We of the Lincoln-Sudbury Lacrosse community wish to express our deepest condolences to the family of Yoshitaka Ando, our beloved trainer since 1987. We also wish to express our gratitude for his unrivaled service to our program and its athletes for the past 32 years. In addition to keeping our players healthy, strong and in the game, he was an expert coach and strategist on the field and a true wizard off of it, stringing sticks and nets, dispensing advice and wisdom, and, always, reveling in the shared joy of the LS lacrosse experience.
Ando was a paragon of our program’s values of hard work and respect- he embodied them, he taught them, and he inspired them. He was not only meticulous in his preparation, but his deep devotion to LS athletes manifested in myriad ways- in trips to the hospital with injured players, in early mornings before school opening the gym for training sessions, in visits to college games to watch alumni play. Occasionally he might have shown up at a player’s house in search of unreturned equipment; indeed, his love for the program knew no boundaries.
Though Ando was a collegiate football player, he fell in love with lacrosse when he took the Athletic Trainer position at LS, and, in the 32 years since then, he became an institution and an icon. From his days working at the Peak Lacrosse camps in the 90s, he quickly connected with many of the game’s top coaches and even trained the Japanese National Team in the 1994 World Games. Everyone in the lacrosse world loves Ando; consequently, he is akin to a celebrity when he arrives at college and pro games. And, always, his name is bellowed with the same enthusiasm and love he brought to the game, wherever he was. Indeed, Ando’s presence was on college and pro lacrosse fields across the country, as many LS lax alums insisted on playing with sticks he strung, shipping heads overnight so the Ando pocket would be ready to go by Saturday. Yosh was everywhere.
Ando’s love of our players and of our game was unrivaled, and his enthusiasm and spirit radiated across the fields of LS. Seats in his office were coveted; while no one liked missing time or being injured, everyone loved hanging out in the training room. Either with cleats on or cleats off, sitting with Ando was the place to be. When his sons Lucas, Kyle and Marcus and daughter Olivia came of age, he proudly took on the role of coach officially, and he was a devoted coach in the LS youth lacrosse program.
An invaluable link from the illustrious LS past to the present, he was the living institutional memory of the program. With every uniform he passed out, he recalled who in the past wore the jersey, what kind of a player and person they were, what they went on to do, and, most importantly, what it meant to wear their number. This process was formalized in 2010 with the annual ceremony, but it was always an Ando thing and, going forward, will be one of the many lasting contributions he made to the LS Lax program and the young men who came through it. In that way, his demand of hard work from players, his expectation that they respect and honor those who came before them came to define the core values of the program.
LS lacrosse has been incredibly fortunate to have such an extraordinary individual serve our program in so many ways for so many years. His heart was immense, and his legacy is immense as well. Yoshitaka Ando will continue to be an integral presence in the LS lacrosse community in all the years to come. You were never farther than a good holler away, and you’ll remain in a cherished place in the hearts of so many.
It would be impossible to count the number of times we’ve said “Thanks, Yosh,” but we want to say it one more time. We remain eternally grateful for all you’ve done for all these years. We love you.