Editor’s Note: Jamie Plunkett is back on LAS with a report on the BLAX lacrosse club in Berlin. Jamie is a former NLL and NALL player who coaches for BLAX, runs the Deutschland Adler Lacrosse Club, and lives in Berlin.
2013 marked 20 years of lacrosse in Germany, and as things would have it, SCC-BLAX (where I coach in Berlin) is celebrating their 20th anniversary in 2013 as well. The occasion was celebrated a couple of weeks ago, where the club invited everybody out to the fields for a day of lacrosse fun. Free beer and bratwurst can make anybody happy, and always generates a good crowd.
The first game of the day featured the Over 30 vs Under 23 boys. This was followed by the same set up for the women’s side. Lastly, in what was probably the most exciting game of the day, the club saw the girls suiting up in the guys’ equipment, for an all out slash and hack fest. Entertaining to say the very least!
While the day of fun was great, let’s find out how, and why, SCC-BLAX started up 20 years ago, in 1993.
We have to go back to a small coffee shop called Café Einstein on Kurfürstenstraße in 1992-3. Jörn Pelzer and Jörg Rohaus had just returned to Berlin, from living in the USA where they had both experienced lacrosse for the first time. Pelzer and Rohaus, along with 5 other university students, then created the first German lacrosse club, which was called Berliner Lacrosse Verein e.V. BLAX was born.
A year later, in 1994, the first BLAX women’s team was fielded, and in that same year, the first ever Berlin Open was held. Today, the Berlin Open is the biggest tournament in Europe with teams from all over the world attending. 20 men’s teams and 12 women’s teams compete every year, but this wasn’t always the case, and thing started off small.
In 1994 Germany also competed in their first ever international event, the ILF (now FIL) World Games. Germany’s first ever lacrosse goal was scored by our own Ingo Hess. That year the team was made up of mostly BLAX players and players from München. LC München was the second lacrosse club to be founded in Germany, soon after BLAX.
In 1998 the DLaxV (German Lacrosse Association) was formed. Prior to their existence BLAX acted as the Governing Body. In the past 20 years we have seen Lacrosse grow from being just two clubs to the 44 established and another 15 in the beginning phases that exists now. Today Members from BLAX have moved on to other cities where they have started clubs in Kiel, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Passau, VFK Berlin (BHC), Heidelberg, Göttingen, Freiburg, Hannover, Cottbus and Weimar.
In 2010, BLAX joined one of the biggest sport clubs in Berlin “Sport Club Charlottenburg” and are now called SCC-BLAX. Since merging with SCC in 2010, the original Club (Berliner Lacrosse Verein e.V.) has become Förderverein (development association) to grow lacrosse within the youth levels at SCC BLAX, and that is a similar set up to how many European sporting clubs operate, and grow their numbers.
Over the past 20 years SCC-BLAX as seen a lot of success both from their Men’s and Women’s teams. The men have claied the Deutscher Meister (German Championships) 5 times, and the Vizemeister (2nd place) another five times, giving them a #1 or #2 finish in 50% of German lacrosse seasons all-time. The Women have been Deutscher Meister 3 times, and Vizemeister 3 times as well. The youth program is yet to capture a title, but with the rapid growth of registration numbers within the club, this should certainly change shortly.
In the year and half I have been living in Germany, and coaching for SCC-BLAX, I have had the chance to coach a lot of different players. With Berlin being the capital city of Germany, a lot of different people come here for school work or just vacation. Some of these players come in from the USA or Canada. Players like Franklin Reis, who currently attends Bowdoin College, have spent a season playing for BLAX. In the spring of 2012, Franklin was attending school in Berlin and was able to join our club.
After Franklin’s stay he had his family bring over old helmets, gloves, elbow pads, etc. John Fay, a former Duke All American, is currently living in Berlin. He played with us last season and is now giving back to the club as an assistant coach. Both of these stories showcase the impact that SCC-BLAX has on its members, and how foreign and new players are welcomed to the group. The club is truly is a family-like atmosphere, and people tend to give back once they get involved.
If you or you know of anybody wanting to spend time in Berlin or anywhere in Germany I strongly encourage you take the opportunity you will be able to gain valuable life experience. To do so, please contact Jamie Plunkett at Jamie@blax.de