Category Archives: Zebras

You win some and you lose some. Putting it into perspective.

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Well another summer season is coming to a close and this year has a been a whirlwind of activity.

Our Coyote teams have done well and our new program the Road Runners showed grit and resolve.  They did not win any games in the two tournaments they entered but they did get better which was the intent when several booster clubs and parents asked if we could put together a development team.

It still amazes me how caught up we get in winning a tournament and the behavior of adults and sometimes players during these contests.  Luckily most of our players and parents have been brought up with our tenets ” Fun, Fundamentals, Sportsmanship and Honoring the Game”.  While we all have our moments and sometimes stray off path it is refreshing to see that our message shines through from our youngest to oldest players.

Our entire Coyote and Road Runner programs were given the Sharyn Price Memorial Sportsmanship award voted on by the lacrosse officials at the Southern Open.  When Coach Price gave us this award I was thrilled.  I have had the pleasure of being honored for many things in my sports career as a player and coach.  No award comes close to this because it shows that all the hard work Mary Jo and I do for our program pays off with such a tremendous honor.

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Lacrosse is a physical, mental and emotional game and it has to be played with pride and enthusiasm.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of coaching against two friends in the playoffs of the Southern Open Lacrosse Tournament.  Brian Dowd who coached a very good Birmingham team and Frank Cecere my childhood friend from West Babylon who I sweated and bleed with while we were Captains of our High School Football and Lacrosse Teams.

Franks team was put together for Jamie McHenry a young man who tragically lost his life two years ago.  Jamie wore number 8 and Frank formed Team 8 to keep Jamie’s memory alive.

Both teams were raring to go before the face-off and Frank and I gathered the teams at midfield to talk about Jamie and carry on his memory with a friendly game of lacrosse.  Both teams competed hard and worked their tails off.

I think we both honored Jamie and his families legacy with a hard fought game and putting it all into perspective.  Lacrosse is not about wins and loses it’s about respect and the lifetime relationships you build.

God speed Jamie 🙂  Coach Frank and Coach Lou

 

Bigger than the game.

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Every year that I coach this great game something occurs that shows you how special our sport is.

As you may have heard a young lacrosse player (Jack Enright) was injured a few weeks ago and is rehabbing at the Shepherd Center.  Everyone in the Atlanta Youth Lacrosse community and around the country has rallied around Jack.

One of our Coaches Richard Kopleman started “Ground Balls for Jack” where his team raised money for every ground ball they picked-up during this weeks game.  The players asked for  pledges from parents, neighbors and family members for Jack’s medical expenses.  I believe they raised       $ 1500 dollars.  WOW!

Coach Kopleman coaches his three boys teams (Harris, Lucas and Jordan) and is always around the field coaching his teams and anyone else that needs help.  He is a busy attorney during the day as well as a sports agent.  Coach always finds time to help and this recent undertaking does not surprise me.  He is never looking for a pat on the back or accolades he just gets it done with a positive approach.

I am so glad that we have people like Coach K who gives his time, money and energy to our players and families and he totally understands the mission of Atlanta Youth Lacrosse.  “Fun, Fundamentals, Sportsmanship and Honoring the Game”.  Each week when I see him in action I always learn something.

Listed below is the email to his team.   It shows you that some things are “Bigger than the game”.

Great day of lacrosse yesterday. Perfect weather, and the boys all came out ready to play and win ground balls. We quit counting after we won our 35th contested ground ball. I trust everyone could see how the ground ball battle impacts a game (playing a younger, less experienced team never hurts). I was extremely proud of the boys, all of whom appeared highly motivated to win ground balls, knowing their efforts would benefit Jack Enright. Of course, a consequential benefit of “Ground Balls for Jack” was the impressive overall play of the entire team.

There are no better moments in coaching than those where we can combine meaningful life lessons with lacrosse lessons. Yesterday certainly offered one of those moments, and was an incredibly rewarding day I won’t forget. It was tremendous watching the boys play for a cause far more important than winning a rec league lacrosse game. Individual performance – other than winning ground balls – was never discussed. Instead, the sideline chatter was all about winning ground balls – and an occasional request for a break from the action as we had only one extra player – and playing as a team. Not one of the boys expressed any concern with the score or individual play. Really nice to see, especially in such young boys.

We have a great group of boys this season, and I am pleased that I have seen improvement across the board. All the boys have told me they’re having fun this season. As you will recall, our goals – knowing safety is a top priority – are simple: (1) have fun; and (2) get better. Thus far, we’re reaching our goals, and I am confident we will continue to do so as the season progresses.

As for our fundraiser, many have already made their donations, and an equal, if not greater number pledged support, but have not yet made their contributions (I really didn’t expect to receive donations yesterday, so that was a pleasant surprise). If you can deliver your donations Friday at practice (please note we will stop practice 15 minutes early as I have a slight conflict Friday evening), that would be great. And thanks again for all the support and enthusiasm you offered.

Best regards,

 

Richard

The Ben and Jack Show!

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Many of you may have heard about Jack Enright and his recent injury.  Jack is a junior at Chapin High School in South Carolina.  He is also the Co-Captain of the Team with his brother Connor a senior.  According to Jack it was a routine play where he was playing midfield defense against his opponent.  Jack broke his neck and his injury has now impacted him in a way only he can understand.

Jack is currently rehabbing his injury at the Shepherd Spinal Center.

His family, teammates, coaches, classmates, teachers and the entire lacrosse community has been impacted by this.  People from all over the country have reached out to Jack and his family to help in anyway they can.  Pro Players Like Paul Rabul, Kyle Harrison, Scott Ratliff (Atlanta Youth Lacrosse Alum) to name a few.  College Coaches and the Limestone Lacrosse Team have send Jack tons of swag and notes of encouragement.  Even Jo Jo the Drummer (Denver Outlaws) who interviewed Jack, his Mom Ann, brother Connor and his HS Coach Jeremy Metcalfe the other night have come to the aide of Jack.

(See interview below)

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ivy-radio/2015/03/19/its-a-good-day-for-lacrosse-with-jojo-war-drummer-1#.VQnQluZD-68.facebook

The reason I titled this post the “Ben and Jack Show!”

Several years ago another player who I never met (Ben Goss) was injured.  My friend Melissa with US Lacrosse asked if we could send a card and maybe go see Ben at the Shepherd Spinal Center.  Like most things my wife does she gets in waist deep and does not come out until the job is done.  Her persistence and determination is amazing to watch.  http://www.reporternewspapers.net/2009/10/30/local-lacrosse-families-aid-injured-massachusetts-boy/

Ben and I trade messages from time to time and we visited about a year ago when Ben was in town.  I know Ben wants to thank everyone for helping him but his story and his courage during his rehab gets me choked up because he impacted all of us more than we impacted him.  He drives, snowmobiles, skis and I believe he is now playing rugby.  This young man just amazes me.

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Ben has reached out to Jack and told him about his Shepherd Spinal Center experience and what he is up against and only Ben could know what Jack is going through.

Jacks connection to us comes through his lacrosse Coach Jeremy Metcalfe who I had the pleasure of coaching many years ago.

When Jacks injury occurred he needed to find out who in Atlanta could help.  One of his first calls was to Mary Jo and she got waist deep again and started pushing buttons for Jack and his family.

All of us come across adversity during our lifetime and sometimes it is more then we can handle.

Sometimes it is just a smile and a hug and other times it’s a time and financial commitment to help those in need.

When you see a note from one of your Youth Players like this it makes your heart swell with pride

“I know it’s not much, but I am a 12 year old who wants to help Jack in any way possible. I play lax at AYL and I’m glad you are close so I can visit.”

Or when one of your Coaches comes up with a Ground Ball fundraiser for Jack it puts life and the game in perspective.

No one person is bigger than the game but it is the people in the game that make it so special.  It is another reason why I LOVE this sport so much.

There are so many people to thank for their outpouring of love and support for Jack and Mary Jo and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Listed below is Jack’s Go Fund Me page.  Every little bit helps and lets keep the “Ben and Jack Show!” going.

http://www.gofundme.com/Pray4Jack

See ya on the field!

MJ and Coach Lou