My puppy, Bowser, is helping me write this blog. Bowser is part Australian Sheppard, part Red Bull Energy Drink, part Al Qaeda terrorist. He’s a great lax partner, because he’s pro at retrieving the ball and bringing it right back to me. He’s also pro at chewing through the cables in the back of my TV, Audrey’s shoes, and our corporation’s original Articles of Incorporation.
We had our first official parents’ and players’ meeting in May of 2009 in a tiny classroom at the school. That worked out okay – we didn’t need a big one. 7 kids and 5 parents showed up to the meeting. I had disassembled my computer, dragged it across Baton Rouge to Prairieville, carried it all inside and set it up in the room so that as people filtered in, they could watch a game that I had recorded on my hard drive (Princeton vs Brown). That’s no easy feat because my computer is a monster. Chuck Norris’s Total Gym has nothing on transporting my technology.
See if you can do this – Can you remember the first time you ever saw lacrosse?
Some of you are thinking “I’ll never forget it.”
Some are thinking “God it was so long ago. I was just a little kid.”
Some of you have still never seen a lacrosse game.
You may recall in my first article when Paw says “what in the Hell is lacrosse?” Well, down here, our high schoolers say the same thing as Paw when their buddy first tells them about it while they’re out “muddin.”
Muddin’ explained (located in Prairieville, LA):
(I know these guys at Searchers. They do some amazing work.)
As the guys came into the room, sat down, and glanced at the TV, you could see their eyes go from “meh” to “Oh. My. God.” Phones were out, texting furiously (yes, we have cell phones and computers in Louisiana). “Dude, you’ve got to come see this. This sport is insane. And their hair! It just…flows!”
While I’m glad the kids had a good time watching the game, the meeting wasn’t actually directed towards them. There was a lot of work to be done before we could ever field a team. Since the state and school boards weren’t going to help us in any way, we were left to fend for ourselves. I’ve been in ‘sink or swim’ situations too many times to count, but never one of this magnitude, where so many people were relying on me, and where I wanted this to happen so bad. Our laundry list consisted of:
1) Get a bank account
– Need a Federal Employer ID Number to get a bank account
2) Get a FEIN from the IRS
– Have to be incorporated to get an FEIN
3) Form a Non-Profit Corporation to get FEIN
– Get Board Members for this corporation (Imagine telling Maw and Paw you need them to form a corporation for a lacrosse team. Yeah, exactly. Not many people stepped up to the plate and campaigned “Paw for Prez”)
– Create bylaws
– Have meetings and record minutes
– Subject to pay taxes! Must fix this
– Amend bylaws when needed
4) Apply for 501(c)3 status so that donations are tax deductible
– If you’ve never seen what all this involves, http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1023.pdf
5) Apply to be a team in the Louisiana High School Lacrosse League
6) Raise funds. Lots and lots of funds.
While all of this may seem ‘run of the mill’ to a large number of my audience, for the two parents, the other coach, and myself who had to do all of this with 0 experience, on top of working our normal day jobs, it was pretty damn tough. BUT, by June 5, 2009, we were incorporated, and just recently, we received our approval from the IRS as a bona fide Public Charity.
Time to hit the ground running.
“Our dues are going to cost a fortune. We need money,” was a phrase I said daily to our players. Thank God for unlimited mobile to mobile texting – my phone bill would have bankrupted me. As I’ve mentioned before, our parish (county) isn’t exactly the wealthy parish. Most of the kids had to walk door to door soliciting donations for a business that wasn’t approved as a charity yet. What stunned me was how eager to help out the Ascension Parish community was. Ascension Parish has a reputation of being very communal, and they lived up to that reputation well. Our kids raised ~$4,000, which lowered our dues per member about $110. We probably wouldn’t have a team if the dues had been that much higher.
Starting mid-June, our team was having casual practices 3 days a week. It’s hot in south Louisiana, mid-June, by the way. None of the players had pads, and as new guys showed up, I found myself without a stick. Still, we were the newest team in the league, and subsequently, had a team full of people who have never played lacrosse, so time was of the essence.
The rest of the teams in Louisiana had been up and running for a couple years, so it was safe to assume the majority of their players could sort of catch, throw, and cradle. We needed to catch up so that we didn’t get stomped every game. Luckily for me, I have two guys on the team from Colorado who grew up playing lacrosse. They’ve served as excellent role models, challenging everyone else around them to raise their skills.
Our first scrimmage rolled around in late January. We took on last year’s state runner up, who dominated us in every aspect of the game. When I played in high school, if we had lost by 23 points, I would have been so down that I probably would have drank a gallon of bleach. Most of my guys were smiling after the game – they were just pumped to be playing lacrosse.
The week after the demoralizing scrimmage, we rolled out to the AllState Sugar Bowl Lacrosse Classic. The tournament held in New Orleans hosted mostly teams from Louisiana, but John Carroll HS from Alabama and Klein HS from Texas were present. Our team didn’t win a game, but we got close to winning a few. Significant improvements in ground balls and ball movement happened over the course of one week.
Here’s a couple pics I snapped with the iPhone of John Carroll vs. Mandeville HS.
Klein HS from Texas ended up winning the tournament, beating out Jesuit of New Orleans in the championship. Some other teams that looked particularly good at the tournament were St. Thomas Moore in Lafayette, LA, and Brother Martin from New Orleans. Our team squares off against Brother Martin this weekend for it’s first ever regular season game, so we’ll see how it goes.
This week, I ate this beast at Pastime’s Jr:
This is the Bayou State Pizza. It’s shrimp, crawfish, crab meat, bell peppers, and banana peppers. So good. Also worth mentioning is their Boudin (pronounced Boo’ Dan) pizza. Boudin is another popular meat down here.
Are you jealous of Connor Wilson for heading down to NOLA yet?
Interview with a Louisiana Laxer
The below interview between me and Kyle “Flowda” Stroda was not staged or scripted in any way. Flowda is one of my long poles.
Knox: Kyle, what do you think is the best part about lacrosse?
Flowda: The flow.
Are you growing your flow out?
Flowda: Of course. It’s the most important thing in lacrosse.
How do your parents feel about that?
Flowda: My mom tried to get me to cut it last week.
How’d that work out?
Flowda: I told her “NO MOM, I can’t let the team down!”
There was no reason to continue the interview. What more needed to be said?
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.