Monday, December 31, 2012

My First Lacrosse Stick Part 2

The old STX 73, which was much like my first stick My first lacrosse was a STX 76 with a traditional pocket which ordered the summer I entered 9th grade in 1976. I was so excited that it seemed like it took forever for my first stick to come in. I kept bugging Coach Nick Padula every time I would seem up at the high school gym asking if my stick arrived yet. When it finally arrived, man talk about a happy camper; I was in nirvana looking at it and touching it; but I also I had no clue how to string a traditional stick and neither did any of my peers. Christ Weber, who graduated ahead of me at Croton, ordered a “STX 73 from coach Padula.” Chris read my post and wrote me on facebook about is on first stick stringing dilemma; every player goes through this. It’s learning how to tie your first bowtie. Speaking of 1973, Chris wrote, that is stick “came unstrung from Bacharach-Rasin and cost $15.00. Not only was it my first stick but also the first stick I strung” and neither Chris nor anybody he knew in Croton could explain to him how to string the pocket.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Meddling Parents and Athletics Part 4

My son in the red shorts, at his first organized game
Lets put an end to the series of stories I started on parents and coaches and in the process answer a question. You may be wondering how did my experience with my Dad and my high school coach shape my life today as a parent of a seven year old playing lacrosse and a person coaching youth lacrosse? I am processing a lot when I work with both players and parents. And I too bring a lot of hurts and baggage to the field without a doubt. From the kid who had learning disabilities and often felt like an outsider because of my ethnicity and learning disability, I am always on the lookout for parents and youth players on the margin going the extra mile to let them know I care about them and see them as part of the team. By the way that was the first and only of my Dad’s interventions with one of my coaches. Dad worked so much overtime as a guard at Sing Sing prison that he hardly ever made my games even when I played in college and thereafter. But when he could make it, his appearance on the side line or in the stands at the Carrier Dome made me so happy and it always elevated my performance. Today, I am busy as a professor with teaching, publishing, committee work, and serving on boards, but I always make it my business to be there when my children are performing on and off the field. Men put your children ahead of your careers and or jobs and go watch your children perform. Take it from me; it will make a big difference in the life of your children.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Meddling Parents and Athletics Part 3

Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Freshmen Team Coach (left) Jeremy Sieverts (University of Maryland Lacrosse alum) being interviewed with Dylan Maltz (right) after the FCA team won the 2010 Dick's National Tournament in Tampa this month. Dylan, son of my SU teammate Derek Maltz, won the tournament MVP award.

Allot of my former teammates, guys I played against, and guys I coached in high school and college are now at the top of the high school and college coaching ranks across the country. Some tell me that the biggest head-ache they have are problematic parents—that come in all forms. Many of these parents are people carrying around unresolved emotional traumas from their childhood. Others are unconsciously reliving their lives through their children. We all have seen this at one time or another and it’s not pretty. Out of the older generation of coaches who have recently retired, truth be told, they got out of the game earlier than planned in part to escape problematic parents, their constant phone calls and emails and denial when confronted about their child’s poor performance and or character on and off the field. “I can't figure out why parents who from our generation, a time that seemed to be without parent medaling seem to feel entitled to question everything the coaches, the professional, do. It's hard to except your child isn't as good as you may think or that they deserve playing time over others the coach, the professional, feels is best,” writes fellow Croton Native Chris Weber, who both still plays (don’t know how you do that man but more power to you and plenty of post game ice!) and coaches lacrosse, Chris I concur with you. Tomorrow I want to share my own parent coach experience back in the 1970s when I played in high school