LIFE. LIBERTY. LACROSSE.
There is no disputing that the State of New York is a hotbed for lacrosse (editor’s note: there are over 100 public high schools with lacrosse programs on the approx. 100 mile stretch of Long Island alone). In fact, due to the popularity of lacrosse in the Empire State, it is often referred to as the “Mecca” of the sport. No one knows this better than the folks at ULAX, who have been hosting leagues and tournaments in various locations throughout New York for the past 11 years.
NEW YORK LACROSSE
After launching its first league in the Big Apple in 2007, ULAX has continued to host leagues and tournaments throughout the state with various events in Buffalo, Long Island and New York City. These events include the ULAX Liberty Cup tournament, which will soon serve as the organization’s national tournament, along with an array of box and field leagues. With over 50 teams – comprising of 1,000+ men and women participants – in its New York lacrosse leagues in 2018, ULAX-New York seemingly serves as the backbone for the organization’s various leagues throughout North America.
NEW YORK LACROSSE STATE OF MIND
The success of the ULAX New York lacrosse leagues can, in large part, be attributed to the players and league managers. ULAX co-founders Neema Kassaii and Tim Leonard believe that the New York leagues have been such a success because a majority of the players in New York have fully bought into the ULAX system. This, according to Kassaii, “has led to both great competition and camaraderie among the players in our New York leagues, which keeps it fun for everyone involved.” Kassaii continued, “The New York players seem to understand that the league is what they make it. In other words, we provide the infrastructure but its success hinges on their commitment to sign up and show up.”
This “buying in” to the ULAX system is evidenced by the sheer volume of teams that have been established for (at least initially) the sole purpose of participating in the ULAX New York lacrosse leagues. It goes without saying, the New York team captains/organizers take great pride in building teams that can withstand the test of time. The goal is to build a team that can be both competitive and fun for years to come – let’s be honest, having a good time with your teammates post-game is arguably more important than winning the game itself.
In addition, ULAX’s New York managers have each, in their own way, become a staple in their local New York lacrosse communities, which has further contributed to the organization’s success in the state. “Each manager in New York has made a point to get to know the players in their respective leagues while putting their own unique stamp on their management responsibilities” said Leonard. For example, ULAX Buffalo manager, Chris Yaeger, says he “likes to get to know new faces in the league so [he] can build a relationship with the players.” The New York players’ and managers’ willingness to “buy in” to the ULAX system has enabled (as our very own Connor Wilson recently put) ULAX to “consistently provide an outlet to play the game” in New York and all throughout North America.
WHAT ULAX CHAPTER REIGNS SUPREME?
Given ULAX’s following in the Empire State, it is no surprise that countless players from the organization’s New York lacrosse leagues have gone on to play in (and be avid supporters of) its other leagues around North America – from California to Texas to Illinois and beyond! Several ULAX New York alumni have even gone on to start their own teams that now play in other ULAX leagues. This begs the question: “What ULAX league has the most talent?” The headstrong players from the New York leagues would undoubtedly choose their own chapter. The empirical data, however, would suggest otherwise as teams from Connecticut have claimed the ULAX Liberty Cup title the past two years.
All of that said, perhaps there is only one real way to find out what ULAX league reigns supreme: Put in your bid to enter a team in the 2019 ULAX Liberty Cup tournament for a chance to compete against some of the top talent in the country!
Read more on ULAX, the nation’s largest network of lacrosse leagues here.