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Huge Freaking Day!!!

Unless you been living under a rock, you know that today is the home debut of the West Des Moines Valley Tigers Lacrosse Club.
In case you have been, the 9-1 Valley Club will be playing two games today taking on the Creighton Prep Blue Jays at 11:00 AM.The Tigers will then face the Lincoln Rampage at 1:30Following our match-ups, the Blue Jays and Rampage will face each other. I will be on the sidelines for our games and around the field for theirs. Rumor has it that representatives of the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones will be there to cheer on our boys...All three games will be at Waukee Stadium; Valley Stadium is booked with soccer for the day and half of the roster goes to Waukee.Valley will wrap its season up next Saturday with leg three of the Iowa Lacrosse Rivalry. The Tigers will face the River City Black Knights from Council Bluffs at 1:00 PM in Waukee.Click here for yesterday's article in the Des Moines Register.
Directions to Waukee Stadium:
*From I-80 Eastbound and I-235 Westbound - Go North on Jordan Creek Pkwy to University Ave, turn Left (West)
*From I-80/35 - Go West on Univsersity Ave
  1. Then take University Ave to Ashworth Dr
  2. Turn Right (North) on Ashworth Dr (there is a Kum & Go on the corner)
  3. Waukee High school will be on the right (parking) The Stadium is across the street

Thursday, April 30, 2009

For Your Consideration - Summer League Ideas

Now that Valley is winding down its season with home games at Waukee Stadium this Saturday (11:00 AM & 1:30 PM) and next Saturday (1:00 PM), it is time to start thinking about the summer league. I know a lot of people are already thinking about the league, which is a great thing. They are excited and keep asking me questions that I simply cannot answer at this time because my schedule hasn't given me the time to think about it.
To get the league in gear, I'm going to cross-post this on the Central Iowa Lacrosse, Des Moines Demons, and Valley Tigers Lacrosse websites. All relevant polls will be published on the new CILA Polls site to prevent clutter as much as possible. I will asking for input on several things ranging from game days to team structure to reffing. The polls will be staggered in their release and cut-off dates, so keep your eyes peeled! My goal is to make a league that will run as smoothly as possible while still providing a great lacrosse experience.
At this point, I believe that we will still be able to use the Valley Southwoods practice field. If not there are other fields nearby; our goals are portable. I also plan to do my best to mix experience level to give us the most fair player distribution possible. Because there will be some contact, lacrosse or hockey pads will be required for everybody. This includes helmets (with full face masks), gloves, and elbow pads. Players under 18 will be required to wear shoulder pads, mouth guards, and a cup; that equipment is optional for adults.
The items I need input on and will have polls for are as follows:
1. What day of the week works best for you? The evening times will be after 6; Saturday mornings would start around 9; Saturday afternoons around 1.
The choices are: Monday evenings, Tuesday evenings, Wednesday evenings, Thursday evenings, Friday evenings, Saturday mornings, Saturday afternoons, Saturday evenings, Sunday evenings

2. What type of game should we play? When I first conceived playing lacrosse in Des Moines, I envisioned two teams playing the traditional version of field lacrosse. As reality settled in and I realized our numbers might not be that conducive to a field league. Box lacrosse isn't really an option since we will be outside and one of the goals of the summer league is to teach the complete game of lacrosse; box lax fails because d-poles aren't used. But, I thought that a hybridization of the two might work for us: five-on-five or six-on-six (plus goalies) with reduced offsides and the allowance of two d-poles on the field at a time. We could use a shorter field (but still the full width) and modified offsides rules (1 attack & defense cannot cross the center line in 5-5; 2 attack & 1 defense in 6-6). Thus allowing us to use the mechanics of field lacrosse on a more manageable level.
The choices are: Full Field Lacrosse, Modified Five-on-Five, Modified Six-on-Six

3. What kind of league should we have? I want to have a (semi) competitive league, but I know that not very many people are familiar enough with the game to jump into that atmosphere. I'm thinking along the C/D and Metro High School Hockey League type of Lacrosse League. Nothing too serious with an emphasis on teaching the game while playing with a competitive spirit. Teams would be somewhat organized and standings would be kept. I also think that a purely recreational structure, more or less set up like scheduled pick up games, would be beneficial too. Here there are no standings and you just show up to play.
The choices are: Competitive/Organized League, Pickup League

4. How should teams be divided? My initial thought was to determine an approximate number of teams based on how many guys plan to play initially. Then I would select team captains from the Valley player and coaching ranks and conduct a draft. The draft would follow two sessions of pick up/tryouts to familiarize the captains and made an honest attempt at organizing players by skill. When a sport is pretty much brand new to an area, this is a difficult endeavor. Still, I want the teams to be as fair and even as possible to provide the best overall experience for everyone.
My next thought was to make it a pick up style league and make roster assignments on the spot at each session. Not as much of a "team" atmosphere, but easier to manage. My most recent thought was to take the sign up sheets/waivers for every interested player and divide the rosters as fairly as I can based on what I know.
The choices are: Team captains draft, pickup rosters, Adam decides the team assignments.

5. How will we handle uniforms? This thought has crossed my mind time and time again. Keeping our teams straight is very important, especially when there are so many new people involved. Valley practices are easy because we use pennies. Hockey leagues are easy because pretty much everybody that plays has a dark and a light hockey jersey (some leagues even have a variety of custom jerseys). So how do we address this issue? Light and dark t-shirts could work, but they would have to be worn over the pads. We could also let people wear football, hockey, or basketball jerseys too. If we had scrimmage vests for a team to wear each week that could work, but then who is responsible for washing them? We could also have our own pennies made up, but that will cost money. Since yours truly is as broke as everyone else in the nation, I'd need the money upfront. If we did pennies, they would be simple saying something like "Des Moines Lacrosse" or "Des Moines Demons" on the front with a player number on each side. They would most likely be black & white and in LXL only to shave costs.
The choices are: Bring your own light & dark shirts/jerseys, Raise funds for blank scrimmage vests, Pay a fee and keep your own DM Lax penny jersey

6. What about referees? One of the biggest problems in the adult hockey leagues is referees. Either there are not enough volunteers or the volunteers don't know what they are doing. Sometimes we end up with both situations. To keep games fair and safe, referees are important. However, we lack certified lacrosse officials in DM. On the other hand, we do have a whole high school team, coaching staff, and a few former college players that are familiar with the rules. It is possible that some of these guys may want to volunteer for referee duties, at least on a restricted level. Since the contact should be somewhat limit (sorry DD not spearing here), the refs should have a fairly easy job. But then are they compensated and if so, how? I plan on not having dues, so here is another financial issue. Since the league is recreational, we may also be able to police ourselves. We all know what a goal is, players in the restraining areas can call the opening face off (if we have them), and offsides is easy enough to enforce. Assuming the spirit of the game is alive and well, players on both teams should be able to call major penalties without arguing (tripping, slashing, cross check, etc). I know that last part is a challenge, but I am hopeful.
The choices are: Volunteer refs, Paid volunteers, no refs unless things get ugly

7. Should we have face offs? Everyone loves face offs. They are fun and unique; they provide an extra challenge in lacrosse games. Unfortunately they also create logistical nightmares in recreational leagues. Not many people know the art of the face off - which is easy enough to learn - so the chance for false starts and illegal procedures increases. There is also a risk of head, neck, or finger injury on a poor face off, which is something none of us wants to deal with. I enjoy a good face off as much as the next guy, but maybe we should limit them. This would also reduce the time used in the game (I'm sure we'll have a running clock of some sort) and allow more play. My thought is that we could open each half/quarter with a face off and just play possession (from behind the net, similar to basketball) after goals. Or we could forgo face offs all together.
The choices are: At the start of each quarter/half and after each goal, At the start of each quarter/half only, No face offs
If I think of any additional items we need to address, I will add them to the list. If you have any additional ideas or suggestions, email me. For now I think these seven questions will help get us on our way to having a successful first year. By working together, we should be able to lay the foundation for a very successful lacrosse league in Des Moines for years to come.
Once things get closer, I will create a roster form/questionnaire for everyone to complete and email to me. I will also get a waiver form ready. The waiver will say that you realize lacrosse is a contact sport and there is a risk of injury; it will stipulate that by engaging in lacrosse activities you waive your rights to sue me and the facility manager, yada yada. As soon as Valley is finished and I have a bit more free time, I will get those forms ready, posted and/or emailed.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Girls Lax Launches in Waukee!!!!!

I found this article online today about the girls program in Waukee. Hopefully this is a sign that both versions of lax are planting deep roots in Central Iowa...
If you are interested in playing or helping out with the girls lacrosse club, contact Coach Robyn for more information.

Welcome to the Machine

Since I first discovered lacrosse - more specifically since I first discovered Major League Lacrosse - I have been a fan of the Long Island Lizards. They've been in the league since the getgo and they were originally sponsored by one of my favorite beverage companies, SoBe. I even stuck with the Lizards when the league finally expanded west and added a team in a nearby market, Chicago.
Chicago City Flag

2007-2008 Helmet
Now I think it is time for a small change. I'm not disowning the Lizards; rather I am giving more support to the Machine. You might have noticed that I put up a graphic link to the Machine's homepage when I revised the website. I did this because the Machine are the closest MLL team to Des Moines and the most obvious choice for our support. Since I feel it is important to have a professional field lacrosse team that is accessible via single day trip and because the National Lacrosse League's (pro indoor lax) Chicago Shamrox folded earlier this year, I want to do what I can to encourage Iowa lax fans to cheer for the Machine.

Matt Striebel
Another reason for my change of heart for the league's perennial underachiever is the major MLL shake up this year. With the suspension of Los Angeles, San Fransisco, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, several veteran MLL players were reassigned. Among those assigned to the Machine was The Barrage's Matt Striebel. Striebel is currently attending the University of Iowa as a graduate student and has been serving as an assistant coach with the Hawkeye's lacrosse team. He has been part of two MLL Championships with Philadelphia, an NCAA championship with Princeton, was a three time NCAA All American, and the MVP of the 2007 Steinfeld Cup.

2006 Uniform
Chicago has also made some major changes in the looks department. Having one of the ugliest looks upon first entering the league, the Machine dropped gold from their logo and uniforms after just one season. The redesigned logo replaced the gold with silver and the newer uniforms were a simple red, black, and white. Once again, the Machine have updated their appearance by swapping the red for sky blue and adding a lax stick to the logo. Their new colors are intended to provide better representation for the city of Chicago and to show support for the city's bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

2009 Logo

2007-2008 Uniform

For the last two years the Machine have played at Toyota Park, home of the Chicago Fire soccer team. The soccer stadium will again serve as the team's primary venue, but a couple of new stadiums will come into play this year as well. To open and close the season, the Machine will play at historic Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. Playing in the much larger stadium provides the Machine with access to fans deeper in the city than their usual Bridgeview home; it also adds credibility to the team. As part of the league's efforts to provide more visibility for the sport, the Machine will also play a home game in Milwaukee, WI. Full venue and date information can be found by checking out the Machine's schedule.
My goal is to make it to at least one Machine game this summer. Hopefully we find a free weekend and some free fundage. Individual game tickets start at $20, but family four packs can be had for $65. The four packs are only good for games at Toyota Park, but they include four sodas and hotdogs! Unfortunately the four packs must be purchased ahead of time (the Thursday before the game).

2006 Logo

2007-2008 Logo

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Valley Home Games Next Week!!!!!

After driving to Omaha all season, I am excited to announce that the Valley Tigers Lacrosse Club will be playing in Waukee Stadium next Saturday! That's right, the boys will be at home with two games on May 2, 2009 - traditional league Powerhouse Creighton Prep at 11:00 AM & the Lincoln (NE) Rampage at 1:30!
Following yesterday's games, Valley is 9-1 and has outscored opponents 84-31 this season. Come out and cheer on Central Iowa's only High School Lacrosse Club!

Tribe 7