Austin Sellinger of Edward Little High School fires a shot during a game against Mt. Blue High School on April 26. Sellinger is wearing the No. 20 jersey of his teammate, Conner Travers. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

PARIS — Teenagers can be forgetful at times.

Take Edward Little boys lacrosse defenseman Austin Sellinger, for example. For the first game of the season, on April 26 against Mt. Blue, he packed his No. 2 maroon away jersey instead of his home white jersey.

Connor Travers before Edward Little lacrosse practice on Thursday. Travers was in a car accident this spring and missed the start of the boys lacrosse season, but he is now back with the team. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

His teammate and friend Connor Travers was injured in a car accident five days earlier, on April 21, and gave his No. 20 home jersey to another teammate, Zack Therriault, to bring to the game in case, by chance, someone else forgot theirs.

The Edward Little players wanted to honor Travers, who suffered a concussion in the accident, while he was sidelined. However, Red Eddies coach Tom Smith wouldn’t allow it because the roster, with each player’s jersey number, had just been finalized.

When Sellinger forgot his jersey, Smith had no other choice but to allow Sellinger to wear Travers’ jersey.

“Teenagers are teenagers, they will forget things,” Smith said. “I got all the ones here (on the team) and the ones that are mine at home. We know they are going to forget things, and Zach already had asked if he could wear the jersey to honor Connor. I told him no, but when … Austin forget his, I had no other choice.”

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Wearing Travers’ jersey was special for Sellinger because, not only are they close friends, but Travers recruited Sellinger from track and field to play lacrosse for their senior year of high school.

Sellinger had played lacrosse with Travers when the two were at Fairview Elementary School. They were also teammates on the Edward Little football team, but Sellinger couldn’t play this past fall because of an injury. Travers’ recruiting pitch to Sellinger was that lacrosse is a contact sport so he can hit people.

“He was one of the reasons why I played because this is my first year (playing on the varsity team),” Sellinger said. “I had a pretty decent game, too, and I did it in his jersey.”

Sellinger, a midfielder, scored his first two varsity goals in the 11-5 loss to Mt. Blue.

“Wearing No. 20, it was cool because he’s the one who convinced me to play; playing for him in that game meant a little more than playing for myself,” Sellinger said.

Having his No. 20 jersey on the field for the Red Eddies’ season opener cheered Travers up.

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“It actually made me feel pretty good,” Travers said. “I was glad because it felt like I was still there (with the team) even though I wasn’t able to be there.”

SUPPORTING TRAVERS

The team quickly stepped up to help Travers every way they could following his accident.

“I got a concussion, and I didn’t get any money from the accident because I only had liability (insurance),” Travers said. “I had to start working.”

Sellinger heard about the accident through Snapchat.

“I was scrolling through Snapchat, and he posted his car in his story,” Sellinger said. “I reached out to him instantly, and he told me about it.”

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One of the first things Smith did was make sure Travers still felt like he was a part of the team.

“Once you are a part of the team, you are always a part of the team,” Smith said. “That’s whether you are physically here or not. Again, when it’s something like that — which is completely out of his control — there’s nothing he could have done about it. Keeping in contact with him, we have had enough with COVID, we have missed enough sports, it really sucks for those guys to miss (games) for something else.”

Smith, who has coached Travers since middle school lacrosse, also said he’s a well-liked teammate.

Connor Travers of Edward Little High School cradles the ball during Wednesday’s game against Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Sellinger said the team missed Travers’ presence on and off the field.

“It affected our team, playing-wise, but it affected me more in practices and stuff,” Sellinger said. “I missed him. He makes the environment pretty fun. I appreciate having him back.”

Teammates, friends and family helped get Travers back on track with emotional and financial support.

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“I wouldn’t be here without my friends or my coaches, some of the parents, they helped, too,” Travers said. “I am very thankful for that. … I was in a tight situation, and I couldn’t get out without some help. They helped me.”

The financial support helped Travers purchase a Volkswagon.

“A couple of us chipped in. We got him some money to help out with his new car,” Sellinger said. “Other than that, we were talking to him, we missed him, and eventually he came back.”

Travers, a senior and defenseman, missed the team’s first four games but returned last Saturday to help the Red Eddies earn their first victory of the season, 11-2 over MCI/Nokomis.

“He’s a big personality, he’s having a blast while he’s out there, and that’s definitely contagious,” Smith said of Travers. “It’s an aggressive sport, and it gets intense when you have your defense and goalie trying to work together — sometimes it can get frustrating. To have a light-hearted guy like Connor, it breaks that up.”

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