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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Thailand Lacrosse

Taking a step back from our own efforts, I wanted to spotlight one of the up and coming national team programs - Thailand Lacrosse.

Although they were not able to participate in this year's World Championships in Manchester, England, the Thai team is one of the most organized and active national teams I have encountered. On October 2, they hosted the Hong Kong team. At the end of the month, they will head to Honolulu for the Hawaii invitational. The team is arranging a trip to Argentina this spring. They are trying to line up additional South & Central American opponents, like Mexico. The team will host its own invitational tournament in June. In July the team heads to New Zealand for the Asian Pacific Championships.
Despite being a brand new team and not being able to participate in the 2010 Worlds, Thailand has managed to obtain some very nice equipment. To compliment their classic Nike uniforms, the team is sponsored by Maverik lacrosse. The Maybachs design allowed the team to continue their design theme with flawless execution. I have been told by team captain Payu that their new gloves (Empire) will be even better. Their helmet decal is my favorite in the sport; it looks amazing on their Pro7s.
Perhaps the most enduring thing about Thailand Lacrosse is the way its founding demonstrates the power of grassroots efforts. The team's story is similar to those found in places like Denver, Kansas City, Dallas, Omaha, and even Des Moines. This passage was taken directly from the website:

Deerfield, Massachusetts 1995. A young man far from his home in Thailand enters life as a boarder at a small school in Deerfield, MA called Eaglebrook School. It is there he learns the sport in which he is found 15 years later playing with a group of like-minded pioneers in the evening heat of beautiful Bangkok. This man’s name is, Prantarit (Payu)Nerngchamnong and this is the story of how Thailand got lacrosse.

Thailand’s journey to lacrosse was born from the return of a generation of Thai students who had studied abroad in the lacrosse-mad worlds of the United States and England. The nucleus of Thailand Lacrosse’s founding fathers met at Suffield Academy in Connecticut where Payu studied, and continued to letter in lacrosse, after he left Eaglebrook School. Though he did not play in college, Payu was nothing if not resourceful and decided to help found a club team for competitive lacrosse players who were unable to join any of the existing club teams in New York and New Jersey. The team was "New York Orca Lacrosse" based in Manhattan. Forming that team helped paved the way for Thailand Lacrosse and the experience he gained and the mistakes he made prepared Payu for the task that lay ahead in organizing a club lacrosse in Thailand.

Once back in Thailand, Payu kept thinking about lacrosse and starting a team. Eventually with 2 other Thai alumni of Suffield he began planning the founding of not only a club but an entire association with the goal to develop lacrosse in Thailand for future generations. This group envisioned men’s and women’s national teams competing on the international stage. Their inspiration was Japan who was the pioneer Asian country to have a team in the world game and their hope lay in FIL and its high level of activity in expanding the sport across the world. Payu and friends believed that it was important to set up a national governing body to create the climate for future development, not just having "a team from Thailand". Japan’s Yasuhiko Hayakawa is still a great help and supporter of the Thai effort.

Payu and his friends founded Thailand Lacrosse Association (TLA) in 2009 after years of research and recruiting others like themselves who had played lacrosse at a higher level and wanted more than just throwing a ball around in the evenings. Like everything else new, the reaction to lacrosse in Thailand had been mixture of doubt coupled with excitement. While many do not believe that a country that is dominated by soccer would be open to a rough western sport, there are those who welcome and reach out to support Payu and his mates in their quest of making the team and the sport a reality in Thailand.

One of Payu's strategies that is bearing fruit is his media campaign which is clearly getting the word out that there is lacrosse to be played. It is bringing in former Thai players, Ex-patriot players, and those who are new to the game. The result is that now twice a week the players are all coming out to throw around at the Arena 10 Indoor facility in downtown Bangkok. Several companies also reached out to help facilitate, and supported the team such as Maverik Lacrosse who donated equipment, IMPACT Arena, Exhibition and Convention Center who allow the team to use their 20,000 spectator soccer stadium in Meungthong Thani as their outdoor practice facility and home field. This where TLA hopes to host the second lacrosse game ever played in Thailand as well as hosting future lacrosse clinics. The first ever game was the 1974 USA lacrosse team who played an exhibition game at RBSC. The U.S. team presented RBSC with a plaque commemorating the visit, and that plaque is still hanging in the clubhouse today. Talk to FIL's Tom Hayes about that adventure. Tom continues to support lacrosse in Asia as he is currently spearheading the effort to help Thailand become a full member of FIL.

Even though I have no biological or historical connections to Thailand, I am proudly declaring that I am a dedicated fan of this team. I will cheer for the Thai laxers above all comers - at least until they day comes when they face the US...
If more nations showed the same level of initiative and passion as Thailand, the sport would prosper in unimaginable ways.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Easton Gets A Head

... plus a shaft, three athletes, and a website!

After months of waiting, it seems like everything is happening very quickly for Easton Lacrosse. They debuted their official logo - the traditional "Easton" script (as featured on everything from baseball bats to hockey sticks to arrows) coupled with Talon's eagle mark. This logo is meant to evoke the synergy of the two brands (Easton acquired Talon earlier this year).

Last week they confirmed that a helmet will be released this spring. The early word is that the helmet is sleek and stylish as well as protective, comfortable, and light. Rumors are now circling that the Riddell XR will be discontinued as a result (Riddell is also owned by Easton Bell).

We first got a glimpse of the new Easton shaft during the Bowhunter Cup, a box lacrosse exhibition game between the US and Iroquois. The initial shaft will be a scandium alloy and will be available in multiple colors. Their look is clean and classy; there is no mistake about the manufacturer or sport. These definitely look like something a serious player would own.

The website also features the debut of the Launch, the company's first head. Available in black, white, yellow, and wood grain, the head will meet the universal specs for all levels of play. It features something Easton calls "Reflex Technology."
The head also has an adjustable screw that allows the player to change the offset to meet his style of play. It will be interesting to see if this will revolutionize lax heads or flop as a useless gimmick.

Lastly, Easton signed three players to represent the company. After seeing Casey Powell use an Easton in the Bow Hunter Cup, his relationship was more or less known. In addition to Powell, the company signed Toronto Nationals goalkeeper Brett Queener. Queener is known for his vivid personality as well as his lax versatility - he is a transition player for the Boston Blazers. Queener is the only player to play two completely different positions in the professional lax leagues. Their third player is Chesapeake Bayhawks defender Michael Evans. The Hopkins graduate helped the Bayhawks win the Steinfled Cup this season. He was also chosen to the 2010 All-MLL team. These signings give Easton a player at each stick length. Definitely not a bad move.

All pictures are from the Easton Lacrosse website

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Random News

Local Shout Out
Ankeny native Taylor Aukes (Mi Casa) currently plays for Minnesota State Mankato's MCLA team. The Mavericks compete in the tough Upper Midwest Lacrosse League against teams like Minnesota, Minnesota Duluth, and Iowa State. Their coach, Dylan Dickey, was recently interviewed on the MCLA Fan website (part of the Lacrosse All Stars network). Dickey's interview is part of the site's "Growing the Game" series. I highly recommend reading it, as well as the other interviews in the series.
-As a side note, I want to wish the Aukes and the Mavericks the best of luck against St. Thomas this weekend in the Clash of Purple.
Paul Rabil
Arguably the biggest star in the game, Paul Rabil is one of the few truly professional laxers. The former Hopkins middie plays for the Boston Cannons and Washington Stealth. He proved to be a key player for Team USA this summer. And he is well known for his Maverik Lacrosse and Under Armour advertisements. Rabil has now signed with Red Bull and has been filming promotional material at Red Bull Arena which led to a feature story in The New York Times.
Richmond Spiders
University of Richmond Athletic Director Jim Miller discussed the possibility of the Spiders fielding an NCAA Division I men's lacrosse team in the Richmond Times-Dispatch yesterday. The current team was recently elevated to "varsity club" status and will begin play in the MCLA. Miller plans to monitor the team over the next three seasons over the next three years with an eye on moving up the NCAA.

Dubuque Lacrosse Begins This Saturday!

The Dubuque Youth Lacrosse Association will officially launch this programs this Saturday - 10/16/2010. Dubuque is the first city in Eastern Iowa to launch a youth lacrosse program.
DYLA's first major event will be a FREE introductory clinic this Saturday, October 16. The clinic will be open to youth players in grades 5-12. Check in time is 9:45 am. The clinic will run from 10:00 AM to noon.
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.

About lacrosse in Dubuque:
DYLA is focused 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.
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 Cities. Regardless, this brings us one step closer to an Iowa high school league...

About Wisconsin-Platteville:
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.


Previous posts on Dubuque Lacrosse: March 2010 April 2010 July 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hockey Night In Iowa 2010 Edition - Game 9

Irwin's losing streak continued following last week's 11-1 loss to Alien - our worst defeat of the season. At 2-6 we are second to last with 1-6 YDD Tatoo below us. You may recall that YDD beat us in our last Sunday game (although the score and stats are not updated on the website).
Tonight we'll face YDD for the third time. After the 5-2 win in the league's second week, our spirits were high. The aforementioned 6-5 last second loss officially broke our spirits. With a nearly full roster expected tonight, we hope to get back on the path to victory. Our goalie situation is still up in the air, which complicates things.
Still, our last game against YDD demonstrated great fortitude as the team successfully killed a two man penalty and managed to tie the game in the closing minutes. We expect to recall those successes and our initial victory as we head onto the ice for the 8:35 start. Either way, this game will be decided by a single goal. I firmly believe that Irwins will be victorious.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

South Side Clinic This Week

The South Side Lacrosse Clinic resumes this week at Brody Middle School. We will start at 5:30 pm, as usual. The forecast looks great and I know everybody is ready to get back into it after the week off.
As a bonus this week, we will do some shooting! Jim will have his gear and we can let 'em rip!

There will be no clinic next week. Valley is holding their annual Orange vs White scrimmage at Valley Stadium. The girls play at 6:00 pm and the boys play at 8:00 pm. Admission is free for both games. Only Valley players and coaches will be playing this year.

Living in a Fantasy Land... Demons Box Team

The other day I posted about the Midwest Lacrosse Association's upcoming competitive box lacrosse league. I was inspired to create some looks for a competitive Des Moines Demons box lacrosse team. I wavered back and forth between the various Demons logos before settling on the D logo. As with any professional team, the logo is included on the helmet - in this case a Cascade M11 in black with athletic gold trim.
I also had a difficult time choosing the color of the dark jersey. Because black is so overdone these days, I wanted to avoid it. Unfortunately the Demon head blended in with the athletic gold and the D blended into the red. So I was stuck using black as the base.
My goal was to clearly make this identifiable as a box lacrosse team, which meant building a box lacrosse jersey on Saxon Athletic's website. Other companies make box jerseys, but Saxon's U-Build-It feature is the most user friendly. For this jersey I opted to use a design inspired by the 1990s Buffalo Sabres. The arm trim looks a bit like horns, which I found appropriate for a team called the "Demons." I made the horns red on both jerseys to provide consistency. The outside stripes are athletic gold.
Although it is hard to see, the graphic on the shorts is the official Des Moines Demons word mark. Again I wavered on which logo to use here, before deciding that the team name would fit nicely since I did not want it on the jersey itself.
In an ideal world, this uniform would be in existence in time for the Central Iowa Lacrosse Association's 2010 Box Lacrosse League. They would then be carried over the the MLA league next year. Unfortunately the former will not happen and the latter is not likely either. Welcome to Fantasy Land!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Valley Tigers: Mid-Fall Classic Champions

For the third time in the club's history, the Valley Tigers headed to Lincoln, Nebraska to participate in the Mid-Fall Classic this Saturday. For the first time in the club's history, the Tigers came into the tournament with a season of varsity lacrosse under their belt. This experience proved useful as the Tigers achieved another first this weekend - they won the tournament!
Although I was stuck in Des Moines (and unable to attend the Drake games to boot), I was fed regular updates by fellow assistant coach Tyler Nielsen. The day started off strong with senior midfielder netting a hat trick early in the first half against a combined River City/Westside team on route to an eventual 8-2 victory.
The Tigers then dominated host Lincoln 6-1 before topping 2009 league champion and 2010 runner-up Millard West 5-3. By the end of the morning, Griess scored ten goals and picked up two assists. Freshman attacker Ted Crites had five points (two goals, three assists) and Sophomore midfielder Sam Arends had three (two goals, one assist) to round out the team's top scorers in the preliminary games.
Teams were broken up into brackets for the afternoon games. The early game put the Tigers into a rematch with River City/Westside, resulting in a similar scoreline (8-1). The tournament championship was a repeat of the state semifinals with Valley facing Creighton Prep. Just like their last meeting, this game was a real nail biter with Valley coming out ahead by a single goal (6-5). There are (unconfirmed) reports that all six goals were scored by different players.
I do not have the individual stats for the afternoon games yet. Once I do, they will be updated on the Valley website. I will also edit this post.
Next up for Valley is the annual Orange vs White game at Valley Stadium. This year's game will be held on Thursday, October 21 at Valley Stadium. Unlike previous years, the boys will play following the Waukee girls' game. The girls game starts at 6:00 pm; the boys are scheduled to begin at 8:00 pm. Admission is free for both games.
Also unlike last year, CILA members will not be allowed to participate. This year's game will be played solely by Valley team members and coaches.
I do not have the updates for Drake's Cornfield Classic at this time.

Tribe 7