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
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.