep playing, for now.