One of the great things about the sport of lacrosse is size truly does not matter. It takes a variety of factors to excel on the lax field, such as speed, toughness, intelligence, and perseverance. Mike Francia, a freshman on the Villanova men's lacrosse team, certainly can relate to the perseverance factor, not only on the field but off as well. When Mike was 9 years old, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, which for many kids at that age, would be a devastating blow. For Francia, though, his parents played a big part in maintaining a positive attitude.
"I think if it would have happened to me at this age I would have taken it a lot worse. I understood what was going on and my parents were very good about it and explaining what I would be going through."
After enduring 9 months of chemotherapy and 1 month of radiation, Mike beat the cancer that tried to derail his life. Soon thereafter, Francia picked up a lacrosse stick, which was certainly the right move looking back on it.
"Once I started playing I fell in love with it and always wanted to have a lacrosse stick in my hand."
After a very successful high school career at Wilton High School in Connecticut, where he amassed the most points in school history, Francia is beginning a new chapter at Villanova as an attackmen.
"You just have to realize that you're lucky to play on the Villanova field each day, go to school at Villanova. I'm one of the luckiest kids in the country, so I try not to take that for granted."
Although only a freshman, he is quite humble, and it sounds like his impact on the Villanova Stadium turf may be felt this year. I don't think his high school coach, John Wiseman, would be surprised by this.
"I think everybody knew of him, but there might have been some doubt due to his size. I don't think anyone questioned his ability. People have been saying that about Mike Francia his whole life and he's proved them wrong every time. I'm not sure I'd bet against him."