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Friday, March 20, 2009

New Poll - Where Do You go to High School?

I'm curious to know which high school you currently attend or will be attending in the next year or so. Aside from curiosity, this poll allows me to find out who my readers are. Also, it will help give me an idea of where lacrosse might be popular in the metro. As I stated in the Des Moines Register a few weeks ago and in Wednesday's blog, we are interested in exploring the possibility of adding another high school lacrosse team in the metro. This poll might give me some indication where that might be.
You'll notice that the schools are paired. For the most part this is geographical or by traditional cooperation (ie the Valley Lacrosse Club is Valley & Waukee; the Lincoln/Roosevelt hockey team). If you would like to specify your particular school, please comment below or email me.
It is my desire to spread lacrosse across Des Moines in an effective and efficient manner. If you are in high school and are interested in playing lacrosse, please feel free to join us during our scheduled Toss Around events and/or contact me. Also keep the planned summer rec league in mind. Remember to spread the word around your school; we need at least 20 committed players to build a team!

First Valley Tigers Game Tomorrow

I'm of mixed emotions right now because of Valley's first (and second) game tomorrow. On the one hand I'm ecstatic because this will be the first official league game for a high school lacrosse team from Central Iowa. On the other hand, I'm nervous because I have not seen the competition and most of our team was out of town on Spring Break all week. My gut is telling me we'll do great because the scrimmage went well and the players have improved significantly every week at practice.

Mechanically, we are sound. Everybody on the team can throw and catch without a problem. Defensive pressure seems to be a non issue for attackmen and midfielders alike. Our defense has mastered stick checks, playing the body, and clearing the ball. Trevor is solid in goal. Our communication has even improved over the course of the preseason.

Driving to Omaha is a big worry right now because it puts our players at a disadvantage. Anytime you have to ride in a car for a couple of hours legs are stiff and fatigued. Jumping right into a lax game won't do a lot to improve that. Hopefully we will have enough time to get stretched and warmed up before the first game.

My only other concern is having to smell a car full of laxers all the way back to Des Moines...

Obviously we will not be having a Toss Around this week. Hopefully the weather will be nice in two weeks (April 4) and we can do it again. I will update this site and the Des Moines Lacrosse League members as soon as I have a date and time determined for the next Toss Around. In the meantime, grab a buddy and toss a few around. I posted some videos over the last couple of months that should help you with the mechanics of throwing and catching.

I found out that Scheels at Jordan Creek plans to have a lacrosse section! Granted they plan to carry only basic stock, but this gives potential players the chance to get a stick and some essentials. I figured it was coming because I had seen a few sticks and balls from time to time. Last Saturday, they even had Under Armour lax shorts and shirts in the UA section downstairs (I got a pair of shorts). Hopefully this is a sign that lax is here to stay and that the growth in Central Iowa is coming!

If you have any questions or suggestions about playing lacrosse in Des Moines, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

MCLA to Adopt NCAA Head Rules

This comes straight from the MCLA website:

All MCLA teams will be required to play their 2010 season with sticks that meet the new regulations as per NCAA rules.

Effective January 1, 2010, the NCAA rules for men’s lacrosse will include a modified stick head dimension specification, which will require a minimum width dimension of 3″ for the throat of the lacrosse stick head.

In recent years, manufacturers have evolved men’s lacrosse stick head designs within the rules to become narrower. This design evolution has made it more difficult to dislodge the ball and changed the nature of the college game. According to statements released by the NCAA, this specification change will return the stick head to a more traditional shape, which will result in greater balance between offense and defense, as well as the preservation of the traditions of the game.
As the nation's largest college lacrosse league, the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association governs over 200 non-varsity lacrosse programs at colleges and universities nationwide (and one in Canada). Included are perennial powerhouses BYU, Michigan, Colorado State, and Chapman University. Iowa, Iowa State, and many other schools in our region also compete in the MCLA.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Play Lacrosse in Des Moines, Iowa!

This is an open invitation to anyone that lives in Des Moines, West Des Moines, Waukee, Ankeny, Johnston, Urbandale, Clive, Altoona, Pleasant Hill, Bondurant, Grimes, Windsor Heights, Carlisle, Norwalk, Indianola, or anywhere else in the metro area to learn to play the game of lacrosse!
On the heels of the Register's Article (3/6/09), I have had some questions about playing lacrosse in Central Iowa. Let me assure all of you that the Central Iowa Lacrosse Association welcomes new players with open arms. Experience and skill level are unimportant to us because we realize that the game of lacrosse has been pretty much nonexistent in Iowa until now (aside from some colleges in the state having club teams). There is no need to feel intimidated; most players are eager to pass on their knowledge to new people because we love the game.
To ease your fears, the first time I really tossed a ball with some one that knew what he was doing was our first Toss Around on January 31, 2009. I came in only having watched college, Major League Lacrosse, and National Lacrosse League games on TV. I also came in with some extra weight and nonexistent physical conditioning. Picking up the basics of throwing and catching was fairly easy; it's about the same motion as any other sport. Continuing to play is the best way to get better.
To participate all I ask is that you come join us some time. Then pick yourself up a ball and a stick and come on back! A decent stick can usually be purchased online for around $30-40; sometimes retailers will have special deals to make it even cheaper. Until the end of Valley's season (last home game on May 9, 2009), we plan to only have recreational and non contact games in an effort to introduce the sport to new players. After that we may go ahead with a recreational men's pick up league which will require at least gloves and helmets (although we still plan on allowing hockey gear to be used). The Central Iowa Lacrosse Association is open to anyone in high school (with parental consent & including ninth grade) and older. We play men's lacrosse (although we are not opposed to starting/helping with a women's program if there are experienced players in the area) and are seriously interested in pursuing a second high school club team for the 2010 season.
To build a second high school club team, we would need at least 25-30 interested players that will be in high school (9-12 grades) during the 2009-2010 school year. Ideally we would have an agreement with an area school; the Valley/Waukee club is not officially affiliated with Valley but has access to their facilities, name, and logo. Valley even helped with the practice and game uniforms. I do have a couple of ideas to circumvent the need to be involved with a specific school/district, but we would all be more comfortable with a "sponsoring" school. If you do not attend Valley or Waukee but are interested in getting a club team (including students from other schools) together, speak to your school's athletic director for more information and have him/her contact me.
We would also need a few more coaches with some experience. The best way to get experience is to play. Luckily the Central Iowa Lacrosse Association is open to any and all adult players. I had very little lacrosse experience prior to joining Valley as an assistant, but we are willing to teach new coaches and players the game over the summer. Since this is not a varsity or state sanctioned sport, you do not need to go through special certification courses. The qualifications to coach club lacrosse are basically the same as any other club sport. Contact me immediately if you might be interested in coaching (volunteer) or playing for a second metro high school team.
Don't forget about the planned adult travel team! Get playing right away to determine if playing at a higher level might be something you are interested in. Right now the Des Moines Demons are trying to determine their logo. Vote in the poll today!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Two Saints Winery Open House

This is definitely not lacrosse related (unless you count the variety), but I wanted to post this for any potential wine enthusiasts out there. I get no commission by your attendance or purchases and I will not be at the winery (I will be in Lincoln, NE with Valley) during the open house. I must confess to picking some of the grapes last year though...
Honestly, the wine is outstanding; I have not had a bad bottle yet!

11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Stop by Two Saints Winery and sample our just released 2008 wines and enjoy free appetizers. We will have live music from 1:00-4:00 featuring: Janey Hooper, Susie Miget and Jesse Hernandez.
Located just 20 miles south of Des Moines, IA:
15170 20th Avenue
St. Charles, Iowa.

Call with questions: 1-641-396-2102

*This is my father's winery, so please let them know that you found out about this event here! Remember, I get no compensation for advertising or sales. If you have a local business that you would like me to promote, contact me with the details.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Third Toss Around Went Well

After an aborted attempt last week, we held the third Toss Around on Saturday. Unlike previous events, we were at Valley Southwoods which gave us the luxury of having goals.
People slowly trickled in a little before noon and we started with some basic catching. After a while, the Valley players broke away and started warming up on goal and I took all of the newbies (and returning player Caleb) aside to go over the fundamentals of catching. They took to it quickly so I went over to find out what Coach Zach was thinking about playing.

While they newbies kept playing catch, we broke off into a three-on-three with one goal. One team was on offense and the other was clearing. While we wore no pads, we managed to have a competitive game which the newbies watched. After those of us with experience demonstrated and a few points were scored, we invited the newbies to join in and divided them accordingly.

I am happy to report that everybody seemed to take to lax very quickly despite the less than ideal field conditions (long, dead grass with slimy mud underneath). They were unafraid to take shots, go after ground balls, and play the body. I am very impressed with the way lax is coming together in Des Moines!

Thanks to everyone that made it out. I want to give special thanks to Michael for responding to the Register's article and coming out. Thanks to Caleb for bringing out a couple of newbies and spreading the game around his friends. And thanks to my brother-in-law, "Fina," for finally deciding to come out and play. I had hoped to get him to come ot Valley's practices, but you know teenagers...

We will be in Nebraska for the next two weeks to kick off Valley's season. The tentative plan is to get some more Toss Arounds together on April 4 and/or 11. Until then, play whenever and wherever you can. I look forward to seeing everyone then!

Tribe 7