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Cajun’s Corner – Recruitment, Coaching Award, Quandry

3 - Published July 19, 2011 by in College, High School, Youth
LSU Tiger Stadium

Now THAT is a Stadium!

What a special environment Tiger Stadium is. I know for a fact that at least 42 incoming freshmen and potential, one day All-LSA lacrosse players will be attending games there in a few short weeks!

Yes, you heard right.  42 incoming freshmen are signed up to try out for LSU’s lacrosse team.  Forty-two.

42?  (Editor‘s Note: Insert Zaphod Beeblebrox joke here.)

42.  Yes, I’m very happy with the calibur of players that have signed up to participate in the LSU lacrosse program. The talent consists of 1 All American, 7 All State, and 9 All Conference players. I’m not even going to begin to count the total number of combined State Championships.  The states represented are Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, Washington DC, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, and Illinois.

Tryouts can’t get here soon enough. Absolutely nothing but belief in this team, and in this University.

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Coach of the Year

Louisiana Coach of the year

Who's that? I can't see so good.

Yeah, right.  Are you serious?

What an honor. I almost cried.  I really need to attribute this honor to everyone that has helped me along the way – I didn’t do all of this on my own. Ryan Empson has been there every single day, since day 1, recruiting, coaching, and fund raising along side of me. Chris Condon drove an hour to practice and an hour home everyday, just to coach his son and our JV.

And of course, without the players CHOOSING lacrosse, or the parents allowing their sons to play this sport they’ve never heard of, I would have no one to coach. The players, who have ate, slept, and breathed lacrosse for me over the past two years, and the parents who have put up with it, are the real unsung heroes here.  ________________________________________________________________________________________________

Grow the Game

So much debate going down on facebook as to how to grow this game in Louisiana.  Alabama is killing us.  How do we step our game up?

A pretty large group of people in Louisiana think the best way to grow the sport at the high school level is to grow the sport at the Middle School level. As the kids grow up, they’ll go off to high schools and start programs there. Sound theory, right?

Wrong.

Middle schoolers won’t choose (and haven’t chosen) a high school that doesn’t have lacrosse.  Or maybe they won’t choose lacrosse because they know their high school doesn’t have it.  Either way, in the areas where middle school teams exist, the number of high schools added in the past two years is 0. Dutchtown was the last team added to the LHSLL, the nearest middle school team being 60 miles away.

KIPP, an inner city middle school team in NOLA. What HS will these guys play for? Probably not play at all....

On the flip side, they ARE growing the game in the sense that more players are now picking up sticks. Rosters on teams east of Baton Rouge (New Orleans, Mandeville areas) are around 70-100+. These teams either have to form a second Varsity team, in addition to a JV AND Freshman team, or turn kids away. Is that really growing the game?

Shreveport, LA, where the first high school team in Louisiana was started in the late 90s, also had the first middle school team. The Shreveport Storm was up and running in 1999. My experience in Shreveport is that the Storm had no effect at all on the creation of the four teams in the city.  Magnet and Loyola HSs were the first two teams in the area.  A group of players from Byrd HS didn’t want to play for Loyola anymore, so they started their own team.  Then, a group of players from Captain Shreve HS didn’t want to play for Byrd anymore, so they started their own team.  None of them played for the Storm.

And here I am at Dutchtown, with players from St Amant HS, East Ascension HS, and Dutchtown HS. All of a sudden, I’m hearing the EA kids and St Amant kids want a team of their own.  Also, little brothers of Dutchtown players want to start a middle school team.

These Louisiana All Stars have played 2 years. You don't have to have played since middle school to be an All Star in Louisiana

What a revelation. Community clubs are growing the game at the High School level, and High School lacrosse trickles down to middle schools. With rosters of 70-100 kids, doesn’t it sort of make sense to start promoting community clubs, so that these guys actually get to step foot on the field?  Or am I taking crazy pills?

This may be the most profound thing I’ve said in this blog yet, but maybe because it’s so obvious. If you want to grow the game at the high school level, you should start by growing the game at the high school level. Let that sink in.

So what you’re saying is… if we want more high school teams, we should help high school teams get started up and not middle schools?

Mind blowing concept, I know. Now please, don’t get me wrong, if we ever want to be really good, we’ll have to have middle schools, that much is definitely true, but I don’t think that’s where we should start.  We’re still in our infancy, as far as lax states go.  We need more people playing lacrosse, and when I say playing, I mean actually getting to step on the field and play.

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Speaking of GTG

This is mandatory reading.

Check out some photos of Louisiana and Texas HS lax.  Proof that the game is growing, courtesy of Barry Spears.

Arizona State vs Texas… in New Orleans. If you live within 100 miles of this, and are knowingly choosing to skip this game, we are not friends.

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