Playing (and Computing) with a Full Deck

Chris Deck has seen a lot of changes throughout his four year tenure with the team. From the team’s slow beginnings to the eventual shift in focus, the senior computer science major from Robbinsville, New Jersey, has watched his team transform into the formidable force it has become. Deck has in-turn, watched himself growing alongside it. Whether it was on the field or in the classroom, Deck developed over those four years and has matured into a young-man with a little over a month left until graduation. Deck sat down to chat about his experiences as a computer science major, his plans for the future, and of course, his journey with the team.

How do you like the weather lately?

CD: “It’s been pretty crazy. Mother Nature wants to fit all four seasons into one month.”

RP: “Yeah, we’re going from, I think, 63 degrees to 43 degrees.”

CD: “It’s going to be snowing tomorrow.”

RP: “Yeah? How do you feel about that? Is that kind of crazy for you?”

CD: “Yeah, I mean, you know a lot of people get sick from this kind of weather. I know I got sick for a couple of days. I had to miss practice because the changing of the weather always gets me messed up. From 70 degrees to 20 degrees.”

What sports team are you typically rooting for around this time of year?

CD: “So, football season’s done. So, I’m a New York sports fan, so right now I’m with the Rangers. I really don’t follow basketball as much. The Knicks kind of….they’re not the team I want to root for but they’re a New York guy, so that’s who I have to, and then, spring training for baseball’s coming up. I’m actually going to try to go see a spring training Yankees game in Florida when I go away for a couple of days.”

How is the second semester of your last year of college treating you?

CD: “It’s going pretty well. It’s bittersweet. It’s almost done so I can be out in the real world and making some real money and work at the job I’ve been dreaming of, but, at the same time, college is good. People are always around. You have some more flexibility and free time. There’s all the clubs and intramurals going on and it’s going to be tough to leave but it’s time.”

RP: “Well, I’m not sure if you know this yet, but we have I think, two months and two days of this semester.”

CD: “Yeah, you’re right.”

RP: “So, how do you feel when people count down the days for you like that?”

CD: “I don’t like the countdown. It’ll just sneak up on me and then the last week I’ll go “wow, it’s over.” I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not but it usually hits you by surprise at the end.

RP: It usually does, right? It’s like wow, I feel like I just came into college.”

Are you happy with where you are with your life is right now?

CD: “Yeah, I’m pretty happy, I’ve got a job lined up for me when I get out of school. I played lacrosse all four years here at Rowan. I studied, and got a good GPA and made some friends and memories that I won’t forget.”

RP: “What do you have lined up for after school?”

CD: “I’m going to be a….technically it’s called a “business systems analyst three” at TD Bank. I’m going to be doing like cyber-security work.”

RP: “That’s going to be some pretty intense stuff then, huh?”

CD: “Yeah.”

RP: “So, how did you get into that?”

CD: “So, obviously, I’m a computer science major and I took a specialization in cyber-security. Took about three classes, Data Communications Networking, Ethical Hacking and Pen Testing, and now I’m taking Security Applications and those three classes helped me with my internship at TD Bank last year to land that job. I got the internship actually at the job fair here last year.”

RP: “That’s good. Yeah, a lot of people some good links from the career fair here.”

CD: “I didn’t go for TD Bank. I had a list of companies that I wanted to talk to and they just happened to be there and so, I didn’t know that that could be an option and then I went down there and that’s where I ended up and that’s why I love it.”

How has your identity as a computer science major been developing for the past four years?

CD: “So, I’m not the typical computer science major one might think of. They think drinks energy drinks, always up late on Reddit, and maybe socially awkward but I know what I’m doing and I love it and I never thought twice about my path as a computer science major. It’s why I came into college knowing I wanted to do something with computers and that’s why I made it happen.”

What excites you about computer science?

CD: “The fact that you can literally make anything. That the possibilities are endless right now. I’m working on an app that I’m going to release and my friends are going to be able to use it. That’s really cool, like the ability to make something that other people around you can actually use and for their benefit and not just to make you happy, and then cyber-security really it’s interesting because of all of the exploits and hacks that you don’t think that should be possible but you find out every day that there’s a new thing that people can do and it’s really cool to see how people can get into your network and then obviously, I’ll be working to make them not. It’s the competitive edge in me. I want to be the better person.”

What was it like growing up? What kind of kid were you?

CD: “I was sporty and straight-edge. Most kids in high school, you know, they probably drank alcohol underage and high school partied. What I was doing was I would go to school, I’d come home and I’d do my homework then I’d go to hockey or lacrosse practice and when I came home I would watch my favorite show on T.V., grab a snack, go to sleep, and then hang out with my friends on the weekends or if I had time after all my stuff was done during the week I’d hang out with them. Didn’t party much, didn’t drink at all. Nothing like that until I got into college. So, I liked my childhood, it was good.”

What excites you about lacrosse?

CD: “I never knew about lacrosse until 5th grade. My next-door neighbor got me into it. He was playing since he was in like 2nd grade and they originally stuck me on defense. I had a 5ft pole because I wasn’t tall enough to handle a real pole and I don’t know, I just fell in love it with it. It was just really fun and adrenaline always pumping and I liked it. I ended up being good enough to play in college club here at Rowan. I don’t know, it’s just unlike any other sport to me.

RP: So, what excites you about the team here?”

CD: “Well, we have a great group of guys here. They’re all motivated, they all want to be here. No one’s just thinking of the party afterward or no one’s thinking “oh, I’m just here to get girls” or anything like that. We’re here to play lacrosse and that’s first and we all become kind of brothers and it’s a good family we got here.”

RP: “Oh, absolutely.”

What kind of role do you feel you play on the team?

CD: “See, in the beginning, we didn’t have a lot of people, so my role was kind of elevated. I think we had like two subs so everyone had to do everything. Now, I’m more of a role-player, trying to facilitate the offense, you know, maybe take a dodge, pass the ball to the open guy, and hustle because I’m a middie, so I have to go back-and-forth to be able to play defense and offense. So, I’m not the super-star on the team. I’m just here to do my job and help us win.”

Do you have any funny memories from being on the team?

CD: “Funny memories…You know a lot of crazy stuff happens, like Gorzynski brought a flag that said “Saturday Are For the Boys.” Didn’t know that was going to happen.”

RP: “That was awesome.”

CD: “I’d say, if I could, could I change the question to “best memory?””

RP: “Sure.”

CD: “When we beat West Chester for the first time in a double-header against West Chester and Cabrini, I think it was two years ago, my sophomore year. We played Cabrini and West Chester, beat West Chester four to two, for the first time in our school history, and everyone got together and we all just celebrated afterwards and it was the first best day of Rowan lacrosse when we made history and beat them. That was really good for us, because last time I think, we played them before that, we lost 17 to 1.”

RP: “Wow.”

CD: “So, it was really good to come back and actually win.”

What was the toughest game for you to play so far?

CD: “Toughest game I’ve played so far was when we played West Chester in the playoffs last year. So, they were a really good team. I was dealing with injuries, trying to power through them, not doing so well. I think we were only down one at halftime but it kind of fell apart after that and that was a big and game and I want to be able to go back to playoffs and be able to rewrite history and get through it and go to the national championship this year.”

RP: “That’d be really great.”

How do you think the team has changed since you first got onto it?

CD: “So, when I first got onto it, it was more of a beer-team. Everyone was just wanting to party, everyone was just there to goof around, no one was really serious. I think my freshman year we had three games. Granted we had seven scheduled maybe and a lot of it got rained out but we only played like three games and when Rob Zybrick took over, he really made the team something else. He got the games scheduled, the refs were always there, he got the team motivated and actually ready to play, and it was really crazy to see the turnaround from my freshman year until now when we went from kind of a joke to we’re on the map, our school respects us, and we’re doing well.”

RP: “You really are.”

How would you describe your playing style?

CD: “My playing style is odd. So, I am not fundamentally-sound in any sense of the word. My friends in high school always told me that what I did never seemed right but it usually works. So, I always kind of seem like my dodges, the way I see things, they always seemed odd and not fundamental. So, that’s how I’d describe that.”

Do you think other teams are surprised by your size as a middie?

CD: “I think so. Most middies aren’t pretty big. I mean, I wasn’t always this big. I gained a lot of weight in college from weightlifting and eating and drinking but I never was always this big and I imagine that teams are surprised when they see a middie like that.”

RP: “I’m sure they were surprised when they saw Alex Muholland for the first time.”

CD: “Muholland was a tank. He’s a tank.”

 If you could, what professional lacrosse player would you want to meet?

CD: “That’s a tough question, I never really thought about that. I would want to meet Gary Gait because I just want to know how he even thought to pull that move off. How he even did it because it’s just a miraculous set of athleticism and skill. To be able to do that takes the balls and confidence to know you can do that.”

 

 How do you hope to look back at Rowan when you’re all done?

CD: “I hope to look back at it as a great four-year experience to set me up for success for the rest of my life. Cherish cool memories with lacrosse and education and ultimately a good decision and not something I regret.”

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