Editor’s note: Please welcome Trevor Tierney to the Lax All Stars! Trevor recently launched his website, TierLacrosse.com, and what you’ll read below is his first blog post – full of great insight from a former NCAA D1 2x All-American and current University of Denver assistant coach. Over the coming months, Trevor will be dropping knowledge on LAS readers weekly. He’ll answer questions about recruiting, coaching and what it takes to bring the game to a high level. Enjoy his first post below!
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Trevor Tierney. I am the volunteer assistant coach at DU and son of head coach, Bill Tierney. My father, “Coach T”, is a legendary hall of fame lacrosse coach who won six Division I NCAA National Championships at Princeton University in his 23 years there and is now the head coach at DU, where he led the team to its first NCAA Final Four in only his second year as the coach. I was fortunate enough to play for him at Princeton and take part in two of those national championships as a goalie on the team. My “claim to fame” in lacrosse is that I am the only goalie in the history of the game who has won a championship at the NCAA level with Princeton, at the ILF World Championships for our US National Team, and in the MLL with the Baltimore Bayhawks.
With all that being said, how could I possibly say that winning does not matter? The reason that I start out this blog listing these accomplishments is that our experiences have allowed me to see that accomplishment is not what matters. Awards and trophies come and go. They do not define me as a person. That is all old news and I look back at that as another lifetime as I am now well into my thirties! Also, other people really do not care too much about my accomplishments as they have their own lives to worry about. Finally, there are much more important things in this world to direct my energy and attention to now. It would be a sad way to live to just reach certain goals and then rest on those laurels for the rest of my life.
The reason that I bring this all up is that my goal through TIER LACROSSE, working with the DU men’s lacrosse team, running all of our DU camps, clinics and tournaments, and coaching the DENVER ELITE teams is to help young athletes grow, mature and evolve as young men off the field, through the lessons that they learn on the lacrosse field. Let me say that again more concisely. I want to use the sport of lacrosse to help boys grow into young men.
Furthermore, my goal through these avenues is not to win games. That is why I chose to step down to volunteer assistant coach at DU. I don’t want to get paid to win, which is basically what is expected from all college coaches everywhere and in every sport. My goal is not to get every player that I work with recruited by a Division I college. That is not even possible and it is not that important in the grand scheme of things. My goal is not to make every player that I work with into the best lacrosse player on his team, in his county, in his state or in the world. I spent too much of my life trying to do that myself and realized in the end, that nothing was ever good enough for my own high standards.
Now, some of these things will happen along the way. Our DU team and DENVER ELITE teams will win lots of games, maybe even some championships. Our DENVER ELITE players will get recruited and offered scholarships. Every player that comes to our camps or clinics will be given the skills and direction to try and reach their fullest potential as a player.
Paradoxically though, none of these things matter. No matter what and no matter how good you are as a lacrosse player, one day your career will come to an end. Then you will be staring at the rest of your life and wondering why you put so much time into it and what you all learned. One day, you will be where I am now! I started playing at the age of 5 and made one of my first saves with my head. I stopped playing at 28 after I made one of my last saves with my head and sustained my twelfth concussion! That is 23 years of my life that I poured my energy into being the best lacrosse goalie that I could be. And now that it is over, what did I learn that really mattered? And what can young lacrosse players focus on so that they can get the most out of playing a game?
And that is what this blog and this website will be all about…the life lessons that come from being a lacrosse player. It will be about the personal development that can come from playing this amazing game and how the athletes that we work with can bring these lessons into their everyday lives. It will be written to give everyone that is involved with us a greater perspective on what we should be trying to achieve through youth and high school lacrosse.
Does this all mean that what we are doing is silly? That lacrosse is “just a game”? Well, in some ways it does. If you think it is going to make you rich and famous (which are questionable paths to fulfillment and happiness), well I’m not so sure about that either. But with the way the game is growing, you never know. If you think that becoming a great lacrosse player is going to make you happy, then guess again…trust me on this one. However, if we can become aware of what the game can teach us as people and we can use those things to become great men, then this is not silly at all! This is a tremendous opportunity, This is lacrosse as life.
And ironically, the only way we can learn these life lessons through lacrosse is by doing our best and reaching our full potential as players. If we just decide that none of this matters and we will not try hard, then we will not get anything out of it. So, let me make this very clear : WE COMMIT TO BEING THE BEST LACROSSE PLAYERS AND ATHLETES WE CAN BE. But, just be aware of why we are doing that while in the process. We are training for life, we are training to become warriors in this world, to become strong, well-rounded men who are capable of taking on anything that life throws at us. In this sense, lacrosse means everything.
I will try to write on this subject matter every week or so. I would love for you to comment or ask questions in the comment box below or in the discussion page on this website. At some point, I will also get to instructional, recruiting and equipment advice, but for now I want to focus on the aspects of the game that really matter to me.
Thank you for reading and I hope that you will continue to follow this blog!
Check out TierLacrosse.com for more great articles from Trevor Tierney.