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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