Roger Maris once said “You hit home runs not by chance, but by preparation.” Casey Powell is proud to say that our Foundation prepared for a monstrous 2nd Annual Beach Lacrosse Festival and we knocked a home run weekend right out of the park.
First and foremost, our dedication to John Michael Night and Luca Annunziata was an extremely rewarding endeavor. We kicked off festivities with them on Friday night a big private dinner brought together literally – by the love of lacrosse.
The Beach Lacrosse Festival was brimming with players, parents and supporters in an absolutely electric atmosphere on Saturday. Luca was able to play lacrosse for the first time since his accident and John Michael Night was there to root for his parents who were called from the crowd to participate in a game of Speed Lacrosse. Here at the CWPLF we pray that this positive experience is a building block to the both boy’s recovery and we’re going to be with them every step of the way.
I’m proud of the level of competition the tournament generated. From the youngest divisions right up through the professional game everyone really brought their A-game to Siesta Key. We sent division winners away with a piece of the future by handing out new Evo Warps. We gave them a glimpse of the future of Speed Lacrosse with a professional game featuring #22easy himself, Chris Mattes and Jeff Hall against Coach John Galloway, Brendan Fowler and Connor Buczek. We battled tooth and nail in the sand and I’ll let you guess who’s team came out on top because it’s my game and I hate to lose at it ; )
We got some really great thank you letters for throwing this event and I’d like to quote Jennifer Macleod from the Kenya Lacrosse Association:
What I witnessed this past weekend was magical! The kids came together, playing not for a particular organization or school but the love of the sport without any boundaries. I watched some games that got pretty intense; that’s part of the fun of it… I feel like your event brought youth lacrosse back to what I believe it should be all about and wanted to personally thank you for a great experience.
I hope that I’ve planted the seed for everyone reading this newsletter to attend the 3rd Annual Beach Lacrosse Festival in 2017. I’m going guarantee another home run experience.
I’m going to guarantee that home run Beach Lacrosse Festival experience next year because I’ve been motivated by another event that took place in Florida…
The sporting world and this planet suffered a tragic loss when Marlins pitcher José Fernández perished in a boating accident on September 25th. He was only 24 years old, he was from Santa Clara, Cuba and he was the story of America.
He went from a 3-time failure at defecting from Cuba to saving his own mother’s life when she fell overboard on their final successful attempt. José transitioned quickly from a 16-year old pitching phenom’ at Braulio Alonso High School in Tampa, to a 2011 first round MLB draft pick at the age of 18. Jose piled up Major League Baseball accolades from the day he set foot in the league because of his tremendous talent but that’s secondary right now. Jose had an electrifying personality because he wore his passion for the sport he loved on his sleeve. He will always be remembered by is his undying passion for the game and his ability to make friends with everyone throughout his career. That is both a sentiment I am in touch with and a quality I aspire to have.
When I witnessed the tidal wave of grief, love and tribute that followed José Fernández death it had a resoundingly positive effect on my faith. Not only did Jose’s passing offer proof of what teammates really mean to each other but it was followed by a few chilling stories that I will draw on for motivation as long as I live.
The Marlins all came out wearing the number 16 to honor their teammate. Second baseman Dee Gordon, a dear friend of José’s, stepped up to the plate to lead off the game and he hit a baseball farther than he’d ever hit one in his life. The ball landed in the upper deck, Dee Gordon was in shock himself, and he rounded the bases with tears in his eyes. It was one of the most emotional moments in sports I’ve seen in my life and it had a second act.
Aledmys Diaz grew up with José Fernández in Cuba and traveled to Florida for his funeral on Monday. He returned to the Cardinals line up Tuesday and put his team up 5-2 by clearing the bases with the first Grand Slam of his career. Think about that.
All I can say is that somehow, somewhere these men are summoning the strength of the Almighty after being touched by the loss of their teammate, brother and friend.
“I told the boys, ‘if you all don’t believe in God, you better start.’ For that to happen today, we had some help.”
“Every chance I have to put on the uniform, I have to give everything I have today. That’s the legacy he gives us.”
“That guy would have been on the mound, and if he wouldn’t have been on the mound, he would have been on the top step, screaming for us.”
“I was crying, too. I had my head down. When he crossed home plate, tears were coming down his face, and they were coming down mine, too.”
Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud
“I’m grabbing some tissues and then I’m going to change the subject.”