Since lacrosse isn’t a real sport in Louisiana, or our neighboring states Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama, I think I can best illustrate some of the things we go through by copying and pasting a correspondence between a southern coach and myself.
I’m wrestling with our [school] administration (note: sound familiar? )
For those purposes, can you tell me how often you practice, when? Do you do a fall ball? How many days a week in fall? In winter/spring? How many months of the year? Tournaments? Summer?
Do any of your coaches get stipends from the school?
Do you have varsity status or equip priority for facilities, etc?
Other useful “ammunition”? :-)
I can sympathize whole heartedly.
Our team has practiced since June, 3 days a week. In the summer, since it gets dark pretty late, we practice 5:30-7:30PM on Tuesdays and Thursdays. During the Fall, winter, early spring, we practice 4:30-till we feel like leaving. Last night we were out there till 7:00. Saturdays we practice 9:00am-till we feel like leaving (usually 12:30). After football season is over we will probably start practicing on Fridays. After our first season is over, we might consider doing pick up games next summer.
Neither [other coach] or myself are paid to play and coach lacrosse, whether it be by our Corporation (Dutchtown Lax Club, inc) or by the school. Doesn’t matter to me – giving back to lacrosse is worth every second.
The school is allowing us to use the football field for our four home games and that’s it. We’re practicing on a small, junior league baseball field right now, since it has lights. After 6:00 we have to share it with a pee wee football team.
The school wants nothing to do with us. We can’t even use the same mascot. Hence, we’re just the Dutchtown Lax Club with no mascot. (Note: I want to interject here. This really pissed me off because I made my decision to coach at this school solely on which mascot was coolest, and a F’ing Griffin is wayyy cooler than a Bear or Eagle) We’re using the same colors as the school, since colors aren’t trademarked or copyrighted. But our players can’t bring their sticks to school, and DHS frowns on them wearing their t-shirts. I tell the players to wear their t-shirts anyways – we’re lax players. We’re a different breed, and we’re proud of it. We work hard in everything we do, whether it be lax, school, work, or relationships.
Chances are this info isn’t going to help you out, since your administration can just say ‘look, they don’t get anything either.’ It was the same for us when I played for XXX – we got to use the football field twice during my 4 year tenure. The rest of the time we practiced at LSUS and played games at Caddo Stadium. Basically, I’m used to it, and expected just as much going into this. Maybe one day we’ll be considered a “real” sport (doesn’t that make your skin boil?), but until then, we’re just going to play the hand we’re dealt and work hard at it.
You see, Prairieville or Ascension Parish isn’t exactly the most money saturated area of Louisiana. While it’s certainly not poor or impoversihed either, most household incomes in the area are modest. Put it to you this way, there are 18 mobile home communities in the area, often close to neighborhoods with homes built in the past 5 years (post Katrina) that are over 3,000 sq ft. It’s hit or miss.
That being said, a lot of people don’t have $600-$700 they can shell out on pads and team dues, especially for an unknown sport. We were pumped when 45 kids signed up to play, then depressed when 20 of them quit the next week because of the cost. This summer, when we were getting started up, most of our parents’ straight up told us they couldn’t afford it. If their kids wanted to play, they had to get jobs and pay for it all themselves, or raise the money. And they did. But at first, our players couldn’t afford pads. So we played with tennis balls.
To this day, we are still practicing on the little league baseball field, which is roughly half of a lacrosse field. It’s the only lit field we are allowed to use at the moment. But you’ll be happy to know we all have pads now (more on that next time).
About the author: Knox is a 24 year old High School Head Coach in a small area east of Baton Rouge. He played High School ball for four years, and college ball for about 1 week until he realized his collegiate priorities rested with more important things like partying and eventually trying to get his grades up. He enjoys things that most Louisiana people do – eating boiled crawfish and alligator, a cold Abita Amber, anything LSU, his dog, and his beautiful girlfriend, Audrey. Lacrosse is not listed because most Louisiana people have no idea what lacrosse is.