This isn’t the story I expected to tell you. I thought I’d be writing about high school club lax. Instead (sorry youngins), I’m about to explain what it was like to meet those actually defining the future of college lacrosse.
Before I get started, however, I wanted to take a little prelude and let you know that I physically got to this event on my own. I drew the following conclusions on my own merit as well.
PrimeTime Lacrosse, a longtime supporter of Lacrosse All Stars and our company’s mission to Grow the Game®, operates the Colonial Clash each year in mid-November at Progin Park in Lancaster, Massachusetts. They’ve been a longtime client of mine, but I’d never been to one of their events in-person until just this past weekend.
It changed my outlook on the future of college lacrosse completely.
First, the staff was helpful inside a venue, unlike anything you’d ever see in the West. I’m an Idaho guy myself, and you just don’t see parks like Progin out there. Second, the professionalism of every college lacrosse coach was apparent and their attention was pointed at the fields. Finally, the overall attitude on site – from the players, coaches, parents, recruiters, and PrimeTime’s staff – wrapped it all up nicely with a bow.
Allow me to explain my stance a little further:
I Saw The Future of College Lacrosse At The Colonial Clash
Staff and Venue
Top recreational parks and stadiums have the prerogative to maintain cleanliness, manage parking, and even provide food. These are things expected by any events company that rents the venue. PrimeTime didn’t just rely on this — they leverage the venue’s services to elevate the athlete experience.
The PrimeTime Lacrosse staff is one of the most elite event production units that I have ever seen in action. Ian, Spencer, Laura, Jack, Matt, Chris and Alex are all a part of the incredible team that PrimeTime employs for their tournaments. Each of them deserves special recognition for the fantastic work that they do.
And, it all starts with the leadership at the top.
Tyler Low has been instrumental in creating the well-oiled machine that is PrimeTime Lacrosse. Being the co-founder of PrimeTime, Tyler is also the head coach of UMass Boston, a Division III school. He hasn’t done it alone, however, as he has had the help of other college coaches in building PrimeTime from the ground up. A lot of PrimeTime Lacrosse’s staff actually lead collegiate programs and on a daily basis mold the college program and that level of play as a whole. What is most impressive is that they’re selfless. They create a great culture at the places they coach and certainly at PrimeTime’s events. Instead of making the PrimeTime tournaments all about their own respective colleges, they’re opening it up to college programs everywhere, with heavy-hitters like Yale that have been in attendance. They provide great accessibility to high school players, with top-level athletes competing. I’m pretty sure I saw the next Matt Rambo there on Saturday.
Spencer Low — another critical cog of the PrimeTime machine — is the national events director and is responsible for selling for, planning and running all of the events that PrimeTime Lacrosse operates. He is the glue that holds the events together and is deserving of a lot of the credit for PrimeTime’s success.
It’s no surprise that a top-notch leadership team and company staff would be able to handle any obstacles that present itself during an event.
While parking at the event was difficult in terms of the challenge it presented, the staff on-site that was directing everything helped create a venue experience that is worthy of hosting the top players and college coaches in the country as was seen at the Colonial Clash on Saturday.
Want to become a college lacrosse coach? Look no further than how the college coaches at the Colonial Clash represented themselves. This isn’t an ordinary tournament. Coaches actually wake up early to arrive in time and earn their respective university a featured sport on PrimeTime’s recruiting board.
Did I mention that PrimeTime Lacrosse also feeds the college coaches onsite? I always sleep a little easier when I know the next morning I’m going to get handed a sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich. While I love using GrubHub as much as the next guy (seriously, such a great app!), nothing beats being hand-delivered a free breakfast sandwich.
Anyways, back to professionalism — it starts at the top. PrimeTime Lacrosse features an experienced staff who are collegiate coaches themselves. The event was set up to succeed from the start. The manner of the coaches and the tone that the staff had set quickly became adopted by the parents and helped define how the kids would perform. What we saw was all of the coaches were prepared to be there to represent their university to the fullest, while also interacting with other coaches with positivity to the highest degree.
When I spoke with coaches who have won national championships, they said the kids out there were being smart about how they deal with the weather, because it was difficult to find a diamond in the rough. Kids wore warm clothes and were careful to be efficient in their movements in order to capitalize on their moments in front of the coaches from some of the nation’s most respected programs.
If these kids are cognizant of the impact that these college recruiters have, they’re already miles ahead in preparing for college compared to where it was four years ago when I attended another “elite” lax tourney in New England. These kids and coaches are the future of lacrosse in college. Out of the 1,200 kids at the Colonial Clash, every single kid in attendance was of the caliber to be able to play college lacrosse. This is proof that the sport has accelerated in its competitive nature ahead of where the sport was four years ago. This is due to the hard work of many, but really it is because of the incredible attitude that a few visionaries have had in our sport, with PrimeTime Lacrosse being no exception.
Did I mention the confidence and positivity that these college lacrosse coaches exude? It truly sets the tempo for the day. The famous breakfast sandwich from PrimeTime must work as a motivation tool because this attitude I’m describing is unorthodox compared to other college recruiting events I’ve attended across the country over the past ten years.
Some coaches may be young graduate assistants or older volunteers, but it doesn’t matter. Every single one is on a mission to advance his or her career. It all starts with finding the right player who is going to make the biggest impact on your program.
When coaches watch, the kids get nervous. However, it also affects the parents — especially those with time to worry — even more. I can’t even begin to unwrap the in-depth conversations with parent-after-parent who explained to me the six figures they’d already spent on their high school sophomore’s budding lacrosse career.
Lucky for these parents, registering for the Colonial Clash is, in my opinion, one of the best investments in their player’s overall lacrosse experience that they could have made.
Because the energy and the tone that I have already mentioned that the staff and visiting coaches set gave those players their best chance to play at their highest level and feel confident in their performance.
In sports, attitude is a learned trait that’s ignited from the top-down.
As a seasoned CEO, I’ve had the luxury to come to the understanding of how much my actions and words can affect those around me. This has put me in a position to be incredibly aware of those that I speak with and their emotions, mental state and their ability to make something that is challenging into a positive experience. When I got out to Progin Park, it felt like it was -20 degrees with the wind chill. It wasn’t, but I’m not used to the conditions on the East Coast.
The weather was cold, so every coach was bundled. Those without a packable windbreaker on hand felt it the worst. I don’t know if I am ever going to get used to the freezing cold of November in the Northeast!
That could have been it for me. Instead, Tyler handed me a breakfast sandwich and turned my world around. He then introduced me to Jason Wellemeyer. Jason Wellemeyer has been an assistant coach at UMass Boston for the past 10 years. He is also the co-owner of PrimeTime Lacrosse and is Tyler’s best friend.
Jason leads by example. To me, that’s always been clear. Meeting him and shaking his hand and watching how he immediately got back to work let me know that PrimeTime has it in gear.
From there I was passed a golf cart — the first time anyone has given me curbside service at any lacrosse event I’ve attended — and I refuse to let it be the last time, either! I honestly think every lacrosse event operator should think deeply about how they represent themselves to college coaches, parents and the media if lacrosse is bound to make the Olympics one day. As a parent or college recruiter, you deserve to turn every corner at a lacrosse event and receive value. Whether it’s watching your child or is another part of the event experience, this is the lacrosse experience that I witnessed at the Colonial Clash that day.
“A” is for attitude, and we all know that. That’s because the folks at PrimeTime don’t sweat the small stuff. Instead, they take care of the little things ahead of time so that they can truly execute their vision. For this, PrimeTime Lacrosse gets an A+.
How Does this Define the Future of College Lacrosse?
I know it sounds like I’m tooting PrimeTime’s horn. I am. I have never seen any other lacrosse company with the level of execution that PrimeTime has. That’s what Tyler and Jason have recognized and what they emulate. That’s the reason why I believe they are the best.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see 30 more lacrosse events with PrimeTime of equal or better quality spread across the nation. Expansion is only inevitable when a company operates this well.
The coolest thing to take away from this recap, in my opinion, is to note that more and more collegiate coaches and aspiring young athletes are going to get higher quality experiences if PrimeTime Lacrosse expands. That can only make a greater impact on the future of college lacrosse than it already has.
<strong>Learn more at <a href=”https://PrimeTimeLacrosse.com” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>PrimeTimeLacrosse.com</a></strong></h4>