David Auday remembers getting call after call from a man eager to join his coaching staff with the Monarch lacrosse program.
“He gave me a call and wanted to hear about Monarch lacrosse,” Auday said. “When we met in my office, at that moment I knew I needed to get him on my staff.”
The man calling was Dax Roane, a man who had the passion for lacrosse. He played the sport his entire life and continued to play in adult leagues in Colorado. Auday gave him a chance to join the coaching staff and the two formed a coaching partnership that spanned more than 16 years together.
Roane’s wife, Jen, learned how important lacrosse was to him when the two began seeing each other while he was working at the ChopHouse & Brewery in Denver.
“He always looked forward to lacrosse season,” Jen said. “When we first met, he would always say lacrosse is in the spring. But when we were together, it always seemed to be more year-round for him. When spring did come around, it was such a great time, and he was so excited for each season.”
Dax served as the offensive coordinator under Auday and the two helped Monarch become a Front Range League contender and a playoff contender on a yearly basis together. Perhaps the biggest impact he had on the team each season was that he was in charge of planning the team’s spring break travel trips. Some of the trips the team has made over the years include Florida, California and Pennsylvania.
His trips were memorable in many ways, but the one that stands out the most for Auday came five years ago when they traveled to Pennsylvania, an area Auday grew up. Monarch played Auday’s old high school, Harriton, in the final game of the trip and won 12-4, completing a 3-0 week that included a 6-5 win over William Penn Charter and a 14-9 win over Gloucester Catholic.
“Five years ago, he said we should go to Philadelphia where I’m from and play my old high school,” Auday said. “I had never thought of that. I was teary eyed and told him I owed him for making a dream come true of playing my old high school.”
Lacrosse was the passion many people observed, but his first true love was his family. Dax and Jen eventually got married and had three children together. Stella, the oldest, is a freshman at Broomfield High School and was listed on the varsity roster for the girls soccer team. Charley, the middle child, plays lacrosse like his father, and the youngest of the three is Lucy.
Dax helped raise his children to see their full potential and showed them that working hard would open many doors in their lives.
“He could be hard on me sometimes, but now that I look back at it, I’m thankful for it,” Stella said. “He always pushed me to be the best I could be. He showed me that you could not settle for anything. I’m thankful for that. It got me to a place where I’m at today and formed me into the person that I am.”
In 2018, Dax’s life drastically changed. When he and the family returned from a summer trip out east, he felt a numbing sensation in his body. That September, he went to visit a doctor for an examination to figure out what was going on. It was then he learned that he had a brain tumor and would need to undergo surgery, which happened in October.
“He had brain surgery, and towards the end of the month he was diagnosed with his anaplastic astrocytoma,” Jen said. “It was really tough for him. Where this tumor was, it really affected his ability to walk. He couldn’t play lacrosse anymore, and coaching was hard on him.”
After completing the surgery, Dax underwent an aggressive treatment plan that included radiation and a year-long chemotherapy play for 2019. He had to give up playing lacrosse with the diagnosis. Coaching also became tough as he struggled to stand for long periods, so he spent most of his time in the press box for games in the 2019 season.
The lacrosse community in Colorado honored Dax and recognized him last summer after learning of his diagnosis. He received a Colorado Lacrosse Person of the Year award and accepted it at an All-State game in person.
“Dax’s mom came out and it was awesome to see,” Auday said. “It was great seeing him walk out on the field. Everybody there was tearing up.”
As time passed, his health worsened. Dax had trouble getting up some days and would be stuck in bed, and most days were hard to move around.
“I was fortunate enough to see him three times in about three-week period before he passed,” Auday said. “I was able to say my goodbyes that way. The last time I saw him he wasn’t able to talk. The other two times, his wife was brave and shared with me that whenever I came in to say hi, he was so excited and would get loud and up for them.”
Dax passed away from his battle with brain cancer on March 7. That Saturday was the first scrimmage of the 2020 season for both the Monarch lacrosse team and for his daughter Stella with the Broomfield girls soccer team.
“I want people to remember kind of person he was and how he impacted people’s lives through lacrosse and all the things he did,” Stella said. “I want them to remember how he never saw anything as a lost cause. He meant so much to all of us and pushed us all to become better.”
Honoring coach Roane on hold
Dax and Jen had a discussion about bringing loved ones together to celebrate his birthday. They set a time in May to do the party before he passed away. May 30 is now the tentative date that celebration of life will take place to honor Dax.
“We weren’t going to have an actual funeral,” Jen said. “His birthday is in May and we thought we would have a big party then with friends. I decided to still have that celebration of life rather than a funeral. I have some things tentatively scheduled, but not sure it will happen or not. We will have something.”
Two days after the first scrimmage of the season, the Monarch lacrosse team came together for its first practice since their assistant coach passed away. The practice was tough and filled with tears and heavy emotions for Auday and his team. They were scheduled to play their first game of the regular season three days later versus Dakota Ridge.
Though they never said it aloud, the team was planning to honor Dax during the 2020 season and to play for him.
“It was unspoken, but the way things were going to be, it was to honor him,” Auday said. “We were designing a decal to put on the back of our helmets for him.”
But before the team could put those decals on their helmets and take the field, the spring sports season was halted due to COVID-19. The team only had a few days together to grieve before schools were shut down and everyone was sent home to social distance and transition to online learning this week. The chance of playing on the field in his honor this season remains uncertain with the ongoing pandemic.
Though disappointed his team is currently not playing, Auday says the celebration of life in May will be a great opportunity for the team and many more to remember Dax. Auday plans to share a clip from YouTube of his team in a playoff win back in 2015 that includes Dax storming the field with the team after they completed a six-goal comeback and won in overtime versus Mullen in the 2015 playoffs.
“We’re going to show that clip for sure,” Auday said. “With all this going on, it will be great to see that joy.”