After four years, Jackson Cummings finally gets his moment

‘He is the ultimate teammate’

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Eva Trainer/ Daily Collegian

By Colin McCarthy, Assistant Sports Editor

With time winding down in a blowout game at Garber Field, Massachusetts men’s lacrosse coach Greg Cannella sent his backup players onto the field, rewarding them for their hard work in practice with some time under the sun — or in Saturday’s case, time under the snow.

During those final moments on Saturday afternoon, Jackson Cummings cut towards the crease and attempted a shot that slipped past UMass Lowell’s goaltender and into the back of the net. His goal was meaningless to the outcome of the game but carried weight for himself and all of his teammates who ran to embrace “Sevens,” a nickname for the senior donning the No. 77 jersey.

“The team is happy for him … great to see [Cummings] find success there,” Cannella said of Cummings. “He has a job, and he doesn’t play a whole lot, [But] he is the ultimate teammate, always positive.”

The uproar on the sidelines was fitting for Cummings, who had just scored his first career goal.

The senior hasn’t seen much game action over the course of his career. As a freshman he only appeared in five games as a reserve attackman. He didn’t play at all during his sophomore year, partly due to COVID-19’s impact on that season, and only appeared in two games last season.

Cummings’ job has never been about making plays on game day. The role he plays is still crucial but isn’t always seen by fans of the Minutemen (1-1). For the past four years, the backup attacker has been tasked with making sure UMass’ starting defense is ready to handle anything opposing teams will throw at them. Whether that means mimicking the play style of an opposing player or running an offensive set that could be utilized against the Minutemen, Cummings does it all. And he doesn’t complain about the limited role, either, he just puts his head down and gets to work for the betterment of the team.

“He’s been a great scout guy for us, and that’s a hard thing, a lot of guys are on the scout team, and they feel like they’re getting shafted because they’re not playing,” Cannella said. “[Sometimes] they feel lesser than others and [Cummings] has never felt that way, he’s been a terrific leader for us over his four years.”

On a team with nearly 50 players on its roster and only 10 starting positions, Cummings hasn’t been able to crack into the lineup consistently, but that hasn’t discouraged him from showing up to practice and being the best player he can be. His goal is not so much to make himself better, but more to make the people around him better. Cummings can consider the entire team’s reaction to his goal-scoring moment a thank you note for all the hard work he’s put into his team since 2019.

There’s no telling whether Cummings will see game action when UMass takes on Boston University on Feb. 26. But one thing is certain: on Monday, the senior will lace up his cleats and continue to do his job. He’ll give Matt Knote and the Minutemen defense everything he has, and then he’ll get up the next day and do it all over again. Cummings might only be a scout player, but he’s embraced that role. And his teammates have embraced him.

Colin McCarthy can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @colinmccarth_DC.