Irony, usually abstract and subtle, was more obvious than the scoreboard Monday, the day of the final high school lacrosse game of the season at Dick North Field, the lawn of East Lyme High.
It was also the last lacrosse game on the natural grass, soon to be replaced by a de facto stadium, complete with new lights, bleachers, synthetic turf and other trimmings.
And to think it was the last time a Cohen would wear the home jersey: Madison Cohen, a senior girls' lacrosse player. Cohen. The synonymous surname with lacrosse in town. Cohen. Bruce and Sue, whose passions for the last decade helped catalyze the movement to get snazzy new turf.
That's the irony. The people who worked hardest for it watched their daughter play the last game at the old place, not the first game at the new one.
But then this is why lacrosse is one of the endeavors that gives East Lyme a center, a communal agreement, unlike the untethered bits of distractive noise in so many other bickering towns.
Bruce and Sue Cohen are leaving this better than the way they found it.
"That's what you're supposed to do," Bruce Cohen said as he watched Madison score four goals in the game that delivered the Vikings into the state semifinals.
Bruce Cohen was part of what he described as "a handful" of people who began the youth program in 2000. His son, Matt, played for the boys' varsity and recently graduated from Trinity. Madison, the captain, is headed to Wheaton. No doubt the Cohens will still attend East Lyme games. And next year they'll do it at the palatial field they helped create.
"There's always a bigger picture," Bruce Cohen said. "We've wanted to make (the turf field) a focal point for the community. Something to be proud of. We're very proud of East Lyme and the school system. We're proud of the kids who dedicate themselves to so many things.
"This is just another step," he said. "If you build something great, people will come. I'm thrilled it's finally happening. It was losing steam. It's seven years running. People did a lot of work."
Bruce Cohen named the names with the ease of counting to 10. Names like "Barner" and "Begin" and a handful of other families in town who have turned lacrosse into a pastime. No other sport in East Lyme is as responsible for the new field.
"To this day," he said, "they still come to games. They don't even have kids in the program."
There were an appreciable number of folks at Monday's game, despite rain and wind more suitable for April. Just as East Lyme had an annex in Foxborough on Memorial Day weekend at the NCAA Final Four. More than 200 from town enjoyed the games and sun. In their sport.
"We all share in the enthusiasm," Bruce Cohen said. "We had alumni, current players, family members … and we all just enjoyed each other's company."
Bruce spent Monday's game yelling encouragement to his daughter and taking a few pictures. Sue, meanwhile, provided the entertainment portion of the program. Her job, to keep the scorebook underneath the canopy, became secondary to her other missions: root, broadcast, officiate, narrate, discuss the weather, unload the occasional one-liner and manage to do so in only the most motherly way. She couldn't decide whether to refer to her daughter as "Madison" or "Cohen" for much of the game.
Sue Cohen is one of East Lyme's Everymoms, not just there for her kids, but everyone else's too. She became a bit teary after the national anthem, realizing the finality of the day and the finality of a chapter in her life. Her story is the story of so many parents: Their kids grew up around a sport. And then it's over. And then all the time spent, friends made and residual effects of fun and social occasions … what happens next?
It's doubtful the Cohens will be lonely. They have their town and their sport. The mind and heart don't demobilize quickly. But while the Cohens begin anew, other families begin their chapters with a first rate facility.
This is to inform them not to forget who was there at the beginning.
"This chapter has been very good to my family," Bruce Cohen said. "I think I'll take a piece of the grass home with me and plant it in the garden."
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro.