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Saturday, September 25, 2010

My First Stringing Job - Ever

Stringing a head is a vital skill for nearly every laxer. So far I have avoided this task by ordering my heads pre-strung. Part of this was due to me not knowing what type of stringing I preferred and part of it was simply not knowing how to do it. When my new Adidas Grant head came unstrung, I had little choice but to learn how to do it myself.

Grant, Unstrung
Thank God for You Tube. After a quick search, I found videos produced by the Denver Outlaws featuring Brendan Mundorf. Mundorf's instructions were simple and easy to follow. I had always heard that the topstring is very difficult, but I had no issues thanks to Mundorf.
Video 1 - Topstring
My Topstring

Adidas was very kind and gave me plenty of options for stringing the sidewalls. The holes are numerous and close. I took some creative liberties with placement as Mundorf's own head obviously lacked many of these. The overall result seemed to work just fine though. The sidewalls are secure and tight, like they should be.
Video 2 - Sidewalls

My Sidewalls
Unfortunately there were no Mundorf videos for shooting and V strings. For this I carefully studied my current stick (Warrior Mojo) and worked backwards.
My Mojo
There are several different ways to string shooters, but I have gotten very familiar with the stringing on my Mojo. The Grant head needed to come out as close as possible. The first step is using only a nylon string (aka piano wire) up top instead of a hockey lace.
Piano Wire
Then a pronounced V-string is made at the top of the pocket. The V string is hockey lace and is not fed through the sidewalls. This was probably the trickiest part of the whole process as I had to make sure that the pattern was the same on both sides of the V.
Lower V String
My Mojo has a double V string so I tried to emulate this feature as well. With the tightness of my sidewall stringing, I found that I really could not get the V placed in the same spot. So I modified it a bit. Now it is a hybrid of a V and traditional shooter. Having done a little wall ball, it seems to work just fine.
Finished Product
The important thing to remember with the V strings is to keep them balanced across the mesh. Also, do not over tighten the lace or it will impact the whip. The top shooter, however, should be tight.
I left the excess strings uncut for now. After I can get outside to shoot and pass (damn rain), I will make adjustments as needed. I am confident that not much will be needed. Like I previously mentioned, I did wall ball a bit and it seems to be throwing alright. The pocket seems perfect (for my tastes) and it cradles extremely well. A full assessment of the stringing - and the head itself - will come once I get a chance to use it a bit.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Important Reminders

1. The Drake Lacrosse team is having a free scrimmage tomorrow at Drake Stadium from 12:00 - 2:00 pm. The team is selling shirts for $10.00

2. Registration for the 2010 Central Iowa Lacrosse Association Box Lacrosse League is currently open. This year's fee is $55.00 per player, which can be paid online or by check. Registration closes at 12:00 pm on Saturday, October 23, 2010. The league will begin on Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 8:00 pm.

3. Valley players should be checking the Facebook page for updates and cancellations. Same day cancellations will be updated here.

4. The south side lacrosse clinics will continue through October 14, 2010, with a possibility to extend them depending on the weather. Cancellations will be posted on the Central Iowa Lacrosse Association Facebook page. The turnout has been pretty good thus far and the talent is fairly impressive.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Boy Scouts Lax Demonstration

Before I get into the meat of this, I want to thank the volunteers that worked with John Yasenko to make this event a success: Jim Burk (CILA board, ref), Austin Ladd (CILA youth coordinator), Kurt Sundermann (Valley board), Alec Sundermann (Valley alum), Ben Oberender (Valley player), Dan Boyd (Valley player). This clinic would not have happened without the efforts of these gentlemen.
Kurt Sundermann's summary of the event:
We had really good turnout throughout the morning session. I think at points we had as many at 25-30 sticks in use. General approach was as boys showed up in small groups, we’d mark them up with one of our members, give them a 2 minute training on basic skills, then let them start throwing a ball in the group. Couple kids hung out for an hour+. Several came back a second time.
Unfortunately, we had to close up shop shortly after lunch as lightning was moving and it seemed unlikely that it was going to letup throughout the afternoon. The entire event ended up closing down at 5:00 due to the weather. (Cancelling an evening concert and fireworks.)
We had two adults who used to play in Denver show up. One gave Austin his card and is really interested in getting his son into the clinics. Another fellow is planning on sending a message on the league site to get signed up for this year’s box league. (He has all of his gear still.) We had a bit of a hard time keeping the fliers dry (and an email sign up for was soaked within 15-30 minutes.) We had one of the Lincoln members show up with some of his friends. Also had a 7th-grader who played out in Denver want to get involved with the clinics and two Dowling high-schoolers who spent a lot of time throwing and shooting. (Dan was really impressed with one’s natural athletic talent. May want to ask him about the guy; I know he was working him pretty hard.)
All-in-all, I think this did a very good job of getting the word about the sport out. I’m sure we had over 100 kids pickup a stick at one point or another. Definitely recommend trying to do this again at future camporees.

John, thanks again for hooking us up with this!

An addition by Jim Burk:
Austin had me suit up and he started shooting at me. Then kid's started showing up. They would come over and try, but found out how hard it was. Then they would start getting instruction's and practice a little. Then they came back a had a better time shooting at me. I told Zach this too. When we run a clinic, I think this is what will draw kid's in. I don't mind doing it. I was in goal pretty much the whole time.

All-in-all it sounds like a success, despite the rain. We may have even found some more adult players and/or coaches in the process. My only regret is that I was unable to help out due to scheduling conflicts. Luckily it looks like there will be many more opportunities in the years to come!

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hockey Night In Iowa 2010 Edition - Game 5

After a narrow loss to defending champions Cup O Kryptonite (my former team) on Sunday, Irwins Bike & Sports is back to a .500 record. Tonight wraps up the league's initial meetings as we face the Puck Hawgs. As of right now we are tied for third place (2-2) with the Hawgs (2-1), but they have a game in hand. But what you expect after three and a half weeks of play?
The Hawgs are another mystery team. Last year they were a solid middle of the pack team with no real superstars. So far this year, they match our win against Funky Pickle and our loss to Cup. What makes them stand out is their Week 2 win over Alien, the commissioner's only loss of the season. Granted that was a late game, but beating the early favorite is an admirable feat.
With my limited knowledge of this year's Hawgs, I have to rely on what I gleaned last year. This is a team that can build momentum and grind out a win. But they also are prone to collapsing.
Our boys have shown a lot of heart already this season and will be looking to rebound from Sunday's loss. With key absences on the blue line this weekend, it is not inconceivable that we might have beaten Cup. Since we are expecting everybody tonight, the Hawgs will be suffer our wrath. Expect a Irwins victory by two or more.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Drake Blue vs White Fall Scrimmage

The Drake Lacrosse Team is having their semi-annual Blue vs White Scrimmage Game this Saturday at Drake Stadium. The game will last from 12:00 - 2:00 pm. Admission is free.
The team will also be selling their sick t-shirts for $10.00.
Unlike past events, CILA & Valley players will not be participating. This will be Drake's first team-exclusive event.
As parking can be an issue at Drake, I recommend carpooling. Bring your friends, family, and anybody that is interested in lacrosse or is a Drake fan. The Bulldogs are vital to the long term growth of lacrosse in Central Iowa.

Monday, September 20, 2010


I wanted to address my spotty posting as of late and apologize. Without making excuses (okay I kind of am), I have been busy and have been having computer issues. Between work, personal responsibilities, and activities designed to keep the game growing here, I just have not had time to get a lot written. Most of the issues revolve around work, including the computer issues...
I plan to get to the following before October is over:
I. Review of Saturday's Boy Scouts event. I just need to compile various people's emails into a coherent post and get the pictures ready. Because my work computer is kind of dumb (we use Internet Explorer 6 for crying out loud!), I'll be doing this mostly at home. As I have not been at home much lately, this will be a little delayed. I plan to get started tomorrow before work.
9/21/2010 Update: The pics have been uploaded to the CILA Facebook page. I plan to get the review together to post by Friday.
II. Do the Pro Leagues Matter? I posted the first part a couple of weeks ago. I planned on posting the second part within a week. The day I finished writing it I already had a couple of things posted, so I wanted to wait until after the weekend for it to auto post (which I end up doing quite a bit). Unfortunately, when I went to save Part Two, my work PC had some sort of hiccup. I thought everything was saved ok... When I went to add some video (which I cannot do at work), half of the text and all of the pictures were gone. Needless to say I have not rewritten it yet. But it will be coming sometime before the Box League starts.
III. Lightning Wear product reviews. If you follow this blog, then you know that we used Lightning Wear jerseys this summer. What you may not know is that Lightning Wear also sent me some sample shorts and a compression shirt. The shorts were divvied out to the Valley coaches, but I kept a pair and I kept the shirt. These reviews are high on my list; I just need to get some pics...
IV. Tribe 7 reviews. Rob Littell over at Tribe 7 Lacrosse was kind enough to send me a couple of sticks last fall. After various people have used them over the last year, I think I am finally in a position to review them from an honest standpoint. They've been beaten and battered long enough now...
V. Box goals write up. I have them, I just have not gotten them put together. Space has been an issue. Once I get one together, I will get some pics and do a brief write up. I will say they are heavy duty, but the weight is not bad. The stringing system is interesting; it kind of reminds me of a lacrosse head.
VI. Status of Lincoln High School. I plan to host my fourth straight South side clinic this week and want to give everybody an idea of how that is progressing. Probably no pics, so it will be fairly easy. I will probably wait until we are done though - October 14 is our last session.
VII. Growth efforts update. Basically I plan to shed a little light on what has been done by CILA & Valley to spur the growth of lacrosse in the metro. I will probably touch on other areas of the state as well.

Tomorrow I will renew my focus and work to get on a regular publishing schedule again. I have a long term plan for the later part of the week once the Box League starts:
Wednesday - hockey preview
Thursday - Box preview
Friday - Box review

I am working on finding a consistent Monday morning feature as well. I will probably keep the weekends free except for updates or priority items. Random postings about the college and pro leagues will still appear from time to time. With Drake joining Iowa, ISU, Cornell, and Northwestern in the college ranks, I should have plenty of topics...
In the meantime, I ask that you please bear with me as I right the ship once again.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Dubuque Lacrosse is a Go!

The state of Iowa now has two lacrosse programs for high school players (three, if you count Council Bluffs)! The Dubuque Youth Lacrosse Association has officially launched. DYLA is focusing on creating a comprehensive lacrosse program with high school, middle school, and youth programs. In the short term, they will be looking to form a community-wide high school team similar to Valley's, with a middle school team being the next step.
DYLA's first major event will be a FREE introductory clinic on Saturday, October 16. The clinic will be open to youth players in grades 5-12. It will be held at Hempstead High School. Players from the University of Wisconsin Platteville lacrosse team will assist with the clinic. For more information about the clinic, please visit the DYLA website.
Platteville is about 20 minutes northeast of Dubuque, across the Mississippi River. The team plays in the Great Lakes Lacrosse League. This is a great opportunity for the team to build a new recruiting base as they build relationships with Dubuque's youth. This move might help spur development at one of the three colleges in Dubuque.
Dubuque is 163 miles from Des Moines (Omaha 126, KC 177). For the time being, I would imagine that DYLA may pursue playing in the Wisconsin league as Madison is only 77 miles away and Milwaukee is 143. Still, this addition should spark growth in Northeast Iowa. Hopefully similar movements will soon rise in Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and the Quad Citites. Regardless, this brings us one step closer to an Iowa high school league...
Previous posts on Dubuque Lacrosse: March 2010 April 2010 July 2010

Hockey Night In Iowa 2010 Edition - Game 4

Special Sunday Edition!!!!

Today marks our first of two Sunday games. Irwins Bike & Sports will face off against Cup O Kryptonite this afternoon at 4:00 pm at Buccaneer Arena. You may recall that I proudly hoisted the Gabe Fleming Cup with Cup O Kryptonite last season (right).
There is no animosity between myself and my former team. We parted ways under good circumstances. In fact, the Cup boys sat rink side to cheer us on against YDD last week. Still, it will be interesting to take the ice against my former teammates for the first time...
After Wednesday night's game, we are really coming together as a team. Our current record is 2-1 and we look forward to adding another win this afternoon. Cup comes in with an identical record and would no doubt like to make a statement to the rest of the league.

So if you're looking for something to do this afternoon, go ahead and come on out to Buccaneer Arena. Admission is free, but the beer is not.

Tribe 7