Editor’s Note: please welcome the one and only Rick Roy back to LAS! Rick is Growing the Game like crazy out in Eastern Oregon, and has a great perspective on lacrosse and life. We always welcome Rick’s posts, and this one on TIME, and how there is no end game when it comes to giving, is right up our alley!
As a parent and coach of a high school program, I can understand where the author of The Lacrosse Parent’s End Game: It’s Coming is coming from, but it is my belief that parents should NOT view Johnny and Susie’s moving up to high school or graduating from high school as an “end game” at all. Instead, these actively involved parents should see it as the end of one chapter, and the beginning of another. It is now time to turn the page on this story of lacrosse…
I would not think of walking away from coaching just because I do not have a child playing, and a parent who loves the game, and their child’s program, should not walk away from the sport just because they do not have a child playing any longer. It can be a sad time for some, and it can be unexpected, but really the lacrosse journey has just begun!
In my view, parents that are deeply invested in the success of lacrosse programs are essential to the success of the program. Most high school lacrosse programs (at least the ones I am familiar with) NEED parental involvement, especilly from experienced parents…
Maybe you are no longer needed to haul the kids around or welcome by the coach or school administration but, you have incredible knowledge and experience (e.g., wisdom) that could come in very handy for new upstart programs in your area, or programs that continue to struggle and just cannot seem to get it pulled together. You are essential to ensuring that the game is understood properly by new parents and fans. You are the mentors of the next crop of parents, so please don’t leave them to re-invent the wheel! We need you to stay fully involved!
I know this may seem like a dramatic reaction to a seemingly innocuous and very pleasant article, but the need for people to invest their time in kids who are not their own is so great that I felt compelled to respond, in the hopes that, at the very least, a conversation could be started.
Allow me to provide an example from outside of lacrosse:
My wife and I have taught high school and elementary religious education classes in our church. One thing that struck me as odd was that the older members of the church were not engaged in the teaching of the youth. Their children had grown up and graduated from high school, and gone off to college, so I guess they figured they were done. Young parents with young children were now the instructors. This seemed upside down to me. The knowledgable and experienced parents (those with wisdom) walked away from being instructors and mentors. Parents that should be focusing on raising their children were now responsible for educating the congregation’s children. I thought, and still think, that this is an error in thinking and practice.
Many of the parents out there whose children have moved on could be great youth coaches and/or awesome lacrosse officials, officers in the local USLacrosse chapter, or other local lacrosse organizations. The accumulated wisdom would be wasted if you were to walk away from the game just because your kids graduated. Becoming engaged in local, regional or national lacrosse initiatives would be great ways to stay connected with the game that could use someone with experience. Become a Grower of the Game and become a USLacrosse Keeper of the Game to help ensure the games’ continued growth and that it is done in an apprpriate manner.
In this coach’s opinion, your end game should come when you are no longer physically capable of volunteering your time, and not when your child graduates. I understand the emotions of letting go of your children, but I hope that you will all pour those emotions into helping the next group of kids, and the next group after that.
The wisdom of “former” lacrosse parents is very much welcomed, and wanted, by this coach.
Thanks to Richard for this response post, and thanks to Lee Southren for writing the original post! Both of these guys have us thinking in new ways, about new things, and we would like to thank the BOTH of them for sharing their thoughts and passions with the LAS world!
To learn a little bit more about what Rick is doing out in Eastern Oregon, check out this great article from the Burns Times Herald about the Six Nations field tournament that Nadzitsaga will be playing in.