For the past couple of years, the majority of the high school lacrosse teams in New York City have come together for a large jamboree style, one day tournament on Randall’s Island. 2011 was no exception and while a couple of private schools who have attended in the past did not come (which should be fixed in 2012!), almost all of the public and parochial schools came to play, and so did Portledge, a small private school out on Long Island.
Columbus, last year’s PSAL (public school athletic league) champs was in attendance, as were the boys from Frederick Douglas Academy, who are lucky enough to have LI Lizard fogo, Pete Vlahakis, as one of their dedicated coaches. The parochial prep teams did not disappoint either, as both Iona Prep and Fordham Prep both looked pretty solid. All the teams came out and gave a great effort, and by the end of the day, you could even see small improvements that had been made.
In one of the last games of the day, Cardinal Spellman was playing and one of their midfielders, who had been playing VERY well overall, but struggling to hit the cage, picked up a ground ball about 10 yard in front of the goal and in one fluid motion found the back of the net with an backhand scoop shot. Attackmen, who earlier in the day had seemed afraid to dodge, began to take it to the rack hard in later games, even against better teams. Defenders looked more confident with their sticks, goalies stepped into shots and the games really started to hit their stride.
If the lacrosse playing kids of NYC keep up the hard work, there is no limit to where they can go. I saw a lot of potential out there on the fields as well as a lot of good sportsmanship. Like any lacrosse game, tempers did flare from time to time, but for the most part, there was an underlying sense of camaraderie at the event, especially amongst the public school teams. Citylax is an important part of that group dynamic, and the annual free Citylax Winter Clinics go a long way towards creating an atmosphere of healthy competition while maintaining respect for your opponents.
I’m obviously biased as I volunteer for Citylax, but having grown the game in a number of different places, and at a number of different levels, I can definitely say Citylax is doing it right and that it’s an honor to be associated with them.
Before we get to the rest of the photos, there is one other group that needs to be singled out (outside of the Parks Dept, Nike Lacrosse, Randall’s Island, STX Lacrosse, Lacrosse Unlimited, All the volunteers, refs, players, and coaches) and that is the NYC Sports Commission. Andrew Gould and his team of staffers did a fantastic job of making sure all our bases were covered and coordinating efforts to run the show. Like I’ve said before, this is the kind of thing that cities need to do to support their citizens.
I took a bunch of photos, but because of the overcast weather, they came out horribly. The vast majority of the photos in this post were taken by Citylax volunteer, Ben Gildin, whom I met in Boston when we were both volunteering for MetroLacrosse. Small world!