CHATHAM, NJ - It's a pregame ritual that has become Pat Cosgrove's theme song.
The Chatham boys lacrosse team has been playing Hustlin' by Rick Ross before games and it's safe to say that the line "Everyday I'm hustlin'" pretty much fits the longstick middie's actions on the field.
"You don't get a more intense guy than Coz," Chatham middie Timmy Adams said. "We put on Hustlin and Coz takes off his helmet and gets everyone fired up. He's a great guy and everyone on the team loves him."
Chatham played, perhaps, its most impressive game of the season last Saturday, scoring an 8-2 win over perennial state powerhouse Summit.
The Cougars got off to a fast start when Adams picked up a ground ball and passed it forward to a sprinting Cosgrove, who caught the ball on the run and passed to Mac Bredahl for a goal just 37 seconds into the game.
"Starting off a game like that was huge and it definitely boosted our confidence," Adams said.
Pat Cosgrove is the Hawk Allstate Chatham Athlete of the Week.
Leading up to the Summit game, Cosgrove had a goal and an assist vs. West Morris and an assist in a win over Bernards for a goal and three assists from his long pole position.
"He's athletic and plays very hard," Chatham coach Tony Calandra said. "He's got good skills and he has confidence in what he does. We take our long pole and send them on transition. We don't run them off the field. We give them the liberty to, if he's open, to keep going.
"He's a captain and he's definitely a vocal leader for us. He's also a spiritual leader. He's the guy who will pump up his teammates."
A three-year varsity player in both football and lacrosse, the Summit game was a big one in Cosgrove's mind since it was probably the last meeting against the Hilltoppers for him.
"I lost to them twice my sophomore year and once last year," Cosgrove said. "It was the last time we were going to play them, cross-town rivals. It was good to finally beat them my senior year.
"I have a passion for the game. I like the camaraderie. Winning games and celebrating with the team afterwards, it's a good time."
It's been a good time for Cougar sports fans in football and lacrosse during Cosgrove's tenure. A captain in both sports, he's been on the field for the biggest wins over the last three years. One such game was the the "Cougar Night" football win over West Essex last October when Adams scored with 18 seconds left to win the game, 22-21.
Cosgrove was out there playing with a dislocated thumb and had to have surgery soon after. Few players would have been out there in that condition, but it there was little doubt that Cosgrove would play in the game.
"He's probably the toughest kid I know," Adams said.
Cosgrove did have to miss time with the injury, but he came back to play with a cast. Later, he dislocated his elbow, but managed to come back and play the final game of the season.
"I shouldn't have played, but it was Cougar Night," Cosgrove said. "No matter what, I was playing. Then I hurt my elbow Senior Day and came back to play one last game with the boys."
Cosgrove comes from an athletic family and he credits his older siblings for toughening him up. The youngest of five, he's been Hustlin' to keep up with the rest of the family.
His oldest brother, Justin, played football at UPenn; his sister, Charlotte, played soccer at Hamilton; his other brother, Mack, played football at Susquehanna, and his sister, Margo, is at Union College.
"I got my competitive drive from getting into it with my brothers and sisters all the time," Cosgrove said. "They're all athletes themselves and they've all seen me play. They know I have some intensity out there. We're all very competitive.
"I try to get the team fired up before the games, keep everyone on the same page as a team. There are no individuals out there. We're all working for the same goal."
Editor's note: The Hawk Allstate Chatham Athlete of the Week is sponsored by the John Hawk Agency. John and his team have been protecting local families and business owners for over 12 years. Call them at 973-635-9494 for a new auto, home, life and business insurance quote this week and if you mention the Hawk Allstate Chatham Athlete of the Week they will make a $20 contribution to the Chatham Booster Club! To learn more, visit the agency website.