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It’s Never Too Late to Start Playing Lacrosse

At the age of 31, I decided to start playing lacrosse.

They say that you can’t teach an old dogs new tricks, but I’m here to tell you it’s never too late to learn something new.

Some might think it’s ridiculous that I’m trying to play a new sport in my 30s, but my response is, “better late than never, right?” I have been watching lacrosse for almost 15 years, but it wasn’t until recently that I finally decided to start playing. 

My first exposure to lacrosse was actually one of the sport’s most controversial moments. Duke lacrosse was all over ESPN for the wrong reasons in 2006. At the time I vaguely knew what lacrosse was, I knew it involved a stick and a ball, but I had never actually watched a game. A year later I was flipping through the channels Memorial Day morning and saw Duke Lacrosse on TV playing for the National Championship. I barely knew what was going on, but one thing I did know is that I enjoyed watching the game the entire time. 

Duke Falls to Johns Hopkins in NCAA Title Game, 12-11 - Duke University
Photo Courtesy of Duke University

While going to college at Southern Oregon University, I found out that the school had lacrosse as a club sport. I had some friends who were on the team and they told me that any student could join the team and that a lot of the current players had little to no experience prior to joining. As much as I wanted to play, I never found the time between school and work.

Throughout my young adult life I continued to watch NCAA lacrosse when it was on TV and became a huge fan of the PLL when it debuted in 2019. The PLL brought my lacrosse fandom to a new level. The fast pace, high scoring games were more exciting to me than the college game, and the access to the watch games was a lot easier as well. That summer I was hooked. I went from casually watching lacrosse when it was on TV to trying to watch every game that was televised. 

Start playing lacrosse
Photo: Ryan Conwell

Like everyone else, I had alot of free time during the 2020 lockdown and was looking for something to pass the time. While watching some NLL highlights, I thought to myself “I wonder if they have any novice adult leagues in the area?” I started researching and discovered there was a masters league that accepted novice adult players. Once restrictions started to lift I went to my local lacrosse store and I bought a stick and got some lessons. My goal was to become good enough to play in that masters league by the 2021 season. 

Start Playing Lacrosse

When I went to the store to ask about lessons, the store owner asked how old my kid was and I told him the lessons were for me, I was surprised by his response “Oh they’re for you? That’s awesome!” We went through all the basics, ground balls, passing, catching, shooting, and dodging.  I was picking things up quickly and was definitely better than I thought I would be. I was only getting 1 lesson a week, but I was playing wall ball and implementing what I learned after each lesson. By the time my lessons were over, the store owner said “You could go out and play right now, you may not go out there and light up the scoreboard, but you can pass, catch, and not mess with the flow of the game, you won’t look lost out there.” 

After my lessons I started playing in local pickup games. I was definitely nervous my first time out there, but everyone I have played with was friendly and gave me tips to improve my game. I have been playing pickup games most of the spring and am looking forward to summer league. I may not be the best out there, but I am enjoying every moment I get to play. 

I truly have fallen in love with the sport of lacrosse. I went from wanting to play in 2021, to trying to find any avenue I can to be more involved with the game.  Not only am I playing in some summer leagues, but I am looking to become a ref in the fall and hopefully continue to write about lacrosse. My love for the sport is only beginning. 

Take it from me, If you have the drive and determination, it’s never too late to start something new. You might actually end up enjoying it more than you thought you would. 

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