Reigning National Lacrosse League MVP Dan Dawson has made a career of overcoming challenges.
Whatever the goal —reaching the pros from a Canadian junior league, helping the expansion Blazers reach the playoffs in their first year — the 6-foot-5 Dawson has hit it.
But most pro athletes will never face his newest challenge: Balancing a high-level sports career with his position as a part-time firefighter.
After helping the Blazers to a 10-6 record and playoff berth in 2009, Dawson returned home to Brampton, Ontario, to begin work with the city fire department.
“The cohesiveness of lacrosse translates well to the department,” said Dawson, 28. “I … like the team aspect [of firefighting]. The transition was easy.”
Dawson readily acknowledges his two livelihoods represent very different worlds, but said he loves the idea of serving his community. Hailing from what he calls a blue-collar family, he jumped at the opportunity.
It’s not easy.
Unlike his firehouse comrades, Dawson has a wearying training schedule, splitting his time between Brampton and Boston every month.
Both employers, he said, have supported his unique situation. When the Blazers traveled to Toronto in January to play the Rock, 75 Brampton firefighters were in attendance, cheering on and getting after their newest recruit.
Dawson took it in stride, accepting his rookie status in the department.
“Of course they gave me a hard time,”?Dawson said. “I’m the new guy. But they respect what I’m doing.”
It’d be hard not to. The nine-year NLL veteran put up career numbers (30 goals, 74 assists) with Boston’s expansion team last year, earning league MVP honors.
This season, though, has been a bit of a struggle. The Blazers stumbled out of the gate, losing their first three games before beating Orlando at the Garden on Saturday.
Dawson has four goals and 10 assists.