This is a year in the life of a Danish Lacrosse Player. The Danish National Lacrosse Team has just finished its last training camp before the 2016 European Championships, which will be Denmark’s first international lacrosse appearance since 2010, and I will be one of the 19 guys stepping onto the field wearing the red and white this summer.
But how did I get here?
A year ago we had no coach, no money, no real team, and no team equipment. I guess we could have been described as a bunch of random guys who got together (occasionally) to threw the ball around for some giggles. However, a lot can happen in one year, and we have definitely seen some major changes in that time.
I will try to pick out a few moments along the way that have shaped the Danish National Lacrosse Team.
First Steps: becoming a Danish Lacrosse Player
We convinced Nick Ravenhall, former New Zealand National Team player and Norway’s coach for the 2012 European Championships, to fly to Copenhagen to meet with the Danish Lacrosse Federation board and see our players play. I am not sure if he really knew what he was signing up for at the time. Due to the size of lacrosse in Denmark, Nick has been asked to be personally involved in a lot of things that other national team coaches usually wouldn’t, even down to helping players manage their own personal finances to afford the trip. He has put, and continues to put, in a monumental effort for our program.
Uniting The Tribes
As I mentioned earlier, we haven’t had a Danish national team since 2010, which means that the people playing lacrosse in Denmark aren’t really used to combining with players from other clubs. Even though we only have 3 clubs in Denmark, the rivalries are strong. We play against each other all the time and really develop a disliking for the guys we play against.
This culture is hard to break. We held national trainings in September and October and while the vibe around the individual players was good we were missing a bit of team spirit/love/mateship – whatever you want to call it.
The squad finally started to come together as a single entity after we got training uniforms. Coming from Australia, where we mix around teams with guys people from other clubs on a regular basis, I couldn’t really understand the whole rivalry thing (maybe because I haven’t been around as long as some of the others or that I regularly used as the loan out goalie and have actually played games for all 3 teams in one season). I am just glad we figured it out pretty early in the process.
Another big part of the team bonding process was the December julefrokost (Christmas Lunch) at Morten’s house. Some great food, a few drinks, and a couple of thrown potatoes later and the guys were much more comfortable mixing with each other.
A year ago people didn’t even really know that we had lacrosse in Denmark. We had a little Facebook page with about 200 followers, of which the majority were our own friends and family. No Instagram, no Snapchat, no Twitter, no LaxAllStars.com articles. Basically… nothing.
As one of the only native English speaking guys on the team I was pointed out to be the guy to get the PR show on the road. My girlfriend hates it. The countless hours spent sorting through photos and unloading things onto the interwebs isn’t her favourite part of our home life. I think she does like it when the stuff pays off and the team gets great deals on gear, ultimately making my trip cheaper and leaving more money to pay the mortgage at home.
A year of social media work has turned into 1000+ followers on both Facebook and Instagram and a strong Twitter following. The surge in our internet presence is almost entirely responsible for some awesome deals we nailed on gear – 50% off footwear and socks from Under Armour, 50% off gloves and elbow pads from STX via NortherSoul in England, a great package deal on team uniforms from UncommonFit, a donation of 50 Cascade helmets from James Madison Boys Lacrosse in Virginia, and the first ever sponsorship in Danish Lacrosse history – hero mesh and hero strings for the entire squad from East Coast Dyes.
Our players have also contributed really well in this area and are almost all actively promoting our team’s trip to the tournament.
Apart from putting nice photos on Instagram the players have been actively working to cut down costs for the program. Unfortunately we don’t have a big enough cult following to fund the trip for our players and our year of monthly training weekends, our trip to Manchester to play practice games as a part of the British National Championships, and ultimately, our trip to the European Championships, will cost the players just over $2,000 USD each.
If you look at $2,000 to play 8 games at the Euros it is $250 USD a game. Fortunately we have held training camps and practice games along the way so our guys are getting a good amount of game time and experience in return for their hard earned cash. We didn’t sit idly by while the costs went up. We are a productive bunch and managed to cut back the costs by crowdfunding our team and selling t-shirts and beers.
I personally harassed my friends and family into buying 16 t-shirts and 380 bottles of Danish Lacrosse beer. Thanks to everyone who gave in to the good cause along the way!
The 2016 European Championships
So here we are. The 19 guys who were selected to represent the Danish National Lacrosse team have received their team uniforms from UncommonFit and are psyching themselves up for the tournament.
Denmark’s first international game since 2010 will be a fitting match against Norway on Thursday the 28th of July. It is a battle of the vikings and our coach will be coaching against his former squad.
Game 2 is against Scotland on Friday the 29th. We got a chance to play against the Scottish squad at the BNCs and it will be interesting to see how they have progressed since late April.
Game 3 will see us take on Austria on Saturday the 30th.
Game 4 is a match-up against Wales. They put us to the sword in Manchester a few months ago but our guys aren’t the quitting type and will be giving it their all until the final whistle.
Game 5 is our final group game and is a matchup against Ireland on Monday the 1st of August.
After the group games we don’t really know what will do down. There will be more 3 games to finish off the tournament and our opponents will be based upon finishing positions from the group stages. A gambling man might sit and make some predictions here but with 24 teams attending this year’s European Championships it is pretty hard to study the form guide and get a good read on it.
Finally, I would just like to wish all the competitors, spectators, organizers, fans, and officials a good tournament. I am looking forward to meeting a bunch of new people, so if you happen to come past team Denmark make sure you say hi – the hobbit goalie #13.
If you are interested in supporting our team then you can buy some official #vikinglax merchandise from lacrosse.com, HERE
If you are interested in following team Denmark’s trip to the European Championships then feel free to follow us across our social media channels:
You can also email me directly at email@example.com to get in touch about helping out with, or getting involved in, Danish Lacrosse.