Tag Archives: friends

Meet New People

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meet-new-people

I want young players to play with their friends, but I don’t want them to do this all of the time. As AYL prepares for the 2014 spring season with our U9, U11, and U13 age groups we go over all the team requests we get through our registration and contact forms. While we cannot guarantee placement on a particular team, we work diligently to get players on teams primarily for carpooling reasons. Looking back on my non-driving years, my mother was clearly a saint as she spent most of the day driving through Atlanta traffic while shuttling my sister and I to school and other activities.

Kids and adults don’t like change. The difference between adults and kids is that adults understand that change is inevitable. Which is why I don’t understand the need to keep a group of 10, 15, or 20 young players on the same team for their entire youth playing days. By the time they get to high school or college they can perform the skills of lacrosse, but they lack the ability to quickly relate to a new teammate.

One of my biggest regrets was when I changed schools in tenth grade and I decided that I didn’t really like any of my peers at my new school. I chose to withdraw and interact as minimally as possible. When I got to college I was a social hermit, not by choice, but by habit. Early in life I chose to stop meeting new people and then I began to fear new people. Fortunately, a few folks got to know me a little bit sophomore year and painfully pulled me out of my shell. Now I can interact like a regular human being, but I regret how many potential friends I lost because I was fearful of not being liked.

Familiarity destroys creativity. While it is perfectly natural for a player to want to play just with his buddies, we adults must encourage them to play on teams with kids they don’t know very well. Fortunately for us, we have lacrosse as a common bond to encourage greater interaction between young players. It’s never hard to go out for a catch, but it is tough for kids to go up to another kid they don’t know and ask to have a catch. The more times a player asks new players to have a catch or go shoot, the better they get at asking, and the lower the fear of rejection. Plus, they get practice throwing with someone they are unfamiliar passing with. If they choose to pursue playing lacrosse in college, they will be confident enough to approach their new teammates and they’ll be able to quickly adjust to different passing styles.

To the parents – if your child is not placed on the team you requested even if you need it for carpooling, I suggest reaching out to the other parents on your team. There will likely be one or two families needing to rejigger their carpooling arraignments, and you might make some new friends in the process!

To the players – anxiety over meeting new people is natural. Humans are social creatures, and any kind of rejection hurts at an emotional and sometimes physical level. If you’ve got more unfamiliar faces on your team this year than familiar ones then introduce yourself and ask who want to have a catch. And don’t forget that a big smile usually helps!

Featured Image Credit – www.natgeotv.com

Cheers,
Gordon

Normal

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Normal is just a cycle on the washing machine.

This post goes out to any youth player who has ever felt a little odd. Here’s a hint – you are not alone in feeling weird, strange, out-there, peculiar, different, or flat-out not normal. If there is one thing I am certain of it is that nobody has ever felt completely normal because we all have our own idiosyncrasies that make us unique.

When I was in middle school, I was obsessed with being normal. In reality, all I wanted to be was cool. I wanted to hang out with the cool kids, and ditch my geeky/nerdy life. So I spiked up my hair, started playing more basketball, and hanging around the kids that I wanted to emulate. The trouble was, I was never really me when I was with these new friends. In fact, by the time I hit high school I did not like the person I had become. I was so fixated on being liked by everyone that I tried to please everyone around me, except the person that truly counted – me.

So in middle of high school I decided to stop trying to be liked. I was going to go at thing alone because I felt that my peers would never accept me for the goofy person that I really am. I spent roughly three years barely speaking to anyone in high school for fear of rejection and embarrassment. Because of this, lacrosse became my main outlet. I poured myself into the game, but I never really socialized with my fellow players because I always felt that I would be judged if I ever showed my true self.

Enter the college years. I met a few people who physically dragged me out of the shell I had created during high school. I began to feel comfortable being a little peculiar. Eventually, I came to realize that I had true friends that were going to stand by me no matter what. In short, I learned that the only people I cared about being around were the people who accepted me for who I was. Anyone else who judged me for being me just was not worth my time.

At 24 years old I can honestly say that I am comfortable in my own skin because I do not care what other people think about me. The only opinion on myself that matters is my own, and the friends that I trust.

So to all the youth players out there, I want you to remember that it is okay to be a little different. Actually, it is a good thing to be downright strange and weird. It makes you you. Hold on to your peculiar hobbies, and odd tastes. Even if they are not appreciated by those around you right now, you will find friends in life who will appreciate you for you, weirdness and all.

Peculiar facts about me:

  • I love vacuuming
  • I watch competitive Starcraft 2 replays on YouTube
  • I am extremely goofy around my close friends
  • Science fiction is my favorite genre of literature (Dune by Frank Herbert in particular)
  • I will watch endless replays of Ninja Warrior
  • I have always wanted a flying squirrel as a pet

Players – create your own list and post them in the comments below!

Cheers,
Gordon

Live Blogging the Convention – Day 0

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We are live in the city of brotherly love, also known as Philadelphia. Coach Lou, Coach Shaun Lux, Coach/Official Andy Halperin and I are at the 2012 US Lacrosse Convention, and we could not be more excited for it. From watching a variety of coaches on the live field, to understanding more nuanced officiating concepts, we are here to bring the best of the convention back to Atlanta. Our goal is to better ourselves as coaches, officials, and stewards of the game, and translate that betterment into positive action in the lacrosse community in Georgia. If we learn one thing each, this trip will be completely worth it, but from this blogger’s experience, we will all learn far more than just one thing.

Pat's King Of Steaks

Pat's King Of Steaks

Upon arriving in Phillly, Coach Lou made good on his promise and had our cab driver make a beeline to Pat’s King of Steaks. An unbelievably good spot for an authentic Philly cheesesteak. I had a Pepper Cheesesteak. The first, last, and middle bites were all heaven. I’m hoping that we have a few more opportunities for quality cheesesteaks while we’re here.

After our cheesesteak excursion, we checked into our hotel and proceeded towards the Convention registration. Here we all got the goodie bag, which included a myriad of lacrosse publications, a lanyard for our ID tag, gloves, and, for some reason, a frisbee.

With our registration complete we headed towards the hotel lobby to share drinks and hilarious story after hilarious story. As usual, Coach Lou had all of us dying with some clever jokes. Being in the lobby, we ran into a lot of friends and acquaintances. That is by far the best thing about the lacrosse community, it is so close knit. We couldn’t go ten minutes without someone going “Louie!, Shaun!”

Eventually though, your trusty blogger had to call it a night and get some studying done. Make sure to tune in tomorrow night for a write up on the first official day of the convention!

Cheers,
Gordon