Think back to when you were given your first stick.
You might not remember the name, the brand, or exactly how it threw, but you remember how it made you feel.
Most of us were met with feelings of mysticism, excitement, and maybe even some frustration in the beginning. You tried, and tried, and tried again to throw a straight pass, or to simply catch the ball when your friend threw it to you. But that feeling once you nailed it… oh, man. If you were like me, you thought:
Dang, this is gonna be fun.
You learned how to spin the stick in your hand, how to cradle upside down, and how to throw the ball against the wall and catch it again. You went to the park with your friends and tried to throw the ball to each other from as far as you could. You made up little games with your friends like how many times you could bounce the ball off of the sidewall without dropping it, or using a manhole cover to play ping pong, or using a door frame in the house as a goal and trying to score on one another.
Everything in your world suddenly had room for lacrosse in some way.
Parents running errands around town? Bring the stick. Rainy outside? Stick tricks in the basement. Going to school? Might wanna bring the stick – your classmates aren’t gonna swim dodge themselves in the halls, after all.
You taught yourself to string a stick – you know, just in case. Depending on where you lived, a trip to the lacrosse store was like going to Six Flags. You signed up for every tournament, jamboree, and festival available. You begged your parents to send you to that summer camp your whole team signed up for.
You were hooked, and it was so innocent. It was a love born out of sheer curiosity. You always craved more, because nothing else in life made you feel quite like having that stick in your hand did.
So… what happened? When did you grow out of that child like wonder? Was it the pressure to make varsity? Was it the grind of the recruiting process? Was it all the time in the weight room and the 6 a.m. practices? Was it the stresses of becoming a coach?
We understand. Somewhere along the line, it became about two handed ground balls, doing everything overhand, and memorizing playbooks. But, what happens when you pick up the stick now? Does its magic still surge through your fingertips? Do you still crave to know its capabilities? Do you flash back to being the kid that carried around their first stick like a toddler carries their favorite toy? At the end of the day, if we’re not playing this game for the fun and love of it… why are we playing?
Whether you play professionally, coach in the Division I ranks, or are starting up a brand new youth league, the fact is that lacrosse is just a game. Yes, it’s a game that means much more than that to many of us. But at its heart – where we found it, where it all started for each of us – it’s something we clung to for all the right reasons. It’s time to let the little kid inside of you love the game again.