SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A former midfielder on the Union College men’s lacrosse team has found a new role after his cancer went into remission.
Last year, Nate Greenberg was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a form of cancer that ended his lacrosse career. Though he can no longer play the game he loves, he may still be one of the most influential voices on the roster.
When Greenberg talks, the team listens. One example, when Union was trailing in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament at the half to Nazareth.
“He brought us all in and gave us the halftime speech, and when words are coming from him, I mean at halftime, I had tears in my eyes,” senior midfielder Connor Hall said. “You don’t get more hyped than that.”
Greenberg’s message? The tougher team is going to win. His speech ignited the Dutchmen to a 15-12 victory.
The word ‘tough’ described Greenberg to a ‘T’ after his battle with cancer.
“When he came back for games, he was pale and frail and skinny, and he wasn’t the young man that left us,” Union head coach Paul Wehrum said.
But a year later, Greenberg is in remission and back with his team as a midfielder coach.
“This is my time to give back to them what they gave to me,” he said.
Greenberg still has tough days, and unfortunately will not play lacrosse again. But the whole ordeal has given him a new outlook on life.
“I’m just way more focused cause I know what the other side is, and I’ve been close, so you know, every day is a gift,” he said.
It’s a gift that is giving him a once in a lifetime opportunity to be the key note speaker at graduation.
“That was like scoring my first goal versus RIT, to be honest,” he said. “I’ve never felt anything like that, and coming from the year I’ve had hitting that accomplishment was like nothing else.”
Greenberg will be back on the sidelines this weekend as Union travels to RIT in the second round of the NCAA Tournament as the Dutchmen try to upset the top-ranked Tigers.