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Norwood - Local Town Pages

James Norton, From Player to Mentor

By Christopher Tremblay
James Norton was relatively young, he believes around kindergarten or first grade, when he picked up a lacrosse stick for the very first time, and it wasn’t long after he realized that he found his sport.


“All the older kids in the neighborhood were playing, so I decided to give it a try,” Norton said. “I found that it was a fun sport, sort of a mixture of many sports and I stuck with it. It’s a sport where everyone comes together for the benefit of one another and the team.”
In the early days, the Norwood native found himself playing midfield but come middle school he made the move to attack, a position he has held ever since. 
“The coaches were looking for someone to play the position and I felt that I had good stick skills,” Norton said. “So, we came to a mutual agreement that I move into the attack position.”
Leading up to high school, the now Norwood junior hooked up with the club team Laxachusetts where he would patrol the field for five years. Just before entering high school, he wasn’t feeling club lacrosse any more and left the team to focus on his high school career.
Although confident in his ability to play the sport on the high school level, he admitted that he went into the tryouts a little scared. Norton felt that he was much smaller and undersized compared to most of the upper classmen already on the team. Despite the skepticism, he went into the tryouts hoping to do well and not let his smaller stature get in his way. 
Having made the cut to play on the varsity team was a great feeling for the freshman, but although he was a member of the Mustang lacrosse team, he didn’t see that much playing time that season. 
“I understood that I was a freshman and we had a very talented team that season,” Norton said. “I did start to show the coaches my skills during man-ups and whenever I got the chance to be on the field I gave it everything that I had to show that I belonged and could play the game.”
During the off-season, he really didn’t have time to work on his game. He did shoot around a bit and got to the gym occasionally, but not as much as he would have liked due to work. However, the lack of preparation was not going to deter him from getting more playing time in his second season with Norwood.
“I was hoping to do more for the team that year as a starter,” Norton said. “Unfortunately, during our first scrimmage I broke my wrist, but didn’t know it. I had landed on it weird and a few days later when we had our next scrimmage it was still painful, so we had it looked at and found that it was broken.”
With the injury, the sophomore would have to wait to begin his season and would sit on the bench with his wrist in a cast for the first five games. 
“It stunk, we were already missing a lot of players and I really wanted to come back and get onto the field so badly,” the junior said. “As soon as that cast came off I was eager to get playing, but my wrist was really weak so I had a lot of work to do. Being a righty, my left wrist got a lot stronger during that time.”
Coming into his junior campaign, Norton was looking to be a leader on the team, especially with the squad being made up of a lot of incoming freshman players. Not only did the junior become a leader, he and his upperclassmen also found they were somewhat of a coach as well.
“Coach (Mark) Nardelli, the previous coach, got a promotion at work and was no longer able to come to a lot of the games or practices so the school had to look for a new coach,” Norton said. “Ther was no one applying for the job so a teacher from the school, Mr. Lockert, stepped up to coach us, but he knew nothing about the game. We had to tell him what was going on, but he’s been putting in the work and learning.”

Norton went on to say that the Mustangs were not supposed to have a great year this season having lost a large number of seniors to graduation, but the team has been able to secure a few wins thus far. The biggest win came against their rival, Dedham, who was looking to walk all over Norwood. Luckily the Mustangs were on their game that day and came out victorious by 10 goals.
“For the rest of the season I’m hoping that we can put together a few more wins,” Norton said. “Myself, I want to move the ball quicker and find that open man.”
As Norton and his teammates round out the season, hopefully adding a few more wins along the way, they are also looking to get better while giving the newer players some experience so that they can come back next spring ready to battle for the Tri-Valley League title as well as earning a spot in the State Tournament.