Wind your clocks back to the year 2000.
Remember the year 2000? High speed internet had just become available to people. Cell phones only placed calls. Xbox wasn’t even out yet (but Halo flipped the world on it’s head in 2001, didn’t it?).
It was my first year to ever pick up a stick, and it was my high school’s first year to ever field a team. C.E. Byrd HS was the third lacrosse team in the state of Louisiana, and therefore, we had to play in Texas.
I actually remember my first lacrosse practice like it was yesterday. Our coach wanted us to be ready for the 2001 season, but he knew 90% of our team didn’t even know what lacrosse was (including me), so in October 2000, he held a stick skill clinic where he showed us the ropes. I even remember what I was wearing (red sweat suit, because that’s how awesome I was in high school). I had STX gloves and stick, replaced in two months for Christmas by the first-gen Warrior Revolution and Kryptolyte, and Warrior RPMs.
That same day, we got to pick our numbers. Now, put yourself in my shoes. Your knowledge of lacrosse is virtually non-existent. You live in Northwest Louisiana, which is basically Southwest Arkansas. YouTube won’t even exist for another 5 years. The only thing you know is what you’ve googled.
How do you pick a number? How could you possibly be a fan of a lacrosse player, when you don’t even know what schools have lacrosse. Well, if you recall, in 2000, when you searched for “lacrosse,” one name came back:
My number selection was pretty simple. 22 was really the only choice.
Reading that caption is kind of funny – he may not realize how much of an ambassador he really is. Do you think Casey even knows he had an impact on Louisiana lacrosse in 2000? Do you think he even knew there was lacrosse in Louisiana at the time?
The summer of 2001 rolled around, and that’s where everything changed. The tech bubble had burst but my family had made out pretty well during the storm. I was lucky enough to travel to Long Island by myself that summer to attend the Mark Millon lacrosse camp, and I could literally go on for days about how much I learned, and how much culture shock I experienced, but that’s off topic. The point was, I was in the presence of the greatest lacrosse players ever. Jesse Hubbard was my neighbor.
SUPER depressed that I was the only one who got to go the camp. I remember thinking “Man, if this camp went on in Shreveport [LA], this would change our game. AND every one of my friends would get to meet these Lax Gods.”
The childhood dream was born in 2001, along with the birth of the MLL – get to know a professional lacrosse player, bring them to Louisiana, and share the experience with a friend.
The childhood dream will come true this weekend.
I can’t help but see the parallels between my High School experience and my players’ experiences. They’ve now grown up with lacrosse, watching Con’s videos and learning from Brett’s STX Training videos. The kids choose what numbers they’ll wear based on these guys.
And this weekend, they’ll be able to look straight into Connor and Brett’s eyes.
The game will change this weekend. The game will grow…. and pinnies will be handed out.
Am I nervous? What do you think? Of course I’m nervous. I’ve got one Hell of an itinerary set up, taking us all over South Louisiana for food, drinks, and entertainment. I hope they’re prepared for our culture – it’s a lot different from Oregon and Ohio. This will probably be their most unhealthy weekend in 2011.
The United States is amazing – if Connor, Brett, and I were to travel to Europe, we’d tell everyone we’re from the same place. However within our own boarder, we’re almost from completely different countries.
This is my opportunity to get to know these guys, and learn from them. At the same time, this is my chance to show them the landscape we work with down here. But most importantly, this is the opportunity of a lifetime for the players who will attend.
Professional lacrosse players coming to Louisiana??? Really. Think about how big of a deal this is.
In other interesting news, check this out: St Thomas More (STM) played Archbishop Rummel this weekend in what was probably the nation’s first High School Varsity lacrosse game of 2011. Yeah, we start our season that early.
Check out the photographs by Dale Shank… great job, Dale! Very impressive shots!