July 5, 2011
The following article appeared on InsideLacrosse.com on July 4, 2011.
WEST POINT, N.Y. - For Adam Fullerton, making the save is what it's all about. And to most, the difference between a lacrosse ball and a United States Military plane is night and day. For Fullerton, the only difference is whether he did his job that day or not; whether he made the save.
A 2008 graduate from West Point, Fullerton is currently on a hiatus from his Major Lacrosse League goaltending career while he serves as First Lieutenant in the United States Army on deployment in Afghanistan.
It was difficult to walk away from playing this season, but I knew this would eventually have to happen, said Fullerton, who has been deployed for more than a month now. "From the start my priority has been my job, serving the Army. Although I have been serving in the Army for the last three years, I had not had an opportunity to deploy until now.
"To most soldiers, the opportunity to deploy validates your time in service so I welcomed the new experience.
An experience still all too familiar for Fullerton whose twin brother Patrick, a former attackman for Army, already has been over to Iraq along with former Army and Denver Outlaw teammate Justin Bokmeyer, who recently returned from his stint in Iraq in time for the 2011 MLL season.
"My brother told me lots of stories about his time over there, and Justin and I were able to trade off questions about deployment and about playing in the MLL," said Fullerton, who has enjoyed four seasons in the MLL. "He asked a lot of questions about playing in the MLL, and I asked him a lot of questions about deploying."
Drafted by Rochester in 2008, Fullerton has been with the Outlaws the past three seasons seeing limited action behind goaltender Jesse Schwartzman. But on May 21 in Denver's game against rival Boston, Fullerton felt the support from his entire team and country.
"Coach's decision to put me in during the Boston game on Military Appreciation Night and to give me one last shot to play was a great way to go out," said Fullerton, who played the entire fourth quarter and held on for the Outlaws' win, 13-12. "My team and our fans in Denver have always been extremely supportive from Day 1 and there [at Harvard Stadium] the Boston fans were also extremely supportive as they chanted `Good Luck Fullerton' after the game. It was one of those games I will never forget."
And while his career is put on pause for the next year as his focuses on stopping shots aimed at U.S. military aircrafts instead of ones aimed at the back of his net, Fullerton is convinced it won't set him back one bit.
"About a month before I deployed, I packed a box full of personal items and sent it over and of course included my lacrosse stick and balls," he said. "Unfortunately the box has not arrived yet, but as soon as it surfaces again I will definitely get the stick out and start throwing around."
"My roommate Erick actually played club lacrosse at ODU and has a stick here already so I will always have someone to play catch "