“Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.”
When we introduced the First Annual GTG (Grow The Game) Award, we knew we’d get a good response, but we certainly didn’t expect our inbox to overflow with so many nominations! Launching this new award has been an exciting experience, and it’s helped introduce us to a whole new crop of individuals who are doing their part to Grow The Game throughout the world.
To recap, we established the GTG Award to recognize outstanding individuals who dedicate their time and energy to expanding the footprint of the game of lacrosse, all while building up a community of players, coaches, and fans around them. This first inaugural award marks a new tradition for the lacrosse community and is intended to recognize one person’s 2011 efforts.
The GTG Award is meant to celebrate people who are making a difference while maintaining principles that improve local communities both on and off the playing field. Integrity, leadership, service, and community-building are core to the mission of LaxAllStars.com, and it is our hope that the GTG Award will inspire others to give back by recognizing those that already do!
In just two short weeks since our announcement, we’ve received over 100 emails, text messages, Facebook messages and phone calls – all from people who have been heavily impacted by lacrosse’s true Game Growers. Nominations ranged from quick notes to extensive essays explaining why certain people deserved this award.
We want to thank EVERYONE for nominating members of their community. It was incredibly difficult to narrow down our list and choose the inaugural winner.
At the end of the day, five nominees received outstanding support: Muamer Razic (Kentucky), Jon Namer (California), Payu Nerngchamnong (Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, US), Kevin Flynn (Montana) and Josh “Chewy” Acut (Texas).
All five of these finalists have done extraordinary work in their communities, and all those who do not win the inaugural award will be automatically nominated by LAS Staff for the 2012 GTG Award. Please join us in thanking them for their continued efforts to #GTG by clicking the Tweet button below!
And the FIRST ANNUAL GTG AWARD goes to…
Congratulations to KEVIN FLYNN of Missoula Elite Lacrosse in Montana!
We’ve been aware of Kevin Flynn and the huge strides he’s made to help Grow The Game in the State of Montana for a few years now, and he was on our shortlist when we decided to launch this award. Each and every nomination we received for Kevin after our announcement served as further evidence of his extreme efforts. The voices behind the correspondence reeked of passion, commitment and belief that this man deserved the award.
Simply put, the passionate emails we received on Kevin’s behalf put him over the top. Players and parents came out in full support of Kevin in a major way, and the work he’s done to Grow The Game in the Big Sky Country cannot be disputed.
Here’s a brief sampling of a nomination we received in support of Mr. Flynn:
…(Kevin) found himself in the small city of Missoula playing D-pole for the University of Montana Grizzlies. Fortunately Kevin didn’t stop there, as a player/coach Kevin led the Grizzly lax team to a national championship in their division in 2007.
But it’s what Kevin did after his glory days in college that really makes him worthy of this award. After graduating from the University of Montana in Native American Studies, Kevin started (the) youth lax program in Missoula. The program started off small but through his personal determination and desire to spread the love of the game, Montana would gain active youth programs and high school teams throughout the state as well as boys and girls traveling teams, in addition to a Missoula men’s league. Not one of these programs would exist if Kevin hadn’t brought them to Montana, and neither myself or any of my teammates would have found our own love for the game of lacrosse (the fastest growing sport in Montana) without Kevin’s hard work and dedication.
…Coach Flynn helped other cities form teams, and the state moved from 1-2 lacrosse teams to 8-10 high school boys’ teams across Montana. Coach Flynn is the U.S. lacrosse Representative for Montana and he has dedicated his last 10 years to not only starting a lacrosse team but making it a competative sport in Montana. He has been a great inspiration to all of his players and is always taking time to help us become the best we can be. This is why I believe Kevin Flynn would be a perfect candidate for the Grow The Game Award and highly deserves to be looked at as a contender.
And one last example… It’s dripping with passion and love for lacrosse. Kevin got a kid like this into lacrosse, and a couple of years from now, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the author of the email below nominated for this very award. It’s all about Growing The Game, and finding other people who will carry on the passion!
Kevin Flynn has been my coach for all three years that I have played lacrosse, and quite a leader he has been. I had only ever played soccer before, when I joined a youth lacrosse clinic, hosted by the one and only Kevin Flynn. At that moment I became hooked, and now everyday I get up early to hit the wall in the morning (street-lights necessary) before school for 40 minutes. Lacrosse has taken over my being, and the person who brought the game to me did so almost single-handily, all the while showing the game the greatest respect.
Aside from my personal story, Flynn has nurtured an all-city lacrosse team called “Missoula Elite Lacrosse” into a grand program, gaining enough members to split into three different High School teams in about 3-4 years. Lacrosse in Montana hardly existed before Flynn, but now hardly a kid in my school doesn’t know of its’ presence.
Kevin has been Growing The Game in Montana while now, and he has clearly put in the work necessary to Grow The Game. Connor Wilson was fortunate enough to have a similar guy in his town when he was growing up (Matt Dwyer, now the owner of the Boston Cannons) and without guys like this, the game simply wouldn’t be where it is today. Congratulations to Kevin Flynn, Game Grower of the Year!
Selecting our first GTG Award winner out of such a high-caliber group was really tough, and we want to thank everyone again for nominating so many wonderful, passionate people. We’re excited to keep this going for as long as we’re breathing, and we’ll make a point to improve the process each and every year.
Beginning this February, Lacrosse All Stars will continue showcasing the Grow The Game mission by featuring a “Game Grower of the Month” each month throughout the year. Nominate someone in your community now by contacting us here.
Each monthly award recipient will receive a commemorative GTG Lacrosse Ball (shown below) thanks to our friends at Glory Hound Lacrosse as well as an official nomination for the 2012 GTG Award!
Grow The Game!
– The LAS Team