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70 Teams Compete In John Mack Southern Tier Shootout

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Players of all ages participated in the 12th annual John Mack Southern Tier Shootout this weekend. The largest indoor lacrosse event in the country was held at the Greater Binghamton Sports Complex.

Formerly a local competition, the charity event was renamed 12 years ago to honor the late John Mack, a Binghamton High School senior who passed away during a lacrosse game. After going into cardiac arrest, Mack waited 19 minutes for an automated external defibrillator (AED) to arrive. Mack participated in the inaugural tournament 13 years ago.

The John Mack Foundation provides AED’s for sports clubs, non-profit organizations, and other facilities in the community that are in need of them. Mack’s uncle and tournament director, Robert Mack, said the event gives players an opportunity to warm-up for the new season.

“It’s three weeks away from when the season starts. A lot of teams are coming out of winter sports, maybe basketball, hockey, so this is their tournament to get the dust off the sticks and let these folks come out and really start to get warmed up for the season,” said Mack.

Teams traveled from as far as North Carolina to participate. For four years, Coach Bobby Selkin has brought Charlotte Secondary High School’s lacrosse team to Binghamton for the weekend.

“It’s really one of the highlights of the season for our players,” said Selkin. “I think the main thing we learn is that you know, we get on the field, we want to compete hard, we want to win. But at the end of the day, even if we’ve lost that game, we’re playing for a bigger purpose. We’re playing to honor the memory of John Mack.”

Mack began playing lacrosse when he was four years old and likely would have pursued it in college. Mack’s uncle said that John would have enjoyed this weekend.

“He’d be up here, either reffing, coaching, or something. He just loved the game,” said Mack.

His nephew continues to inspire athletes that play in his honor.

“He was the nicest young man you could have met. I never met a soul, not a player, not a coach, not a teacher who didn’t think the world of him. He was a very talented artist, he was a poet. He just was a very sensitive, beautiful young man. It would have been nice to see where his life would have been right now but that’s sometimes how it goes. And it is nice that at least we can keep his name in memory alive by doing things like this.”

To make a donation to the John Mack Foundation or request an AED, please visit their website.