Editor’s Note: This post was cobbled together from an email chain with one of our readers. LAS has not verified all of the info below but it’s so darn interesting I just had to post it! Want to add to the post? email me at [email protected] This is what a custom pocket looks like kids…
We recently got an email from an old school VA/MD area laxer named Dan Willson and he sent over some excellent pictures of a pocket that I had never even heard of before. It’s a combo mesh and traditional deal called Coach’s RP Special Pocket (aka the Coach’s Pocket or the RP Special Pocket).
Coach’s was a lax shop in Olney, Maryland in the 80s and 90s (which has since been purchased and run as part of the Mad Lax franchise). The pocket is named for Randy P. Lods according to the patent filing and Dan had several heads strung by Coach’s after his high school’s varsity team (from Northern Virginia) played Our Lady of Good Counsel in 1989. Dan remembers that it seemed like all of the OLGC players had one of these pockets.
Dan has changed the original design from soft mesh to hard mesh, also adding a saddle and a third shooting string. This pocket has absolutely no whip by design and make sure to take notice of the leather topstring that’s incorporated into the top-most shooting string. Very different from what you see today.
Right now Dan coaches for the Greater Birmingham Youth Lacrosse Association (GBYLA) in Alabama, where they’ve grown from two teams ten years ago to nearly 2,000 boys and girls playing the sport. He grew up playing for Vienna Youth Incorporated (VYI) and played three years of varsity lax for TJHSST, the original Virginia magnet high school.
Speakin of originals… the “original” Coach’s pocket can be seen in an STX Turbo (below), which was Dan’s father’s 55th birthday present in 1990. Coach’s also did the dye. The original uses soft mesh rather than the hard mesh Dan typically use these days. Notice there’s no saddle in the original – the leathers cross over the mesh at the bottom and lace back through the mesh.
Dan clearly really loves Randy’s work on this pocket and although the two men have never met, Dan probably feels like he knows Randy after stringing so many of these pockets – and it’s part of the reason why he submitted these photos. He’d love to see it become the next big thing since according to Dan, everyone who uses one seems to want one.
If someone could find Randy and we could get his blessing for a tutorial, that would be pretty sweet and I’m sure Dan would put together a top notch how-to. No one at Mad Lax knew about this pocket and they led Dan to believe it wasn’t part of them purchasing the Coach’s store – he emailed them about it last year when he got back into the sport after a decade hiatus. For more info on the pocket, you can go here. Hopefully someone who knows Randy Lods will see the story and let him know his creation is still out there (and being used/loved).
Now to finish things off, how about a vintage shot of John Lamon (current Bayhawks Asst. Coach) holding an RP Special? Dan stumbled across the photo and sent it on over… what a great guy! That’d be an RP Special in an STX Sam in the hand of the former Washington Wave team captain and current Chesapeake Bayhawk’s assistant coach. There’s no caption in the photo, so I don’t know who the other two guys are.
About the Author: Connor is a life-long lacrosse player who doesn’t know when to give up on the game. He played and coached at Wesleyan University and now plays for the Southampton LC in NYC. Connor lives with his fiance in Brooklyn and thanks her for allowing him to keep the dream alive.