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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Living in Fantasy Land... Part 6

I know some time has passed since the last post, but I have been kind of busy. Sorry about that. Last time we completely left the metro, today we come back a bit.

Today is all about the J-Hawks. No, not those bastards that completely threw off my NCAA brackets (at least it was UNI that knocked them out). We've got a pair of J-Hawks from both major metros and they both happen to wear navy.

Urbandale J-Hawks

This one is a bit tricky. When I sent out emails to the various suburban schools last summer, Urbandale flat out told me they cannot have lax at this time . In fact, I was told that if we wanted to play lax on any fields in the Urbandale district, we would have to pay. However, their athletic director did attend an unnamed East Coast lax powerhouse and is a lax fan. If the sport does begin to take off in Iowa - especially the metro - he may try to get Urbandale involved.The J-Hawks wear navy, white, and red. I chose to use red as the primary accent color on both jerseys and the shorts. The argyle pattern turned out pretty good with this color scheme.The current school logo kind of resembles the University of Miami (Florida) only with Urbandale's color scheme in stead of green and orange. The font used on the shorts is as close as I could get, but it is similar to the font on the district website.

I've seen recent pictures of their helmets in both white and navy. After experimenting with both, I decided the darker bucket looked best. I can already picture the white and red U on the side; it would look awesome.

Jefferson J-Hawks

Jefferson is the second team representing the Cedar Rapids metro. Not knowing too terribly much about Cedar Rapids, I chose Jefferson because they have very lacrosse friendly colors. You may notice that I used the same font for both J-Hawks; frankly it just worked best for both of them given the limited constraints I am working with.
I chose to go with the Carolina blue away jerseys and shorts because not many schools wear the color, so this lets Jefferson stand out. Plus given that they share a color scheme with the Tarheels, I figured why not mirror their style a bit?After seeing North Carolina in both white and navy blue lids, I have come to the conclusion that navy trimmed mostly with Carolina looks the best. For some reason the Carolina on the Cascade website is a bit off, but in real life it is nearly identical to the uniform color.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Big Weekend for Valley Lax

Where will you be on Saturday?Valley hosts FOUR games this Saturday at Indian Hills Junior High School* in Clive. The Tigers will play two varsity games and one junior varsity game. The games are open to the public and free to attend. Here is the schedule for Saturday:

10:00 am Valley vs Millard North - varsity

12:30 pm Millard North vs Creighton Prep - varsity

3:00 pm Valley vs Creighton Prep - varsity

5:00 pm Valley vs Millard North - junior varsity
The Tigers will then travel to Omaha on Sunday for two varsity games and one junior varsity game. With a rough opening weekend ahead, Valley will have a scrimmage tonight at Indian Hills.

Please support local lacrosse by attending Saturday's home games. There is no charge to attend.

*Indian Hills is just north of University Ave and Valley West Mall. Directions are posted on the team website. There are no seats at Indian Hills, so bring your chairs, blankets, etc.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fat Wednesday

**This post has absolutely nothing to do with lacrosse!**
Since this is my blog, I wanted to get a little personal for a moment. While this post is not lacrosse or sports related per se, it is health related and kind of important.
Obesity is a major epidemic that affects thousands of Americans, including a considerable number of Iowans. I play sports to stay healthy but continue to struggle with my weight. I have had periods of good weight control at various points, but have more often than not struggled to stay within an ideal window.
I have weighed myself once a week continually since sometime in 2000 when I began focusing on losing weight to get married in 2001. When I got married I was not exactly slender nor was I at my perfect BMI. At that time, the World Health Organization said my BMI should be 23-25; I registered around 28.7, not that far off target. I look at their numbers as fuzzy because they do not consider muscle mass or bone size, but I definitely want to be close to that range.
Ten years down the road, I am at a BMI of 32.4. My doctor told me that I need to lost at least 20 pounds by my next physical in November. That will bring me back to a BMI of about 28.7. I am the first to admit that 2010 has not gotten off to a great start in the caloric sense. I have consumed more beer, chocolate, ice cream, and fat than I have in a long time. Today I realized that I have put on at least six pounds since January 1. Now it is time to get cracking.
Realistically joining a gym is not an option for me. I have neither the time nor free money to do so. I also have no motivation to do gym exercises; I know I should but I just get bored. I also hate to run for running's sake. So while I know there are things I can/should do, I am smart enough to know that I probably will not.
I am playing hockey through some point in May. It is only once a week, but it is definitely the most intense workout I do. So I know I have that going for me, and I plan to play again starting next fall. I also have lacrosse coaching. Mostly that involves a lot of pacing, which is better than sitting on my butt like I did most weekends during the winter. I could possibly do sprints at practice with the team; it's just a matter of getting myself to do it. Again, I hate running. Because of work and hockey, I only make two practices per week so I plan to force myself to run next week.
I also plan to resume Yoga. Yoga is great at strengthening core muscles and burns more calories than you realize. The lean muscle built doing Yoga also helps burn calories at rest. It also helps with balance and posture. Last time I dropped significant weight, Yoga was a key component.
In the immediate future, however, I plan to focus on my food intake. Before our wedding, my wife joined Weight Watchers. We both followed their program and both lost significant weight. Last time I dropped weight, WW played a role (along with Yoga and hockey). While I find the meetings useless, their system works great. As of today I am back on the path to healthy eating.
This morning I downloaded an app for my iPhone called iWatchr. Basically it runs the WW system and even has a points calculator. It allows me to track and store food logs in my iPhone, which is convenient since I almost always have it. You can also get it on the iTouch.
Since my wife got rid of our old WW stuff, I found a website to help me figure out my daily point allowance (33). There are several websites dedicated to the WW system and most are free. As this series continues I will try to link to each one I use.
As this is Day One of my quest to lose weight, I wanted to examine what I typically eat. Since Wednesday has been my weigh in day since at least 2007 when I began my current weight loss spreadsheet, I usually indulge in low fat whole grain Eggos (4.8) with Skippy Chunky Peanut Butter (4.7) and Sugar Free Syrup (1.4). Today I added 16 oz or organic orange juice (4.4). And just like that nearly half of my points were gone.
Lunch was leftover Buffalo Chicken Casserole. With a sauce made of buffalo sauce and ranch and blue cheese dressings, hashbrowns, and cheese, the rest of my points are more than gone. I still have dinner to figure out...
Today has been a real eye opener. But I still have to exist in the world I live in and that means eating the bad food I already have. Dealing with quick meals and going out - especially in light of the lax season. I know this won't be easy, but I lost more weight than this in the year before my wedding while working full time and going to school four nights per week. I know I can do it again.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dubuque Lax?!

Yesterday I received an email from a gentleman in Dubuque, IA. Alan Temperly recently moved to Dubuque from Waterford, MI. There he was the president of the Waterford Youth Lacrosse Association.
Now he is looking to start a youth association in Dubuque by next spring. If you or anyone you know lives in the Dubuque area and is interested in lacrosse, please contact Alan directly. His contact information will also be posted on the CILA website once I get the opportunity to do so.
It is great to see that opportunities like this are increasing around the state.
Individuals from Albia, Knoxville, Pella, the Cedar Rapids area, and the Waterloo area have been in touch with me. There is also a high school team in Council Bluffs. If you live in any of these areas and want to get involved, please contact me and I will forward their information. I am in the process of getting permission to add their email addresses to the CILA website. If you live in another area of the state and are interested in getting something going, please contact me and I will help you out.

Attention Adult Players

As you may be aware, there is a competitive summer travel league in our regions - the Great Plains Lacrosse League. While I continually hope to field a team in this league, as of decision time this year we did not have enough guys. The Demons will once again pass on playing in the GPLL.
However, those looking to play do have some options. I would like to suggest joining the Salt Creek Tiger Beetles out of Lincoln, NE. Check out the message from Greg McManus:

I'm starting to put a spreadsheet together of those who want to play for the Beetles this summer. The cost looks like it'll be $90 per person. Yes, this is more expensive than last season. But, we pay for our home field space and we're trying to buy balls and pinnies for new players. If we can get 20 people to commit to playing this summer, then I can look at the dues coming down. Right now, I have it figured at 15 people on the team.

Anyway, if you're playing, please let me know. I don't need your money yet, but I do need people to commit to playing.

Check the web site:

Also, some of you (I won't name any names here....) borrowed equipment from me last summer. This equipment does not belong to the men's club but to the Lincoln high school team. Please contact me so we can make amends ASAP.

Both the league website and the Tiger Beetles' website have eligibility information posted. Basically you need to be out of high school this summer to play. If you are interested in joining the Tiger Beetles, please contact Greg.

Hopefully we will be in a better position next year. To make it happen, we will need the core group of players to make some sort of commitment by January. Because of things I am anticipating in the next year, I do foresee myself being able to play...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Living in Fantasy Land... Part 5

The last installment added another Des Moines metro team as well as a team in the northern portion of the Cedar Valley to bring the league to ten teams. We are still in Fantasy Land, but I am trying to demonstrate the measured growth that usually follows new sports leagues. It is not hard for me to imagine four to six teams joining each year, but I will only post two at a time for simplicity and flow. Today we are leaving the Des Moines metro for two college towns ripe for lax.

Ames Little Cyclones
Given that Iowa State has had a team forever, I am surprised there has been no movement in Ames yet. With a strong hockey program drawing mostly local kids and a waning interest in baseball, Ames is perfectly poised to establish a lax program.A 4A district (top sports level for the out-of-staters), there are several schools within reasonable driving distance to Ames to bolster their ranks. Double headers with the ISU team would not hurt their growth or support either.As the second orange and black team in the league, Ames gets a different treatment than Valley. Going with an orange on orange away uniform sets the Little Cyclones apart from the Tigers visually. I also used a "stretch and twist" option for the font to give the impression that it had been caught in a Twister. The effect creates an "A" not too far removed from their Flyers-inspired hockey logo.
I decided on the orange on black helmet after looking at pictures of Virginia this year. The orange on orange on orange look is too much for any team not named Syracuse...
Pella Dutch
It is not hard for me to imagine Central College adding an MCLA team (or GLLL should Drake go that way) around the same time that a high school program starts up. I have been contacted by at least one Pella resident about getting something going there as well. At the very least, away games on Saturdays might result in a trip to the bakery for some bomb diggity Dutch Letters.Pella is not a large town by any means, but the Dutch have a strong group of local athletes to choose from. They are also fortunate to be close enough to draw players from Prairie City-Monroe and Oskaloosa. Although they are not that close to Albia, it is not hard to imagine a rivalry starting up between the two.The Dutch officially only wear dark green and white, which greatly limits what I can do with their uniforms. I added lime green as an accent color to help break up the visual monotony.

Ruffled Fur

Last year Valley went 12-1 as a first year junior varsity team. The lone loss came at the hands of a Kansas City area varsity team, St. Thomas Aquinas. Arguably, the Kansas league - especially the Kansas City teams - is stronger than the Nebraska league. Considering most of those teams started playing in the much older Missouri league for a few years before any Nebraska team was created, I am not surprised. Does that excuse the 14-1 ass kicking St. Thomas gave the Tigers last year? Of course not.

In the same tournament, Valley beat two varsity teams from the Nebraska league: Lincoln and Papillion La Vista. Valley narrowly beat Lincoln 7-6, but their 10-5 score against Papio after the St. Thomas loss indicates that last year's team knew how to recover. Granted the Rampage finished the season 0-17, but it was their first varsity season. Papio finished the season in fourth place after getting knocked from the championship tournament by eventual runner-up Creighton Prep.

Excluding the three games against varsity competition, Valley finished the season with 101 goals for and 28 goals against. Even for junior varsity, that is quite a big gap.

This fall, Valley was scheduled to play in a fall ball tournament in Lincoln in early October. Due to early snow, the tournament was postponed to Halloween. As a result several starters and second line players - including the varsity goalie - could not make it. With a team comprised mainly of under classmen with little experience, Valley finished the tournament 2-2. Early wins against Lincoln (4-2) and a combined Westside & Black Knights squad (11-4) showed promise. After lunch Valley faced Creighton Prep. Despite losing team captain Cam Bostwick, the Tigers held on and for a narrow 3-2 loss.

The only team that dealt strongly with the Tigers was defending state champions Millard West. With a full varsity squad and a packed bench, the Wildcats handily beat Valley 7-3. The young Valley team played with a lot of heart despite being out of gas. Would they have beaten the Wildcats with all of their varsity starters? Maybe. Would they have played a better game in the morning? Maybe. The point is that it does not matter.

In the year since Valley started playing in the Nebraska league, they have lost only 3 times out of 17 games. Those losses came to the strongest teams in the league and a team from a stronger league. Coincidentally all three losses occurred in Lincoln, NE.

So why am I bringing this up? Because of something that I read on West Side Lax yesterday. I understand that players will talk trash and I am ok with that. But this goes beyond trash talk into flat out disrespect:

"...i know our JV played valley a couple times last year. They were alright against our JV, but they will get smoked by varsity teams"

As I acknowledged before, I recognize that Valley primarily played JV teams last season. But I would say the large score differential indicates that the Tigers were more than "alright." Valley's combined score against this player's team (both JV and varsity) is 18-9. I am letting the facts speak for themselves. I am definitely not talking smack about any team .

There will be more facts to consider come next Monday after Valley plays its first four games...

Tribe 7