Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Winter Workouts Part 2

Photo: Walter Payton running “the hill” in Arlington Heights, Illinois

What drove me to run in the cold, lift weights, and work on my stick skills as a Syracuse lacrosse player over winter break were stories of athletes like Larry Bird and Walter Payton. Bird, the story goes, would be out on the court in Indiana heat waves shooting jumpers for hours alone. Similarly during the off season with the Chicago Bears, Walter Payton ran steep hills religiously near his Illinois home about 20 times a day wearing specially made training shoes. So as I said in part one of this series yesterday, in January when I was playing college lacrosse, I would be working my butt off right now and eating wisely in hopes of earning a starting position when I returned to campus. I figured if I worked harder than my teammates and opponents I would have the edge. I continue the habit of working out four times a week but now it’s with weights and biking, and it’s for one hour instead of two. My habits have also stood me well as a prof, author, and blogger. The English writer Charles Reade said, “Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny” 

How to Improve Your Stick Skills: [Watch 4 min 2 sec] http://lacrossememoir.blogspot.com/2012/06/how-i-developed-my-lacrosse-stick.html

Winter Workouts

Mike Woicik ran the strength and conditioning program at Syracuse when I was there as a lacrosse player in the 80s. Mike told me how he has run into former SU athletes and NFL players that he worked with during his career and that they were so out of shape that he did not recognize them. I’ve had similar experiences with former teammates. Mike explained, “It’s about changing your lifestyle.” Is comment made me reflect on what I would be doing in the winter off season when I was a college player. I got up in below freezing New York weather and went for training runs. At that time few understood the rigors of playing a Division I sport. I would coordinate with the basketball coach at my high school to get access to the weight room and a place to do wall ball. 

Lacrosse Wall Ball Routines:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Metro Lacrosse's Faceoff at Fenway Park

Metro Lacrosse, a Boston based NGO using lacrosse to teach life skills to boys and girls. To learn more, check out this video.

November 18, 2014 Faceoff at Fenway Tickets: http://faceoff.brownpapertickets.com/

Jim Brown Lacrosse Stories: http://lacrossememoir.blogspot.com/search?q=Jim+Brown

Fred Opie's Story About the 1990s US Men's U. S. National Lacrosse Team Tryouts: http://lacrossememoir.blogspot.com/2010/04/integrated-us-national-team-tryout-in.html

Jim Brown and SU at Yale in 1957: http://nhregister.com/articles/2012/07/09/sports/doc4ffb616868e68179197528.txt

Monday, October 27, 2014

Coaching Stories

Hempstead varsity lacrosse team photo circa 1986: Kenny Moore, Kevin McClure, Sinclair Basnight, Donald Jones, Egon Robertson, John Williams, Derek Payne, Danny Williams, Gerald Cordova, Charles Edge, Aaron Jones, Jerry McCarter, Caesar Lara, William Humphrey, Milton Warker, Norris Taylor, Robin Taylor
I taught and coached football and lacrosse at Hempstead High School during the 1988-89 academic year. The district had failed to pass it budget and operated on an austerity budget—restricted funding for sports with funds only for coach’s salaries, insurance, buses etc. The student body had been over 95% black and remainder lower class Latinos and whites. In the 1960s the school had gained national recognition for its academic and athletic achievements. The High School began a decline with the close of Mitchel Air Force Base in 1961, an important source of jobs for the community and the beginning of capital and white flight from the school district. Regan era cut backs led to further problems along with the coming of the crack cocaine epidemic. Despite these hardships, a group of dedicated teachers and coaches insured that Hempstead grads continued to attend some of the finest schools in the country. In the team photo above one fines Metro Lacrosse CEO Aaron Jones who played collegiality at Cornel University and Army officer Dan Williams who earned All American honors at West Point.  

Hempstead Lacrosse History: http://lacrossememoir.blogspot.com/search?q=Hempstead

Coaching Stories: http://lacrossememoir.blogspot.com/search?q=coach

Monday, September 15, 2014

Aaron Jones' Lacrosse Reflections

Photo of guest blogger and Cornell lacrosse alum Aaron Jones throwing a check against a Yale attackman circa 1987.

By the spring of 1975, Coach Al Hodish organized a team to compete throughout long island against other communities. The towns that surround Hempstead were both largely white and lacrosse power houses such as Garden City, Lynbrook, Elmont, Baldwin, Sewanhaka, Levitt Town Division, Manhasset, and many others. In those communities kids began playing lacrosse as early as the age of five. But for Hempstead youngsters like me and others such as John Williams, Brandon James, Albert Walker, James Freeman, Kevin McClure, Egan Robinson, among others had no idea how long or how well the other communities had been involved with the game of lacrosse. We were driven by our love for the game and our will to win. By the end of the season, we were hooked. In those lacrosse communities surrounding Hempstead, white kids began playing lacrosse as early as the age of 5yrs old. But for us black Hempstead kids, ignorance was bliss. We had no idea how long or how well the other communities had been involved with the game of lacrosse. We were driven by our love for the game and our will to win. That nucleus of players bonded around a passion for lacrosse. By 1980 we had advanced to high school and became a dominate team competing at highest level of lacrosse in the region; more on Hempstead lacrosse history tomorrow.

Aaron Jones Related Lacrosse Stories: http://lacrossememoir.blogspot.com/search?q=jones

Friday, September 12, 2014

Syracuse Lacrosse Swag in the 1980s

Fred Opie following a 1985 home game in the Dome
For me fall ball meant swag! For a lacrosse junkies a new helmet, gloves, and other pads that smelt like the inside of new car was like nirvana! Back then we had refurbished turf shoes and spikes hand me downs from the football program because the lacrosse coaches had not received a shoe deal yet, but I did not care and just knew I was too cool. Today's generation of SU players recieved fabulous swag each fall season because of the programs consistent success and the media coverage that has generated over the years for such a minor sport like lacrosse. I am amazed when I go into stores like Dike's Sporting Goods and see so much Syracuse Lacrosse apparel for sale. Sporting SU lacrosse swag in the fall of 1983 put a little pep in my step as strolled across campus identifying with a wining program during a time when the football program had little to celebrate.