Today we’re excited to announce our first Game Grower of the Month in collaboration with our newest sponsor, Easton Lacrosse. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, the LAS Staff is thrilled to be working with Easton on such a special project. It is our hope that the GTG Award will inspire others to give back by recognizing those that already do!
Now without further ado, the June 2012 Game Grower of the Month is…
Aaron Karsh of Torrance, California
Aaron has worked hard over the last 4 years to grow the game of lacrosse in Southern California. After being a part of the first lacrosse program at Concordia University during his senior year, he was inspired to stick with the sport and introduce it to as many new players as possible.
Since graduating from Concordia in 2008, Aaron has helped start programs at Vistamar School, Chadwick School and Marymount College. He lives and breathes lacrosse as the director of the sport at Marymount College and an assistant varsity coach at the Chadwick School. He also has a role with US Lacrosse helping to grow the sport through youth level participation throughout Southern California.
Beyond the lacrosse field, Aaron manages the lacrosse department at California Pro Sports, the largest independent retailer in LA County. This Fall, Aaron will be getting married. We wish Aaron and his fiancé the best, and we hope this award will help inspire him to keep growing the game as he embarks on this new journey.
Congratulations to Aaron Karsh, LaxAllStars.com’s June 2012 Game Grower of the Month! To reward Aaron for his efforts, Easton Lacrosse will be supplying him with a Stealth HS Head and his choice of the Stealth Scandium+ Shaft or the Stealth RS Ultralite Shaft.
Earlier this week, we sat down with Aaron to learn more about what he’s doing to help grow the great sport of lacrosse in and around his current residence of Torrance, California.
LAS: Can you describe the state of lacrosse in your area?
AK: Lacrosse around Torrance has grown tremendously in the past 5 years. It is played at every level locally and expanding more and more at the middle school and collegiate level.
In what ways are you involved in growing the sport in your area?
I am the lacrosse director at Marymount College, the head coach of the MCLA D2 men’s program, and I oversee the women’s WWLL team at Marymount as well. I am also the assistant head coach at the Chadwick School for their Boys Varsity team, and the head coach of the boys middle school team.
In addition to coaching there I am involved with US Lacrosse’s LA Chapter and their Youth Development. This program goes to the local schools and teaches Lacrosse as a PE class with a lacrosse specific curriculum, in the hopes that more schools will adopt lacrosse into their normal rotation of sports.
Finally, I run the lacrosse department at California Pro Sports, the largest independent lacrosse retailer in LA county. At the store I run camps and clinics for the local community to teach new players the game and help improve the skills of those already playing here in our area.
What is the biggest obstacle for lacrosse growth in your area?
Communication and co-operation of the local programs. It really is as simple as that.
How did you get involved with the sport? Who taught you the game?
I was a baseball player all my life. I went to Concordia University in Irvine, CA, to play baseball, but when that didn’t work out, some friends of mine wanted to start a lacrosse team. Kevin Brereton, Josh Munz, GM Ciallella and I helped start the lacrosse team there. After playing at Concordia, I continued playing in men’s club and rec leagues locally.
What has been your biggest accomplishment when it comes to growing the game?
I’d have to say this is a two part answer. Last season at both the college and high school levels, my teams made great improvements. At Chadwick, we took the team from 1-9 3 years ago to an undefeated 9-0 regular season record this season, and our first playoff birth ever.
Marymount also won our first regular season game against Cal Maritime University. The Marymount program went from unsanctioned club to an MCLA team 2 years ago and has struggled with player retention. The school had been a 2 year JC but has since moved to a 4 year institution, and we graduated our first 4 year player as a senior this past May.
Who or what inspires you most to help grow the game?
Knowing I’ve had a positive impact in the life of someone means more than anything to me. It’s awesome to see a kid go from never knowing what the game of lacrosse is, to seeing them grow and excel, to truly love the game… and it is an incredible feeling.
What is your favorite thing about our sport? What has drawn you to lacrosse the most?
Where else do you get to hit someone with a stick!? Lacrosse is a sport that anyone can find a niche in. I think it’s a truly inclusive game where anyone can find something within the sport that they can excel at.
Do you have a favorite lacrosse team? Favorite player(s)?
My favorite lacrosse team, other than the Marymount Mariners, would have to be Maryland. I love the heart that they always seem to play with. My favorite players would have to be Kyle Harrison, Brett Hughes, and former player Woody Moore. Those guys do a lot to help give back to our local community here in Southern California. All three are great people to be around and do a great job with the kids.
What do you do outside of the sport?
Up until recently I had been playing competitive paintball in the PSP and NPPL (national pro tournament circuits for paintball). I run the lacrosse department here at California Pro Sports which takes up most of my time. I’ve recently started a clothing line for active lifestyle people called Republik Apparel which is taking up most of my free time now.
If you could change one thing about our sport, what would it be and why?
Unify the rules. Other than minor things like time and enforcement of penalties, there should be no differences between the youth, high school, college, and pro games. A shot clock and/or a 2 point line are great additions that could be made to the game at the lower levels. The only other potential rule chance I like is possibly taking out the 4th long pole and only allowing 3 on the field at one time. That may help increase scoring opportunities.
Congratulations again, Aaron! A well-deserved honor. Keep on Growing The Game!
Do you know someone who deserves recognition for Growing The Game in your area? Click here to fill out the Game Grower of the Month nomination form. We’ll be announcing the July 2012 winner very soon.