Today we’re excited to announce our January Game Grower of the Month in collaboration with Easton Lacrosse. 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 March 2013 Game Grower of the Month is…
Alonso Miller of Indianapolis, Indiana
While being a resident of Indiana, Alonso Miller has been a very active Game Grower on the international stage since 2006. He has helped by translating lacrosse rules for officials and players from English to Spanish and has distributed it to those in power throughout Spain and Latin America.
Alonso was nominated by several people, all discussing the importance of his contributions to countries like Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, Columbia, Bolivia, Argentina, and Portugal.
Congratulations to Alonso Miller, LaxAllStars.com’s March 2013 Game Grower of the Month! To reward Alonso 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.
Recently, we sat down with Alonso to learn more about what he’s doing to help grow the great sport of lacrosse in and around his current residence of Indianapolis, IN.
LAS: Can you describe the state of lacrosse in your area?
AM: High School Lacrosse in Indiana is growing at a much slower pace than other Midwest states like Michigan or Minnesota. Indiana Lacrosse technically started before Minnesota, but due to the politics and lack of coaches (surprise!) growth has been slow. This year a few teams were added from the North and Northwest part of the state.
In what ways are you involved in growing the sport in your area?
While I was in graduate school I coached high school and middle school lacrosse. I’ve been officiating for 12 years at the high school and youth levels. I served on the executive board of the Indiana Youth Lacrosse Association for 2 years as the secretary.
Most of my work in helping spread the game has been internationally, but I try to do what I can no matter where I am.
What is the biggest obstacle for lacrosse growth in your area?
Coaches and high school politics. High school football coaches feel threatened by our sport or at least those that know nothing about lacrosse and athletic directors would rather not have any extra work. For the Indiana High School Lacrosse Association to accept lacrosse as an official sport we would have to have at least half of the 360-400 Indiana high school offering lacrosse. We are nowhere near that number.
How did you get involved with the sport? Who taught you the game?
I started playing rec lacrosse in the military, but got more into it when I got out of the service and came back home to go to college when a friend convinced me to play club lacrosse.
What has been your biggest accomplishment when it comes to growing the game?
Translating the rules from English to Spanish. It allowed five or six countries to understand the game better and push those guys in their respective nations to start lacrosse. Playing in the World Championships was a pretty awesome experience.
Who or what inspires you most to help grow the game?
Oren Lyons and something he said when he was a guest speaker at a Native American event. His topic was not about lacrosse, but Native American rights.
What is your favorite thing about our sport? What has drawn you to lacrosse the most?
Anyone can put on a mitt and play softball/baseball or throw a football or rugby ball and get the hang of it in a day. The same goes for basketball and track.
Lacrosse is like playing a piano or guitar. Its very hard at first. You have to constantly keep improving yourself and not only develop your throwing, catching and shooting, but also understand the scenarios (man down, Man up, clearing, picking, mismatching, everything).
You’re only as good as the last time you practiced or stepped on the field.
Do you have a favorite lacrosse team? Favorite player(s)?
Navy because I was a Navy Corpsman.
I’ve played with and against guys like Anthony Kelly, Craig Kahoun, Cory Kahoun here in the Midwest at the men’s club lacrosse level. I can’t say I am starstruck or have a favorite lacrosse player when I’ve played against (and learned a lot from) really good players. One learning lesson I took from my wrestling experience is that if you want to get better you have to play against people that are better than you.
I guess if I had to pick a lacrosse player it would be John Tavares because of how old and resilient he is and still plays competitively. Tavares is a good example that you’re never too old to compete.
My favorite athlete is Dan Gable the wrestler from Iowa State. I had a chance to meet him while I was in high school at his wrestling camp and I’ve never met anyone as intense and dedicated as Gable.
What do you do outside of the sport?
I work in IT as a Senior Consultant. I try to stay very active. I hit the gym about three times a week, I play pick up ice hockey, I practice Japanese Jujitsu (because Jujitsu came from Japan not Brazil) and I hold the rank of ikkyu (brown belt).
I also play with my kids a lot and enjoy taking my daughter ice skating.
If you could change one thing about our sport, what would it be and why?
Remove Title 9 and let universities that want to start programs start lacrosse.
I’d like to see mid-major schools like Central Michigan, Northern Illinois, Ball State, Miami (OH), or Toledo start programs at the NCAA level. Dare I dream?
Congratulations again, Alonso! 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. What an incredible year it has been in the lacrosse world!