The Riptide’s long-awaited NLL season will finally kick off on December 4th, 2021 as they take on the Rochester Knighthawks and boy are we excited. We have all seen this long offseason present trades, new deals and new teams- but we have unfortunately seen some injuries take place as well. The Riptide organization is full of players who can take on adversity, and assistant captain Dan Lomas is the perfect example.
Grit is a word used to describe people who have an outstanding amount of passion and perseverance. Most sports teams look for athletes with grit because it creates a hardworking and fun environment. Lomas has always spent his days working hard as he grew up with two older brothers who were also athletes.
“I grew up in Burlington, Ontario and was sort of the runt of the litter,” Lomas said. “I was always watching my two older brothers play lacrosse and hockey so it was kind of natural for me to start as well. They went off to play hockey and I was not very good so that’s when I started to really pursue lacrosse.”
Lomas was first drafted into the NLL in 2016 by the Rochester Knighthawks, which was a full-circle moment as his oldest brother was drafted there as well. He went on to play there until 2018 before heading west to Vancouver. But, he made his way back to the East Coast after being picked up by the Riptide in 2020 and hopes that this will be his new home for a while.
Despite 600 plus days without the NLL, Lomas could not wait to get back on the floor. However, his days of waiting will have to continue as his off-season unfortunately took a turn for the worst. Lomas was preparing himself for the season and even was training for a triathlon. He felt like he was in the best shape of his life, but over the Summer, Lomas played in the MSL classic and things felt off. He had an awkward play where he felt he was going forward but his foot didn’t want to follow and he obtained an achilles injury that will put him out for most of the NLL season.
“I felt off the whole game, it just didn’t feel right,” Lomas said. “It was almost like someone had thrown a second ball onto the floor and it hit the back of my leg. When it first happened all I could think about was how hard I had worked up until this point.”
Although his contributions on the floor will be limited, this is not the end of the road for him or the leadership and passion he brings to this team. Being able to recover physically from an injury is one thing, but recovering mentally can be another challenge in itself.
“I am definitely not the type of person to admit that there were not tears and frustration at times,” Lomas said. “But, I haven’t really given myself time to focus on the bad. You kind of lose yourself in the daily tasks and I had a lot going on in my life at the same time, which honestly helped.” Lomas said.
He decided to completely switch careers at the same time which ended up being one of the biggest cures for him. Lomas feels as though he’s back at school because he is learning so much. He has to be aware and on top of new tasks and that has truly become a medicine for him through his recovery.
Lomas is a man of many talents and one way he is battling this challenge is through his hilarious podcast with Paul Dawson, “Back of the Bird.” This podcast has been going on for a few months now and shares stories from around the league that gives fans a more personal feel for the athletes. Lomas wants fans to hear the funny and random stories that keep them all in it when they do face challenges.
“We all haven’t been able to play in so long and this podcast felt like you were stepping into a locker room again,” Lomas said. “Even before the injury, this felt like we were back doing what we love to do. It has been a huge creative outlet for me and I enjoy sharing who we are with our fans.”
As Lomas finds ways to cope with his injury, he is still a vital part of this team. He is a leader and will continue to show those attributes through the 2021-22 season. Not being able to participate on the floor as a leader can be tough because you can’t help push those around you and lead by example, but that isn’t what leadership is all about- especially not to Lomas.
“We have a culture that we want to uphold and that is a culture that expects to win,” Lomas said. “I know that I need to do everything I can to contribute whether that’s texting in the group chat, checking in on individuals or holding them accountable. I know that I have to make sure this team knows that I care and that I can be that light when things feel a little bit heavy.”
Lomas knows that with or without him, this team will continue to bring the fight needed to have a successful team. With anything in life there are and will be challenges, but he is the type of guy to take them head on and push-through with a positive mind-set. Finding his healthy outlets while maintaining his leadership will only help Lomas through his recovery and get back to being the gritty player that he is in the future. We cannot wait to see the Riptide faceoff this season, and we know that we can still count on Lomas to be the leader we know and love.