大家好 (Hello everyone)
My name is Dylan Bassham (汪瀚) and I am from Mountain Top, Pennsylvania. I am finishing up my Freshman year at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, where I am an International Business Major, Asian Studies Minor, and midfielder.
I am currently in the middle of finals week, so please excuse my short introduction to China Lacrosse. As soon as this week is over, I will be able to give more updates and answer any inquiries.
My mother Mia (汪淼) was born and raised in Beijing. She attended graduate school at the University of Notre Dame, where she met my father, Greg (unfortunately Tulsa-born Americans generally do not have Chinese names).
My Chinese grandparents helped raise me, and I was born the luckiest kid in the world. I was blessed to be born into a family of different cultures, languages, and ways of life.
I have been to visit my grandparents, who still live in the heart of Beijing, thirteen times, so I have been immersed in the Middle Kingdom’s culture.
My most recent visit was this past June, when I played for China in the Asian Pacific Lacrosse games that were hosted in Beijing. We placed fourth out of eight teams, losing to Thailand in the bronze medal match.
The sport of lacrosse was first introduced to China in 1992, when Team USA arrived in Beijing to explain the sport to administrators and coaches at the Beijing Sports University. Unfortunately, because lacrosse is not (yet) an Olympic sport, it was not taken very seriously.
Growth in China
With the help of the Japanese Lacrosse Association, expatriates and even locals, lacrosse in China has steadily grown. The sport is primarily played in Shanghai and Beijing with over 200 participants and expects to increase in numbers exponentially.
China Lacrosse took a big step towards greatness when it became the 44th member to join the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL). Along with the FIL, China Lacrosse has received generous equipment donations from Poway high school and the University of New Hampshire.
Since there is no funding from the schools or government in China, all expenses are out of pocket.
China lacrosse is taking another HUGE step this summer.
For the first time ever, a Chinese team will be participating in the World Championship. This July, 38 countries will fly to Denver for the largest international lacrosse tournament ever held. It’s an incredible achievement for the Chinese players to join this event and be able to play on the same stage as the best lacrosse players in the world.
Currently, the team is working on their sticks and hitting the weight room to prepare for this once in a lifetime opportunity to represent their country.
Because it is not a government supported sport, the China Lacrosse program is not funded in anyway other than what these students and their families put into it. We now have the challenge of paying for all the costs associated with participating in this event. Flights, housing, equipment, meals, and other costs have created a major challenge for us to see this through.
A 45-day Indiegogo campaign was recently launched as a fundraiser.
You’ll see on the site that there are “perks” for each donation level.
If you are interested in contributing in a different way, please feel free to email me personally and I’ll be happy to discuss it with you. Pass this along to anyone else you think might want to lend a hand. These players have been working hard and this trip will make a huge impact on lacrosse development here in China.
Time to Prepare
Because this is China’s first year in the world games, technically we are allowed to have as many Chinese-American and Chinese-Canadian players as we want.
However, Mike Elefante, the founder of Shanghai Lacrosse and a complete lax junkie, believes that the growth of the sport in China is more important than the team’s win-loss record in the games.
Don’t get me wrong, we’ll be good, but he cares more about the long-term development of the sport rather than winning. Instead of having all Chinese-North American players, we only have a few that were dedicated to growing China lacrosse and flew out to Beijing, Shanghai, or Hong Kong to participate in an Asian international tournament.
I have witnessed the work ethic of the Chinese firsthand. And my Chinese teammates are no different.They genuinely love the sport and sacrifice many hours and dollars to be able to play.
It is not in the Chinese culture to ask for money so this is important for many of my teammates who cannot ask. Regardless of whether you can donate, spreading the word of China Lacrosse goes a long way. You can like our Facebook page and check out the main website for more details.
Thank you all, and together, let’s continue to GROW THE GAME!