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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Southside Introductory Clinic

I will be holding a lax clinic this Tuesday night at Jefferson Elementary on the south side of Des Moines. The clinic will start at 5:30 and run for about an hour and a half to two hours. I will bringing the balls and my extra sticks.

The clinic is primarily intended for middle and high school students on the south side of the metro - specifically interested males in the Lincoln, Norwalk, Carlisle, Indianola, and Roosevelt districts. I am not opposed to other new middle/high school or adult players attending though.

The clinic will focus on the basics - throwing, catching, scooping, and cradling. There will also be non contact drills and mini games. It will be run similar to our old Toss Arounds. The clinic is absolutely free and there is no obligation to continue playing.

I am primarily running this clinic following a request from Lincoln students interested in playing in the upcoming 2010 Box Lacrosse League. Hopefully this will be the first step towards spreading the game to new areas of the metro. My goal has always been to spread lacrosse around Des Moines and then through the state as a whole...

If you are interested in attending or helping out with this clinic (or even hosting future clinics) please contact me. We will deal with any possible future developments as they arise.This information has also been posted on the Central Iowa Lacrosse Association's Clinics & Camps page.

Jefferson Elementary
2425 Watrous Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50321-2146

Friday, August 27, 2010

2010 CILA Summer League - What I Learned Part 1

I had a lot of fun with this league this summer. Hopefully everybody else did too. This was my first attempt at running an organized field lacrosse league (or outdoor league of any sort). It was only my second attempt at running any sort of sports league (last year's box league being the first). As such, I have learned a few things:
1. Mother Nature is a cruel and unrelenting bitch
As hard as we tried, we just could not escape the weather. We all know that Iowa summers can be a real nightmare. We did our best to play through the heat and humidity every week. Unfortunately two of those weeks had unreasonable temperatures that resulted in cancellations. The second cancellation was significantly worse than the first because it was a playoff game and there was no time to even attempt a make up game.Still, I feel fortunate that we were able to play ten games this summer. When I set up the league, I scheduled nine games, a playoff game, and a final game for each team. I also allowed an extra week for a night of heavy absences. By contrast, Major League Lacrosse teams play 12 games each and only 4 teams make the playoffs. We started on the first Wednesday in June; the pros started before Memorial Day. We played our championship games during the same week.
2. Make up games are nearly impossible to pull off
The first time we canceled a game due to extreme heat, I got a lot of flack from people that wanted to play. I understand that; after all, I really wanted to play too. Lax is my stress relief from a long day of being a cubicle jockey. I also like things to go off as planned, so a cancellation obviously throws a monkey wrench into things.
To keep things on track and get in the planned games, I decided to schedule a make up game. I emailed and sent texts to everybody in the league with a couple of options. I made the first date a week and a half out, hoping that people would/could make arrangements. When the make up game rolled around, roughly half the league showed up - if that. The frustrating part was the number of players that chose that date and did not show up. Then again, the non responses were frustrating too...
Needless to say, when we had to cancel the playoff games, rescheduling was quickly tossed out. Given that we barely had enough guys for a single game last time, we were not going to try to make up such an important game. The time and effort involved were not worth the result. Unfortunately cancelling the playoffs altogether was the better solution.
3. We need to avoid using the extra night for as long as possible
We knew there were a lot of anticipated absences during the second week of the season so we decided to use our free day rather than to have it count as a league game. After I had to cancel the playoff games, I regretted this decision. Originally I had planned the free day for the tenth week of the season, but this was just a place holder. My hope was that we would still have the free day available and could move up the playoffs by a week. Then we could move the championship up and have an all-star vs league champions game the next week. This would have prevented the loss of the playoff game, although it would have created a bye between the playoff and championship. Still, I'm sure that most would have preferred this.
Next year I will plan for a flex day at the end of the season and do my damnedest to keep it free for the playoffs.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Living in a Fantasy Land... Part 11

I started this series several months ago and then wrapped it up during Valley's spring season.
Lincoln Railsplitters
After driving past my old high school to pick up my wife's little sister before our summer league games, I was inspired to create a uniform for them as part of my Living in a Fantasy Land series.
Lincoln's primary rival was Dowling when I was in school. All of the best south side athletes happened to be Catholic so we usually lost a good chunk of them to the private school. Both teams wear maroon, so my biggest challenge is making Lincoln stand out against my earlier Dowling designs. I chose white shorts to create a more unique look for the Rails.
When I was in school, Lincoln wore "yellow" gold, but since I graduated the school has embraced Vegas gold. This creates a bit of a struggle to differentiate the team's look from the Ankeny designs I created earlier this year. To downplay the similarities, I chose to deemphasize the gold and use it as a secondary color on the shorts, jerseys, and helmet.
Having a Lincoln team would be great for south side of the metro. Given the demographic changes over the last decade or so, I am not entirely sure that a team would ever come about. But the point of the Fantasy Land series is to imagine what a team would look like if it did exist...
Next - Lincoln revisited

2010 CILA Summer League - All League Teams

Having played in or reffed every CILA Summer League game, I decided to share my picks for the 2010 All League Teams. I'm sure that others will have their own opinions and I encourage you to share them below. These players represented the top level of competition on a regular basis in their position. These players stood out among their teammates every week, regardless of the outcome.
League MVP
Tanner McDougal, Lighnting Wear (Valley)
McDougal played at above average levels in every position on the field. Primarily playing LSM, McDougal was a capable defender, midfielder, and attack man. He also filled in at goal on several occasions, including the league championship game. McDougal exhibited the qualities of the league's best all-around player all season long.

First Team
Goal: Hunter Couch, Lightning Wear (Valley)
Defense: Patrick Shelton, Lightning Wear
Defense: Nick Blay, Mi Casa
Defense: Ben Shoff, Clark Pt (Drake)
LSM: Taylor Aukes, Mi Casa (Mankato State)
Midfield: Tyler Nielsen, Wellspring
Midfield: Zach Zielonko, Wellspring
Midfield: Paul Miska, Mi Casa
Attack: Pat Bradley, Clark PT (Drake)
Attack: Cam Bostwick, Lightning Wear (Missouri State)
Attack: Bob Ripchinski, Clark PT

Second Team
Goal: Brandon Fitch, Clark PT
Defense: Jamie Tornberg, Wellspring (Valley)
Defense: Shawn Harrington, Lightning Wear
Defense: Collin Mundus, Lightning Wear (Valley)
LSM: Tanner McDougal, Lightning Wear (Valley)
Midfield: Austin Ladd, Clark PT
Midfield: Jake Van Dyke, Mi Casa (Iowa State)
Midfield: Dylan Griess, Lightning Wear (Valley)
Attack: Benny Arends, Wellspring (Valley)
Attack: Nate Kaufmann, Mi Casa
Attack: Ben Couch, Lightning Wear (Iowa State)

Position: Name, Summer Team, (Current Team)
Some of these were tough calls. But nothing is meant as a slight against anyone in the league. God knows I put myself below everybody else out there...
I welcome your comments.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gear on Craigslist

New players always ask me where they can pick up some inexpensive lax gear. I usually direct them the to clearance section at Lacrosse Monkey because I've gotten some great stuff at low prices on more than one occasion.
But another resource that I rarely think of is Craigslist. Every once in a while I'll stumble across a posting or somebody will contact me about their gear being for sale. Although I never ask why they're dumping their gear, I usually try to forward the links on to people who might be interested. In fact, there are several listings on Craigslist right now. Most of them are from the same seller. Take a look. Maybe you'll find that back up set of gear you've been wanting...
Helmet (unknown) $25
Helmets (Cascade & Warrior) $20-40
Sticks (Warrior, Brine) $20-40
Pads (STX) $10-20
Gloves (Shamrock) $10-20
Shoulder pads (Shamrock) $10

Most of the gear listed is starter stuff. Still, if you are a newbie yourself, it may not hurt to take a look...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Reminder - Pick Up Game Tomorrow

The CILA Summer League may be done and over with, but the lax continues!!!
There will be a pick up game at Indian Hills Jr High in Clive. The game will start at 5:45 and run for roughly two hours.
There will be no ref (it's a pick up game after all) so all players are encouraged to keep it clean and fun.
Jim will be handling the nets. Please help him with the set up and clean up. I will not be there to help out.
Although there are probably about 20 summer league balls around there (including four lost last week), you may want to bring your own if you have one. Jim is not providing the balls and there are none for use in the shed.
If all goes well and the interest remains for next week, another pick up session might be arranged.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

2010 CILA Summer League Champs

Here's a look at the 2010 Lightning Wear team*
Pictured: Dylan Griess, Patrick Shelton, Shawn Harrington, Alec Sundermann, Sam Arends, Hunter Levis, Colin Mundus, Cole Griess, Cam Bostwick, and Tanner McDougal.

*Well, the guys that were there to win the championship on Thursday night anyway. FYI, their reversibles are a conglomerate of all three league sponsors. Originally there were only going to be three teams. Then a whole team's worth of players came out of the woodwork and Team Lightning Wear was cobbled together and named for our league's supplier. Amazingly this afterthought team finished the season undefeated as the league's first champion.

Tribe 7