And another reason why we coach

Published by:

Over the years people have asked me why I coach.  A good deal of my answers revolve around the fun I have watching young people excel at something that they are passionate about.

It could be the first time they pick up a ground ball, score their first goal, make a nice check or a great save.  Sometimes it is the thrill of being in a close game and trying to make all the correct decisions to give your team the chance to succeed.

It could be achieving a team goal or a championship.  I have coached at every level (except pro) and I have seen wonderful things on and off the field.

This past weekend in the town of Farmville, Virginia, Legendary Hampden  Sydney Head Coach Ray Rostan bid farewell to his last senior class.  The importance of this day did not go unnoticed by people that are involved in our great game.

This marks the 37th year that coach Rostan has patrolled the sidelines, 31 years for the Hampden Sydney Tigers.  Coach Ray has amassed over 300 wins in his career and he decided this year he would retire.  By way of the Facebook posts I have seen the last few days there looked like hundreds of former players attended Coach Ray’s last home game before competing in the ODAC, NCAA qualifying tournament.  They defeated a very good and nationally ranked Lynchburg team (last years NCAA runner-ups) 13-9.

I first met Coach Ray at the US Lacrosse Convention some ten years ago.  As one of the convention committee chairs I was responsible for getting coaches to speak at the national event.  I had spoken with coach several times over the phone and we hit it off right away.  Could it be that he was from Copiague, Long Island and I was from West Babylon (bitter rivals) or that he coached several of my players (Bobby Fulton, David Beman, Brad Mostowy) and guys I coached with (John Pritzlaff & Ryan Harrington).

I asked Coach what he wanted to talk about and he said how about shooting.  Now mind you we had several professional players that were going to talk about shooting so I was a little hesitant to have another shooting presentation.  But I said sure that’s fine coach.  Coach Ray brought his long time assistant Jay (who happens to be his son) and they put on a shooting display that people still talk about today.  Coach Ray was happy to rip corners and put balls where ever he wanted.  Not only was he a great speaker but he was able to demonstrate the art of shooting a lacrosse ball in layman’s terms and everyone that was in attendance were very impressed.

Coach Ray is just a genuine all and all good guy.  He always takes your call he answers emails (sometimes not timely) and is always there if you need him for any reason.  Not only did he impact many players during his career but he impacted many Moms and Dads and siblings.

So to answer my question Why do I coach?  It’s because of guys like Ray Rostan who don’t do it for fanfare, prestige, money or fame.  They do it because they want to make a positive impact on young people’s lives.  Coach Ray is a DIAMOND in the rough and we will all miss him a great deal.

From one Coach to another…THANK YOU COACH RAY you have blessed all of us.

ray

Pretty Cool Stuff

Published by:

I recently received this letter (see below) from the Atlanta Blaze and former Atlanta Youth Lacrosse Alumni Scott Ratliff.  I am thrilled to be mentioned in the letter as the author Scott Ratliff holds a special place in my heart.

I have coached thousands of players over the last 35  years and many of them are truly remarkable people.  Some went on to be be great college players some became doctors, teachers, chefs, business owners, attorneys, writers, lacrosse coaches, officials and many have and are currently serving in the military.   I think about them all often and some of them have become close friends and colleagues.

Scott is someone that I point to all the time as it relates to his work ethic and desire to improve every day.

To now have a pro-team in Atlanta with a young man that started in our program as a forth grader is quite the accomplishment.

I had the pleasure of coaching against Scott a few weeks ago and the student took it to the teacher in a convincing victory.  Losing is never easy but to lose to someone who you respect and admire and honors the game all the time and has a passion for teaching it to young men…well it made the loss a little more bearable.

Good luck to Scott and the Blaze and lets bring a Championship caliber team to Atlanta.

So come out next week and support Scott and the Blaze on April 23 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.  Click on the Blaze Logo and I hope to see you there.

See ya on the field…Coach Lou

blaze

 

In one week, Saturday, April 23rd, my dream of playing professional lacrosse in front of my hometown fans will come true when I take the field for the Atlanta Blaze.

My name is Scott Ratliff and when I was 4 years old I moved to the Camden Place subdivision in East Cobb, Georgia. That same year, my dad put a lacrosse stick in my hands and almost instantly I fell in love with it.  I remember running around my backyard, dodging the pine trees and branches to score the game winning goal countless times.  I would call out “Scott Ratliff, from Atlanta, Georgia, takes the shot and scores!” By the time I entered middle school, being a lacrosse player was my identity, but as I grew older and the sport began to take me in different directions, my identity changed. I went from Scott Ratliff the kid who plays lacrosse, to Scott Ratliff the lacrosse player from Georgia, and I could not be more proud of that.

My official playing days started in the Atlanta Youth Lacrosse Organization where Lou Corsetti, Chris Kelly, and my father Randy Ratliff coached me. From there I moved on to play for Tim Pritts and John Holthouse at Walton High School and for Rich Wehman and Ed Solar with Trident Lacrosse in the summers. All of these coaches had one thing in common, they loved this sport and they gave back to it by helping grow the game here in Atlanta.

I moved on to play college lacrosse at a small liberal arts school in Baltimore called Loyola University. Surrounded by players from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Maryland, I was proud to represent a city and a lacrosse community that I knew was special.  In 2012 we made a run and won the Division 1 National Championship in front of 30,000 fans at Gillette Stadium. The support I received from former teammates, coaches, and friend’s back home was overwhelming. Suddenly I was being celebrated for playing a sport that hardly anyone in Georgia even knew about just a handful of years earlier. This experience motivated me to return to Atlanta and give back to the sport the same way my coaches had, by promoting its growth and sharing my passion for it with kids.   LB3 Lacrosse gave me the opportunity to do that two years ago and I have not looked back since. The sport here has blossomed and participation has sky rocketed, you can’t drive anywhere in this city without seeing a goal in a driveway or a lacrosse bumper sticker on a car. This explosion has not gone unnoticed; owner Peter Trematerra decided to put a Major League Lacrosse franchise, the Atlanta Blaze, right in our own backyard.

On January 20th 2016, just minutes before the collegiate draft, the Atlanta Blaze made my dreams become a reality when they acquired me from the Boston Cannons. Now my Blaze teammates and I will have a chance to represent this lacrosse community on the biggest stage. The Blaze is a team full of guys, who like me, are so passionate about this sport that we will sacrifice countless hours to try and reach our maximum potential in hopes of inspiring a future generation of lacrosse players. Major League Lacrosse is not the NFL or the NBA, we don’t get paid millions of dollars and we don’t show up on SportsCenter on a nightly basis. We do this for the love of the sport and we could not be more excited to do this for a city that has proven it loves the sport as much as we do. The passion of the lacrosse community in Georgia is what brought the MLL here, and that same passion is what will inspire this team to accomplish what many people don’t believe is possible. To bring an MLL Championship to the South, specifically to Cobb County Georgia, where this journey all started for me.

April 23rd the Blaze will kick off our Inaugural Season. The Blaze opener will be a celebration of Lacrosse and a tribute to all the people who have grown the game to where it is in Atlanta now; people Like Lou Corsetti, Rich Wehman, Tim Pritts, Liam Banks, Frank Daniels and many more. Through this celebration we will attempt to reach the masses, to continue to grow the game and showcase it in front of people who have never been exposed. The Blaze will play with energy and with passion and we will give everything we have to represent this community the way it deserves. And when we do that, we will not fail.

Please join us, on April 23rd when the Atlanta Blaze kicks off our 2016 Inaugural Season at Fifth Third Bank Stadium, the celebration is on! See you there.

Putting it in perspective

Published by:

I came across this wonderful article (see below link) a few days ago and thought it would be a good time to post it.

Kate Leavell from US Lacrosse,  wrote this this very thoughtful piece which puts things into perspective when talking about youth sports.

I have been coaching for over 35 years and I have seem many things.

Some things make me scratch my head and others make me smile ear to ear.   I was having a conversation with one of our parents a few weeks ago and we were

talking about the pressure for kids to play year round sports or if they miss a season their child will fall behind.  She said her husband was told if their son missed baseball this spring

he would be way behind his peers.  Her response was classic and made me crack up “He is freaking seven for Pete’s sake”.

All to often we feel the need to push our young players into something that they:

  1. Don’t want
  2. Don’t get enjoyment out of

While it is important to guide our young people it is also important to make sure they are having fun and developing.  We should embrace the fact that they are passionate about something that is bigger than they are.

I highly recommend that you read this article.  It may give you a fresh meaning on another aspect of sports that we sometimes miss as parents and coaches.

Parents enjoy the moment article

See ya on the field!

 

Coach Lou