The above picture is the Dutchtown Lacrosse Club, which hails from Prairieville, Louisiana. 2 of the above guys have played before, the remaining 23 had their first organized lacrosse practice in January.
As you by now know, I’m all about lacrosse. And I’m all about my home state, Louisiana. I’m all about lacrosse in Louisiana. We’re totally stoked that lacrosse season ends just before hurricane season begins. Otherwise we’d never get to play a game – it rains just about everyday during the summer, which forces us to stay inside, read our insurance policies, and drink daiquiris or Abita Andygator (not the kids, of course. They could care less how their insurance policy reads).
If you’ve read my first few articles, you know about the trials and tribulations we endured to start a lacrosse team in south Louisiana. I still say prayers of thanks for the unbelievable efforts from the kids, the parents, and all those involved to make this happen. But how about the actual “lacrosse” aspect? How did that go?
Last week, we pulled off two big upsets, thanks to some insane goal tending, bringing our record to 4-4 and giving me a reason to party.
Both goalies went freaking insane. Senior Matt Alexis played the whole game Friday night, saving 90%. You read that correctly. 90%. He was 18/20. I can email you the stat sheet.
Considering we’re the only “new” team in the state, I’d say the season was a tremendous success. I put “new” in quotes, because lacrosse in Louisiana was formally started in 1996, about 130 years after it was started in New York, and about 100 years after Maryland.
So in relative terms, we’re all fresh. Most teams in our state were formed in the past 5 years.
Going into this last week of our season, we’ve all come to terms that we probably won’t make the playoffs, as we’ll have to beat Jesuit New Orleans to make it.
For those who don’t know, Jesuit is an incredible lacrosse team, that could easily roll over most teams in the South, and a bunch in the North. But it’s all good. The only tears we’ve shed is when we talk about what we’re going to do when the season is over and our seniors have taken on alumni status. Even after a loss, our guys will be the first to claim they had more fun than the other team. It’s true, I promise.
Over the past four months, we’ve become a fraternity of sorts (corny, I know, but with a roster of 25 guys and 3 coaches, it just happened), and as long as no one gets hurt, the guys are just here to have a good time.
But I learned a lot about myself, coaching, and Louisiana lacrosse over the past four months. Let’s visit some of these key points:
1) Most important point – Winning is the least important thing about Louisiana lacrosse. The most important thing is to promote the sport, give the passion that we all share to somebody else. 16 schools with lacrosse teams in the state is not enough. Period. Do not stop until everyone in the state has an opportunity to lax. I’m pretty sure this is what my old ball coach meant when he said “Give back to the game.”
2) Be patient. It takes years to develop skills, and understanding of how the game is supposed to flow. You can’t expect 23 kids who have never seen a game before to just pick it up and be great at it. In fact, you can’t expect success of any kind until you’ve been around for a few years. This point hit me like a freight train after our first scrimmage back in January.
3) Refs don’t always make the right call, because they’re still learning the game down here. Considering how new they are to reffing the sport, I have to say kudos to our refs – they’ve done an outstanding job.
4) Considering we’re all clubs, and the school system doesn’t want anything to do with us, I came to the conclusion that cool shorts are much more important than, say, a play book, or drills. More on that later…
5) Manage your time better. I don’t get paid to coach lacrosse. Not a dime, but I’ve never ever complained about that. But like most laxers, it unequivocally consumed my life and free time for the past year. Those around me who weren’t laxers undoubtedly hated me at times for ditching them. If you’re reading this, I appreciate you putting up with me more than you will ever know. Sometimes we need to do a reality check on ourselves, because completely consuming obsessions are never healthy.
6) Smile. A lot. Thank your maker everyday that you’re healthy enough to be on the sidelines and not watching from the stands. Reverting back to point #1, forget about winning or losing – just be happy that you’ve passed along the gift of lacrosse.
7) Stop eating so damned much. I’ve thrown up, or come close to throwing up, at least 38 times this season.
8) High Schoolers in the south all played football at some point and can hit harder than you think.
9) Wash your mouth out with soap. You never know who is listening, especially in small communities.
All in all, this was a year of identifying myself. No different than Louisiana needs lacrosse coaches, I needed this lacrosse team to work some things out in my life. We became a family, and learned a lot from each other.
For instance, there’s a kid on the team named Brennon. Brennon has the toughest, most enduring work ethic of anybody I’ve ever seen.
I can honestly say this kid is a harder worker than I am, and he’s inspired me to work harder at my job. And ever since I came to realize that, my job has really started taking off. No joke.
Stuff like that is why I needed this team. But now our season comes to a close this week, and I can honestly say the past 4 months will rank among the best of my life.
In other exciting news, a box lacrosse facility is being built in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. That should give us something to do in the Fall when it’s 100+ degrees outside. It’s set to open November 1st.
Also, there’s rumors that Louisiana will be getting a NCAA-D3 team soon. I’m not going to say anything about it yet – I don’t want to jinx it.
About the author: Knox is a 24 year old High School Head Coach in a small area east of Baton Rouge. He played High School ball for four years, and college ball for about 1 week until he realized his collegiate priorities rested with more important things like partying and eventually trying to get his grades up. He enjoys things that most Louisiana people do – eating boiled crawfish and alligator, a cold Abita Amber, anything LSU, his dog, and his beautiful girlfriend, Audrey. Lacrosse is not listed because most Louisiana people have no idea what lacrosse is.
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