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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Updated 2010 Valley Lax Schedule

Originally the Tigers were supposed to start hosting games on March 6, 7, and 13. Unfortunately the heavy snow we got this winter prevented us from having usable fields at that time. Now that the snow has melted and high temps have mostly returned *ahem, except yesterday & today, ahem* the revised schedule has been set.The early predictions show a favorable week ahead with temps in the high 40s to mid 50s every day. Unfortunately they are predicting rain for Saturday, but a lot can change in a week when it comes to the weather. I am confident that we will have outdoor practice at least four of the five scheduled days this week and that we will have our games next Saturday.
Only the home times will be given; the other dates are provided for convenience. The home games are at Indian Hills Middle School due to Stadium, renovations.

Saturday, March 27 - home: Millard North 10:00 am; Creighton Prep 3:00 pm; JV game 5:00 pm

Sunday, March 28 - Omaha: Black Knights, Burke, JV game

Saturday, April 3 - home: Millard West 10:00; Millard South 3:00 pm, JV game 5:00 pm

Saturday, April 10 - Omaha: JV game

Sunday, April 11 - Lincoln: Lincoln, Papio

Saturday, April 17 - Omaha: Burke, Westside, JV game x2

Saturday, April 24 - Council Bluffs: Black Knights, Westside

Saturday, May 8 - Omaha: Creighton Prep, JV game

Saturday, May 15 - Omaha: Playoffs

Friday, May 21 - Omaha: Playoffs

Saturday, May 22- Omaha: Championships

The full schedule can be found here. We are still hoping to reschedule Shawnee Mission East, KS (originally scheduled for April 3) and possibly St. Louis Park, MN. If you are in the area, please come lend your support to the team. There are no admission fees, but you may want to bring a chair; there is no seating at Indian Hills.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Living in Fantasy Land... Part 4

Yesterday saw two posts to round out the league to six teams for its inaugural season, under the assumption that River City would stay with the Nebraska League for the time being and Iowa would run its own league. Today we continue the expansion in the Hawkeye State with two Hawk teams. Coincidentally both wear maroon.
Ankeny Hawks

I have targeted Ankeny since I first started working with Valley. It may not get the big malls or major business developments like those in the west, but the north side suburb is groing at a comparable rate. Economically speaking, the household incomes and values are quite comparable and the school district is just as good.Ankeny can draw from nearby districts to fill out its roster as needed. Saydel and Bondurant-Farrar are both in reasonable proximity to provide more players. The Hawks definitely have the raw athletic talent to be a power early on. Undoubtedly there are a couple of former NCAA/MCLA players in the area that would lend their expertise to coach the team.Ankeny has a rich athletic history that rivals Valley and Dowling. With its upcoming split into two high schools, it will be interesting to see if their success continues. I originally thought about naming the lax team after one high school or another to reflect this, but thought that with its newness, the team would represent the city as a whole and use the current moniker - at least for now (technically the logo on the shorts is an eagle; it is for illustration purposes only).Ankeny is one of two metro schools wearing maroon and gold. The Hawks embrace Vegas gold to the point of having football helmets, jerseys, and pants in that color. Why mess with that look? I carried it over for the lax team, as you can see.

Waterloo West Wahawks

The Waterloo/Cedar Falls metro is another area that has contacted me about setting up a program. I have heard from players at the high school, college, and club levels. There are potential (experienced) people in the area and the city's proud hockey history could translate to the lax field. Cedar Falls is another area that I visit fairly regularly to see family, so I anticipate helping to get the ball rolling up there as well.Just like Cedar Rapids, I had the choice of an inclusive city team named after the hockey team (Warriors) or picking a specific school. I chose West because of its demographics and history and because of the Wahawks name. In fact, I love that nickname so much that it earns a place on the jersey (although misspelled as "Warhawks" while the school's proper name is relegated to the shorts.Aside from having an awesome name, the Wahawks have a killer color scheme. Typically wearing black uniforms trimmed in maroon, the Wahawks look intimidating the moment they set foot on the field. Even more so than the uniform, the helmet creates the intimdation factor.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Living in Fantasy Land... Part 3b

Here is a little bonus for today. As you may have figured out so far, I prefer even numbers for leagues. The last two posts featured two schools each so I thought I was good. Then I remembered that Valley makes five (I am not counting River City since they are closer to Omaha than any of the other Iowa-based teams). In order to properly get the league going, I need six teams. So without further ado, the final team in the inaugural season of the Iowa High School Lacrosse League...
Southeast Polk Rams
A fourth metro team seemed to be the most logical at this point, but I also thought that a team on the opposite side of Des Moines would be best. Although Ankeny has strong potential, SEP wins the first round because I have actually talked to students and faculty about starting a lax team there. In fact, the high school's principle is a very big lacrosse fan.The Rams look their best in black, but pairing the dark jersey with athletic gold shorts gives provides an extra pop. It is a bold look, but one that will help SEP stand out from other teams wearing dark colors.Because I see an onslaught of black helmets on the horizon, I chose to go with the athletic gold model for SEP. This utilizes the school's colors while providing a nice contrast to their black jerseys ala DeWalt in the American Lacrosse League.

Living in Fantasy Land... Part 3a

The last installment brought two more teams to the western suburbs of Des Moines. Both Waukee and Dowling Catholic have well known rivalries with Valley. Today's entries are well outside of the Capital City, but both groups in both areas have contacted me about starting up lax programs. Whether or not they could realistically get a high school team up and running within two years is arbitrary. Remember, this series takes place in Fantasy Land...

Kennedy Cougars

Of the three Cedar Rapids metro high schools, I chose Kennedy to start with. Kennedy has a sports history that rivals Valley and Dowling. Plus the Cougars give me a chance to work with a fresh palette of colors. I also played with the font choices and went with something a bit more aggressive and modern. I am not sold on the numbers though...
Originally I intended to do a combined Cedar Rapids team representing the metro, like the Mustangs hockey team. I even considered using their name and colors to make the lax team an extension of the hockey team. Instead I decided to follow the same route as Valley and choose a specific school to start lax in the city. This is not necessarily the way it would happen, just the way I prefer to work in Fantasy Land.Cedar Rapids is blessed by its proximity to Mount Vernon and Iowa City. Both towns have MCLA programs and coaches should be available. Considering the Cedar Rapids metro is the second largest in the state, finding players should be fairly reasonable.

Albia Blue Demons

Probably the most shocking choice so far, Albia is a fairly small rural town in Southern Iowa. There are several small districts in reasonable proximity to Albia so a combined team would probably be the best route. Since I already go to Albia about once every other month to visit family anyway, connecting with the interested group will not be much of an issue. Finding and training coaches will probably present a larger problem, but this is Fantasy Land so there are no immediate concerns.

Since Albia is an old fashioned, rural town, I thought a more classic brush font worked the best. Kind of gives the uniforms a "down home" feel, don't you think?

Unlike certain NCAA teams with "Blue" as part of their nickname (Devils, Hens), I feel that the primary color for the Blue Demons should be, well, blue.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Magically Delicious

After kicking off St. Patrick's day with a traditional Irish breakfast, I decided to spread the love for international lacrosse. Since this is a World Championships year, I figured it would be a good time.Not many people - even in the lax community - realize that lacrosse exists outside of North America and Australia. It's true that the four most dominant teams are the US, Canada, Iroquois, and the Aussies. But it is also true that lacrosse has jumped across the pond and is starting to take off in Europe. With today being St. Patrick's Day, I wanted to spotlight the Irish National Team.
Ireland's first modern major competition was in 2001 at the European Championships in Cardiff Wales. Going 0-6, the Irish finished dead last. The following year, they ventured to Perth, Australia for the World Championships. Here they finished 5-0 and wound up in 12th place to win the Green Division for new affiliate countries. In 2005, the Irish won their first trophy at the inaugural Celtic Cup. Ireland is now a full member of the Federation of International Lacrosse and will be in Manchester to compete in the World Championships beginning July 16. Divisions have not yet been announced.In addition to the National Team, four universities in Ireland have lacrosse club teams. There is also an adult club team in Dublin. Take a gander at these beauties:No, they are not the actual team shorts. But they are pretty sweet. Pick them up at the Lax Zone. Other nations are also available.

Official Ireland Lacrosse apparel can be purchased here. These items directly benefit the national program, so please take a look and help the sport grow.

Jacket, Gloves, and NHSLL Poll

At long last, here are the pics of my new Valley Lacrosse jacket courtesy of Harrow:I've been wearing the jacket for about two weeks now - just after the Snowpocalypse wrapped up. With temps hitting over 40 degrees consistently, I felt comfortable putting away the heavy Columbia for the season. As part of the spousal bargaining process, I had to agree to wear the jacket as my regular spring coat; since I needed a new one anyway I was not really put out. Plus it is a great way to advertise the team and sport in Des Moines. I did not wear it when I went down to a bar in BFI on Friday night however.My overall reaction is positive. The jacket is warm, but not hot and is very lightweight. I cannot wait to see how it fairs on the windy Midwest sidelines (March 27). Expect a brief write up at some point after our first weekend.

Valley also ordered custom gloves through Harrow (Torrent). Like the jacket, we used a stock design/color scheme and just added our logo. Since our colors are black, white, and orange it was not a huge issue for us. It kept costs and production time down, which is important since our players buy their own gear. I did not order the gloves because 1. I am not on the team and 2. I was broke right after Christmas. Hopefully I'll get a close up at some point to put on the Valley site; when/if that happens they'll appear here too.
Even though I did not order the Torrents, I needed new gloves. Once we got our tax money back, I convinced my wife to let me get a better pair. She gave me a limit of $100. Having tried on several gloves over the last year, I knew I wanted to go with Reebok. Their fit and comfort is unbelievable and I know that I'll want that extra protection when box rolls around this fall.
Originally I planned to grab a pair of 7ks from Great Atlantic and be happy. But a voice in the back of my had told me to check out Lacrosse Monkey. There I found close out RBK 9ks for $89. The close out gloves are from the original RBK series prior to the corporate rebranding back to Reebok. Other than the logos and the palm, they are exactly the same as the current 9k gloves.Having worn them to a few practices and a box scrimmage, I give these gloves a 10. They are snug but not too tight. The protection is ungodly. The flexibility is unreal - straight from the package. The grip is perfect. Most importantly, my hands are dry when I pull them off. I can feel dampness as I wear them, but the Play Dry lining does its job when handshake time comes around. No prune fingers is always a good thing...
When I ordered my gloves, I convinced my wife that I needed some more lax apparel. Since I was ordering from Lacrosse Monkey anyway and they are an official NLL merchant, I decided on a long sleeve Swarm shirt. It's a high quality Reebok shirt; nuff said.
Poll Results
Pretty straight forward - 2/3 believe that Valley will win the Nebraska High School Lacrosse League this year. Considering where we are, I'm not surprised. The remaining 1/3 picked Creighton. Since we are in the same division, we won't be facing each other in the league final. Basically it's the Capitals vs Penguins in the Nebraska High School Lacrosse League...
Regardless, I'm fairly confident that the winner of our division will face defending champion Millard West for the league championship. May it be Valley, the upstart team from Central Iowa.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Living in Fantasy Land... Part 2

In the first post, I laid down the basis for this series. Now we will really get into the expansion of high school lax in Iowa.
Waukee Warriors

It should surprise no one that I chose Waukee to be the second lax team in the metro. Roughly half of the current Valley team hails from the Waukee district. Last year the high school allowed the team to use its stadium for our home games. The only girls team in the state uses the "Waukee" name. Obviously the support is there and continues to grow.With an overabundance of schools (4) in the metro wearing purple and gold, Waukee is merely the first. If/when other schools add lax, I will run into the issue of duplicating uniforms and helmets. One way to get around this is to capitalize on the different options for gold. The logos at Waukee Stadium and on the football helmets are the more yellow "athletic" gold rather than the metallic "Vegas" gold; I am going with athletic gold for the lax team.As you can see, I chose to go the Delaware, UMBC & Towson route by giving the Warriors an athletic gold away jersey. Again, the plethora of purple in the metro lead me in a different direction with Waukee.
Dowling Catholic Maroons

This pick may be a little bit more controversial as we only know of two DCHS laxers right now and both play pole. I chose Dowling because I see the school as a logical choice with demographics similar to many lax programs across the country - including Creighton Prep in the Nebraska League. That is, Dowling is a well funded private school with a rich athletics history. They are a dominant force in nearly every sport and have the potential be so in lax as well. Given their intense rivalry with Valley, it is only logical that the Maroons would choose to compete on the lax field as well.Although maroon and white are their only official colors, black and silver are often used extensively on Dowling uniforms. Originally I planned to go with a white helmet like the Maroons' football team, but decided that this would be a good place to mix it up again. Right now the lax world has an overabundance of white lids so why add another? Besides, one white helmet is enough for West Des Moines.With the home jersey, I decided to continue the silver theme. This gives the Maroons a nice alternative to the usual white while still contrasting with other teams' away jerseys.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Living in Fantasy Land... Part 1

I say that at this point because that is the best way to describe my vision of high school lacrosse in Iowa. At the moment we have only two teams in the state, but one of them is in Council Bluffs which means it is practically in Omaha, Nebraska. By now you should very well know the other team - the team I help coach - is in West Des Moines.

I have a grand vision of a high school club lacrosse league spread across Iowa. It is not hard to picture it as a multi-state league akin to the hockey league, including Nebraska and South Dakota, either. For the purposes of sharing my vision, I will focus simply on the Iowa teams. The Des Moines area teams will get the most attention primarily because I am the most familiar with them.

Make no mistake though; I will address other areas of the state as well. As I previously stated in an unrelated post, there are people in other metros that have expressed interest in lax. Using a mix of logic and the inquiries I have received, I will provide a rough outline of growth. I do not see lax clubs springing up at every school in the state; I would love too, but even Fantasy Land needs a little reality.

The upcoming posts will feature uniform and helmet concepts. Because I am doing most of this during my break times at work, I will not be applying the team logos to the helmets. I am not doing custom gloves at this time either, but may in the future. Because I am assuming that lax will remain a club sport, I will not delve into field usage at all.
So sit back and enjoy my little fantasy land of lacrosse...

Valley Tigers

I am starting with the only team currently playing in Central Iowa. Our current uniforms do not look like this and we do not have team helmets. This uniform is a concept and not binding in any way; it is just something fun. The uniform template is Warrior Insert. It is a sublimated jersey which gives us some options and has a nice online designer. Originally I played around with an orange jersey, but ultimately I decided to stay with the black.Valley currently rocks black jerseys and shorts with white helmets and gloves. We have begun moving to orange visors and chins on the helmets and black trim on the gloves. This allows us more glove options and incorporates all of three colors in our equipment. The concept below is the realization of this helmet on a Cascade Pro 7. In Fantasy Land, every team has matching Pro 7s...

Tribe 7