WOLFEBORO - The opportunity to pursue something you love and to get paid doing it doesn't come all the time.
For Keene State graduate Michael Fontaine, that possibility is closer than he could've ever imagined.
Fontaine, who graduated from Kingswood in 2002, has been invited to tryout for the Washington Bayhawks of Major League Lacrosse.
"It's an opportunity of a lifetime. It's what I've always wanted," Fontaine said. "To be able to be paid to do what you love is a dream come true."
Fontaine played football, basketball and lacrosse during his time at Kingswood and after graduating, did a postgraduate year at Bridgton Academy in Maine, where he continued his lacrosse career.
After leaving Bridgton, Fontaine headed to Eastern Connecticut State for his freshman year of college, and then transferred to Keene State College, where he played three years of lacrosse for the Owls.
During his junior campaign, the team was ranked 17th in the nation in Division III and finished at 16-1.
After finishing up his collegiate career, Fontaine was entered into the Major League Lacrosse draft, but wasn't chosen, but recently, a phone call and an e-mail opened up a second opportunity for the former Knight.
"I didn't want to regret anything," he said. It's still a long shot, but I am going to try my best and leave it out on the field."
Fontaine and 49 other players have been invited to try out for the team and earn a contract for the team, based out of Maryland.
The thing that makes it a bit tougher is the fact that those 50 guys will be battling for a total of five positions with the team.
Fontaine, who still has one semester left of school, has taken a year off from college and is currently living in Jackson Hole, Wyo. He is working and skiing and snowboarding in the Grand Tetons every day as he prepares for his chance to break into the world of professional lacrosse.
"It's a pretty exciting time right now," Fontaine continued. "Being from a small town in New Hampshire, I never thought this would happen."
The tryouts for the Bayhawks will take place the weekend of Feb. 28. Fontaine has to pay his own way to the tryouts, but knew there was no way he was going to miss out on this chance to chase his dreams.
He will be heading back east in a few weeks, checking in with his parents and friends in Wolfeboro before heading towards the Chesapeake Bay area for the tryouts.
While nothing is certain, Fontaine is grateful for the support of his parents and friends that has allowed him to chase this dream.
"I really want to thank my parents and friends for supporting me and giving me this opportunity," he said.
And as the cold of February turns into the chill of March, Fontaine will be trying to heat up his lacrosse career near the nation's capital.
For more information on the country's premier lacrosse league, Major League Lacrosse, visit www.majorleaguelacrosse.com. Major League Lacrosse features 10 teams across the country, including the Bayhawks, the Boston Cannons, the Long Island Lizards, the New Jersey Pride, the Philadelphia Barrage, the Chicago Machine, the Denver Outlaws, the LA Riptide, the San Francisco Dragons and the 2008 league champion Rochester (N.Y.) Rattlers.
(Courtesy Josh Spaulding, Sports Editor- Granite State News)