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Grow the Game: Who Ordered Chinese?

14 - Published December 15, 2010 by in Grow The Game, International

Editor’s Note: Welcome Godzilla to the LAS mothership.  He’s got a lot to say about International Lacrosse and Asian International Lacrosse in particular.  Oh, and he doesn’t hold any punches.  I’d expect nothing less from a giant green lizard.  He spits hot fire.  Literally.  We’re a forum of opinion sometimes and Godzilla is certainly delivering his.  Agree?  Disagree?  Hit us up in the comments!
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Please pardon the title, and welcome to a new segment of your LAS reading pleasures.  Lax All Stars believes in one common goal: Growing The Game EVERYWHERE (and we’re not just talking within the Stars and Stripes).  The rest of the boys here are already doing a good job of keeping you up-to-date surrounding what’s going on in the International lacrosse scene.

Mr. Wilson and Mr. Brunelle decided to let me loose on LaxAllStars.com to bring some fresh perspective on lacrosse outside of the continental United States (yes, it exists!)… And whether you like it or not, it doesn’t really matter. I’m not here to win a popularity contest, I’m just doing my thing until someone stops me.

This year was a good year for International lacrosse in my opinion, but bad for the Native Americans. The FIL World Championships for 2010 in Manchester, England, once again saw a significant increase (by 9) in national team entries from 2006.  Despite the messy and public “Iroquois-gate”, Manchester was another successful championship. Lacrosse companies got to show their “International flavor” credentials by the number of teams using their customized equipment.

But seriously, their International credentials are as legitimate as Exxon’s “green credential”.  Too much smoke screen, but nothing behind it. It seems like all talk, with not much action to back it up.

How many of those “national teams” are really an international lacrosse program?  Or are they really just a bunch of glorified (and extremely well-dressed) summer club teams that get together once every 4 years? This year marked the largest collection of national teams in the history of the World Games, yet the number of countries with development programs in place is just as low as it was 4 years ago.

Why?  Because a lot of these teams dismantle their operation as soon as the tournament is over and that’s it.  It is safe to say that for some of these teams (especially European national teams), the players’ sense of patriotism only lasts as long as the end of the tournament.  You don’t believe me? Show me a European team, and I’ll show you a number of American players that found a way into playing for the country that he really has no business of playing for.

Germany Japan Lacrosse FIL world Championships

Germany and Japan are two of the better "new" top teams out there.

The last time Japan ranked lower than Germany was at the 1998 World game. Japan is the only Asian team in the Blue division, Germany only moved up to the Blue division because of the recent “Iroquois-gate”. The Germans lost every game against the Blue division teams in 2010, and it is unlikely they’ll be back in that division for Denver.

Lame? Yes, but it is the reality of International lacrosse… Until the FIL implements a crack-down program on these impostor national teams, the sport of lacrosse will never be taken seriously by the IOC as a potential Olympic sport . There has to be a drastic change within the next four years, or else a TRUE World Games will fall as victims at the hands of club teams who just want to play at Denver in 2014.

Just you watch…

Speaking of the 2014 World Games, keep an eye out for a massive surge of Asian teams over the next four years. With Thailand and Hong Kong recently creating credible teams (Editor’s Note: and doing very well!), countries like India, Malaysia and Singapore are the countries that the lacrosse companies should get their hands on.

I’m not talking about sending a couple sticks to help, that’s not even enough for 2 teams (who are they gonna play with?  how can they really play if they can’t even afford the stick to begin with?).  You would imagine if one wants to “Grow the Game” in one of the Asian countries that has say, over 30 million people living in it, they would show their support and send “a little more” than a couple sticks to help expand the sport… Just some food for thought.

Want to see some great international lacrosse game?

Next July, 8 men’s teams and 6 Women’s team will be heading down under to compete in the Asia Pacific Lacrosse Championship (ASPAC) in New Zealand. There will be some great lacrosse, for the 20 millions sheep that lived there.  There are a few established teams (Japan, Korean, Australia, New Zealand) and the new upstart teams (Thailand and Hong Kong).  The biggest up-and-coming country to look out for is China, who has their own separate program from Hong Kong.  Oh, and did I mention the 1 billion people they have to choose from?  And that 90 percent of the lacrosse products are made there?

Imagine if they decide to put export ban of lax gear, it would certainly make alot of lil’ lax bros very unhappy!  Yet these teams are being treated as an “after thought”, so another quick note to the Lacrosse Companies: put your money where your mouth is… Get involved, and do it now.

Maverik Lacrosse Asia Gloves

A nice collection of gloves right there!

Imagine if all 10 countries in the region were using these gloves. It would be a hell of a lot more exposure for Maverik (or anyone else) than sponsoring some middle of nowhere mid-level D2 school from New England, don’t believe me?  Make the extras of these as “limited edition” and watch them fly out of your warehouse. (Credit: 412 with that idea.)

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