ALBANY — The first few times he practiced with the University at Albany men’s lacrosse team, sophomore Davis Diamond remembered the same thing happening.
“I couldn’t feel my fingers,” Diamond said.
A native of Boca Raton, Fla., Diamond just figured he had to get used to always being cold playing lacrosse in the Northeast and dealing with what came along with that.
Then, he noticed some of his teammates had a bit of blue sticking out from beneath their lacrosse gloves.
The next day, Diamond joined the ranks of Great Danes who wear disposable medical gloves under their lacrosse gloves to help keep his hands capable of functioning at a high level.
“I didn’t know that was a thing until I got here,” Diamond said. “Not until I got up here.”
Right now, it’s a key thing for the Great Danes, who often play and practice with temperatures in the 30s and 40s. On any given day at this point in the season for the nation’s top-ranked team, anywhere from a handful to a couple dozen Great Danes sport the extra layer depending on how cold temperatures get. Enough players use the disposable gloves that UAlbany assistant athletic trainer Pat Mars said that’s become a piece of equipment up to the players to supply for themselves.
“They’d just destroy my stash of them,” Mars said with a chuckle.
And the disposable gloves do work. They’re not just a placebo for the players, who typically practice wearing pants and sweatshirts until April comes along.
“Their [lacrosse] gloves all have holes in them and the wind can go right through them,” Mars said. “So, really, the [disposable] gloves are more of a wind-breaker than anything else, but once their hands are in them, their palms do get sweaty and the gloves hold that heat in there for them.”
“Your hands do start to sweat when you wear them because they’re so skin-tight,” UAlbany redshirt senior Brendan Chetuck said. “But they’re thin, too, so they don’t really affect how the stick feels in your hands.”
Not everyone agrees about that last part. Senior Connor Fields said sometimes he’ll wear the extra gloves during portions of practice or warmups, but only when he’s not required to use his stick at full speed.
“I can’t play with them on,” Fields said. “It feels slippery to me, but I know it doesn’t bother other guys.”
Instead, Fields — the nation’s leader in points per game heading into Saturday’s home matchup with Vermont — said he relies on hand warmers. During practices and pregame warmups, he keeps a hand warmer in each pocket of his pants, and throws his hands into his pockets whenever there’s a long enough break.
“And once your hands get sweaty,” Fields said, “you’re good to go.”
Before that happens? While playing inside a Tom & Mary Casey Stadium that has ample snow pushed into its corners, Mars laughed as he explained how the Great Danes don’t exactly hide how playing an outdoor sport during winter months makes them feel.
“They complain and cry about it a lot,” Mars said.