(Editor’s Note: Welcome Artjom Merjasch back to LaxAllStars as our 2nd International Lacrosse Thursday continues! We already posted a Show LAS Your Old School from Thailand and later we’ll have something really special from North of the Border! Take it away Artjom!)
From the time the first German player took a trip to the Czech Republic (mid 90s for Plzen) to play box lacrosse, to the very first box lacrosse tournament in Germany, the Czech players and officials have been avid supporters.
At the Ales Hrebesky 2009 Memorial Tournament, they eventually approached Jordan West-Pratt, who had been involved in German lacrosse for some time, me, and some other players, to discuss the formation of a German Box Lacrosse Team for the 2011 world games.
I was stoked!
And yes, Coach Tumbas was one of the main reasons I wanted to write about lacrosse in the first place. I think it is only fair then, that I reference one of his idiosyncrasies with the above image, as a humble bow towards his superior writing.
My mind just went into full gear. Boxlacrosse had become very close to my heart already. It was to grow even more on me over the upcoming adversity. In retrospect, I might have been too emotionally attached.
Nevertheless, we started making things happen. There were shoot-arounds, with a goalie who committed himself to spending money on the expensive equipment. We assembled people to be part of a developmental team. Some of us even travelled to Plzen to play in the Czech league on a regular basis.
[courtesy of Joe Kenworthy]
Now for the reason that Germany will not field a team for the WILC, despite all the effort we put into it: “We” were the wrong people.
Without boring you with procedural details, it came down to a scheduling conflict between the world games and the club play-offs.
The play-offs were (and still are) scheduled to be played on the weekend of the world games, so we asked the president of the DLaxV (the German Lacrosse Association) to address the issue with the executive board and take appropriate measures. Arguments were made for changing and for keeping the schedule, some of them very concise, some heavily opinionated.
In order to help our case, a letter was sent to Germany’s best players and teams, asking them to commit to the German National Team in writing and show the DLaxV, that box lacrosse in Germany was to be taken seriously within our small (lacrosse) community.
Again, obviously I wasn’t seeing things clearly at this point. My almost pathological fondness for box lacrosse and what it could be in Germany, was blinding me to the fact that to many others, competing in a tournament with 8 teams in a sport (that doesn’t even have a 100 non-lacrosse people strong audience at its championship game) is more important than an international contest.
Don’t get me wrong, if you are invested into something, you want to follow through with it.
I, for example, am certainly no elite level player. My experience is limited (4 or so years of playing lacrosse), I’m not in the best shape, I’ve got decent hands and am quite (lacrosse) smart. But I was willing to commit. And I still am!
The first time, the idea of a National Team was brought up, I immediately understood that I would need to put work into it in order to make the team. I started taking lifting and running more seriously, hit the wall even fiercer than before and was constantly thinking about box lacrosse.
The German play-offs however are a different beast; they are certainly no NCAA Division I play-offs. I am almost ashamed to connect these two events in the way I did, that is how far apart they are.
The dilemma must have been excruciating to some.
Either you stick with your team, which you see twice, maybe three times a week for practice and be one of the best players in a sport, that is being played by not quite 40 teams nationwide…
1. You proudly wear your nation’s colours and represent it to your best abilities.
2. You develop into a much better player, acquiring skills you could not possibly gain by just playing field lacrosse. You could even impart said skills to the next generation of German lacrosse players.
3. You face the best players in the world!
Last week, when watching my first NLL game of this season, I realized: “This could be me”. Not in the NLL of course, but playing against the likes of Brodie Merrill, Codie Jamieson, and Casey Powell, and in front of a real audience.
This thought still sends shivers down my spine. The fact that this might have happened borders on some sort of divine grace. I feel humbled by the thought. Mostly, because I don’t think I or any other player in Germany would have deserved such an opportunity.
The pros have been playing their whole lives, dedicating so much time and effort, it is hard for me to even grasp, let alone do the same.
And yet, I could have been blogging about how Brodie Merrill almost broke my arm with a cross-check, while doing his tax report and chatting up my girlfriend simultaneously, and still be one of the happiest people you know.
Is it just me? Am I missing something?
Given the choice, knowing the consequences, what would you have done?