Yeah, so tough week or so for the Philadelphia Box/Indoor community. I’d like to say we lost one of the longtime greats, but I think it’s more that we lost one of the truly unsung heroes. Frank Menschner lived and breathed box lacrosse. It’s who he was, and his passion for it was legendary.
I met Frank as a 17 year old kid. Looking for anywhere possible to play, someone told us about a box league that had sprouted up in South Philly, playing in Rizzo Rink literally underneath I-95. From the beginning, I felt part of the family. The league might’ve been a little rough around the edges, but Frank and Doreen Menschner were good people and it was clear that this was more than just a game, not only for them but for all of us.
After college, I made it onto Frank’s Reapers team. Doreen had shockingly passed away, but the Reaper family was so tight still. Rigney, Stewart, Nitti, Hogarth, Molnar, Fee & Fee. Not only the Scassero brothers, but the Scassero Mother and Sister as well, loyal to the bleachers and the tailgate. Later on adding Bo, Shea, Mundy. Catani the player/coach, then the manager directing the lines and pulling the strings.
I stopped playing over something stupid, as well as prematurely thinking I was too old. My last goal came against Frank and the Reapers team I wished I was still on. It was 15 years before I reconnected with Frank on Facebook, and as I planned out Lax Fmly, I wanted to run the idea by him as it was so close to what he stood for. We did lunch and he excitedly hit me up with t-shirt ideas as well as caught me up on all he was up to. The game he had given so much to seemed to finally be giving back with interest. I learned so much about Frank that I didn’t know, including his incredible relationship with the city of Prague. Two and a half hours passed beautifully. This was Sunday, April 12 – two weeks before this year’s Prague trip and a month before he passed away.
When we departed, I got two souvenirs. One was a picture of the two of us that only happened because Frank remembered to ask a waiter to take it. The other was an extra Reapers jersey that Frank had in his car (and thankfully not in his goalie bag). What seemed like two simple, pedestrian acts are now much, much more. I had looked forward to continuing the conversation over the summer, and to attending a number of lax events that Frank would be participating in. Instead, tomorrow night I’ll gather with the people mentioned above, and many more from the lacrosse family that we’re forever a part of. The tears and laughter will mix; I expect to be humbled by the emotion.
You can read Frank’s obituary here.
It’s worth the time, and he’s worth the time. He was a good man, a great teammate and the best for some laughs when hanging out afterwards. He will be missed.