I'll never forget my first lacrosse stick. Not because of what it looked like, or how it felt. But for what it represents.
For the story it tells.
The game of lacrosse has a lot of history. Lacrosse, considered the oldest sport known to North America, is a game rich in tradition and history. I have always felt that I needed to give back to the game as the game gave to so many. My Uncle Matt gave me my first stick when I was in 5th grade. I remember having a catch in my grandmothers yard with golden retrievers running around. Little did I know then, how many opportunities that stick would open for me. My passion grew for the game as a player and now coach. The spirit of lacrosse has captured my heart as so many before me. The lessons this game has taught me have guided my life. The lacrosse community though getting bigger, is a small world. I feel grateful to be a part of it.
This game has connected me with numerous people who share the love of the game. Maggie, Kaela, and I all share the passion and love for the game of lacrosse. Last year, when we decided to start our own program, we counted down the days to our first tournament. Where will it be? What’s the weather going to be like? What will the uniforms look like? What girls will wear the first ever Tempest Lacrosse jerseys? How will the girls perform?
Well... that day came. In Indiana on a beautiful 90 degree sunny day. With 23 girls in white, grey, and teal jerseys. It wasn’t until Maggie and I stood on the that sideline for game one that it hit me. We had done it! Tempest Lacrosse was about to make history. The group of girls in those grey and teal jerseys were on the field in front of us. It brought a smile to my face -
running a travel lacrosse program was always a dream of mine since I too had played summer lacrosse on hot sunny days with a goal of getting recruited and accomplishing my dreams.
All of our players missed out on their spring seasons due to COVID-19, so stepping out on that field for the first time in a year, was more meaningful this go around for everyone. It made you think that this game can be taken away from you at any time. So why leave with any regrets? If COVID has taught us anything, it’s to have no regrets. It makes you appreciate what really matters in life.
That whistle blew for game one and our Tempest girls were off and running. The first goal in Tempest history was scored. The first save in Tempest history was made. The first defensive unit shut down was achieved. The first offensive set was accomplished . The first game jitters were brushed off. Game one, complete. At the end of the game, I informed the girls they just made history. The first ever group to play a game for Tempest Lacrosse. How special is that?!
As the day went on, the girls felt more and more comfortable with each other. Cohesion started to build and more smiles started to form.
The next day, was by far the best day yet. The girls showed up ready to PLAY. The connection out there on that field was like the girls had played together for years. The transition from our goalies to our attack was beautiful. The patience on attack was incredible. Defense played together as one unit as if they were attached on a string. Maggie and I looked at each other, in masks and all, jumping off the ground in excitement and proud as ever watching this group of girls play. It was special and this day, I’ll never forget.
Each game, they improved. They emptied the tank. Isn’t that what sports is about? You can always get better. You can always challenge yourself to be better. You can always take as much fuel as you have in you, light it, and let it burn with passion.
But what really blew my mind was the amount of fun they had. I have always been told by my past coaches how important it is to have fun. Now, as a coach, I try to instill that in my players. You always play your best lacrosse when you are having fun and enjoying the game. I wish I would have realized that a bit earlier in my playing days. That’s what this group of girls accomplished this weekend. They ensured they had fun out there.
As founders and coaches, we couldn’t have been more proud of the bar that was set. This group set the tone for many more practices, games, memories, and years to come. This past weekend, this group of 2020 girls, created the first chapter in history of Tempest Lacrosse. What will the next chapter bring?
I am grateful for the game of lacrosse and the tradition it brings. Most of all, that Tempest Lacrosse has a place in the rich history of the game along with so many before us.