WEST ORANGE, NJ - Hundreds of Lacrosse players from around the area, along with family and friends, came out for the First Annual Brendan Tevlin Lacrosse Festival on Saturday, August 2 at Seton Hall Prep Athletic Field. With good will and love, a community deeply saddened by the loss of a beloved son, brother, and friend, paid homage to Brendan Tevlin and his spirit.
The Essex Shillelagh and South Park & District Pipes and Drums opened the ceremonies. Entertainment was was provided by Scott Sim and Paddy O'Neill of the Captain and O'Neill and Poor Paddy featuring Mike McDermott.
"Saturday ended up being the perfect day," said Ciara McGovern. "Brendan brought the sun out just in time for the tournament to start and the boys played a great game. Everyone who came out to support the Tevlins today goes to show just how many people loved Brendan."
Rich Shahpazian, one of Brendan's friends and one of the event organizers, said, "The event was both a fundraiser for the Tevlin Family and a memorial to honor Brendan. Our intention to start this was because the last time I saw Brendan (the night before he was killed) he told me he wanted to have a pick-up lacrosse game with all the guys."
Shahpazian said, "Adults, college, and high school students signed up to play in two games. The volunteer coaches were Mr. Kirst and Mr. Barrett. We kept score in both games, but to be honest I forget who won."
"This event will absolutely be annual," Shahpazian continued. Brendan was a best friend to my friends and I, he was always the one who we looked up to, and for most of the time we followed his lead. He was a mature young man who touched the lives of so many people, and that was apparent with the huge turn out at the festival."
Brian Crann, a West Orange High School junior who is the goalie for varsity LAX, signed up to participate in the games. Crann was representative of the West Orange Community grieved by Tevlin's death.
"The 2014 Brendan Tevlin Lacrosse Festival was a tremendously successful tribute to Brendan Tevlin," Crann said. "It brought schools and players together in a fun, competitive set of games. I was honored to participate in the first year of this annual event and would like to continue to take part in future years."
Crann continued, "The festival continued at the Shillelagh Club after the games with a barbecue and lots of mingling. I made many new friends and had a great time playing, and this will continue to be a great tribute to Brendan for many years to come."
Noel O'Keefe organized the post game barbecue at the Shillelagh Club. He said, "The Tevlin and Mcnulty families have been a vital part of our club/family and the West Orange Irish community for well over 40 years. The Shillelagh Club was more than happy to be a small part of a magical day."
(Editor's Note: Tap into West Orange would like to thank Caitlin O'Keefe and her mom, Janet O'Keefe Burke, for their help with this article.)