Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why Lacrosse Has Not Taken off in Black and Latino Communities

Courtesy of the Hamption Lacrosse Facebook Page 

by José Olivero

In the article on Hampton University fielding a Division 1 (Div 1) program next year (see the link below), there are a lot of key points and bits of information buried within.  I agree on all the contributing factors stagnating the growth of minorities in lacrosse, especially the cost.  But, I would add another important reason why lacrosse has not taken off in the Black and Latino communities; there is no viable professional league.  Where's the magnet?  A viable professional league is one where a player can make an excellent living and live the life of luxury.  Comparable to lacrosse, basketball, football, baseball provide that for professional athletes. For most, lacrosse is played as a hobby and for love of the game than as a profession.  Professional sports have always been looked as the ticket out of poverty and instant socio-economic improvement. As a sport we're not there yet.  Will we make it, I hope so Regardless, it is good to see Hampton joining the Div 1 ranks and I wish them luck. 

José Olivero
Former All American Goalie, West Point

Will Hampton University Improve Lacrosse’s Diversity Problem?: http://inlacrossewetrust.com/will-hampton-university-improve-lacrosses-diversity-problem/

Fred Opie on José Olivero’s: [Watch Now 3 min 29 sec] http://lacrossememoir.blogspot.com/2012/06/versatility-is-essential-in-athletic.html

Monday, June 22, 2015

My Summer with Steve

The Lacrosse Field at Lakeland Middle School 
The summer before I entered 9th or 10th grade Steve Mabus’ family moved on my street.  At the time Steve played college lacrosse at Kutz Town State in Pennsylvania. I don’t remember how it started, but before I knew it, Steve and I started playing catch, shooting on goal, and playing one on one in his yard. Steve played in a college summer league at the Lakeland middle school field and started taking me along his game. I remember watching Scott Finlay (Yorktown, West Point), Scott Nelson (Yorktown, North Carolina State) and Bill Simunek (Walter Panas, St. Lawrence), Greg Rivers (Yorktown, Delaware) and Clay Johnson (Croton, Maryland) play. These guys were terrific athletes, with great sticks, and lacrosse intellect. Watching them provided a visual image of how the game should be played. Graduate school advisors once told me that I should apply to the best possible Ph.D. programs. She explained, “You will rise to the occasion in an atmosphere of very bright people and become a much more polished scholar.” The same is true with the summer lacrosse you watch and the leagues you play in.

Friday, June 19, 2015

It All Started with a Summer Rec Program

That me “the brown person” as my daughter would say 
My lacrosse playing days started in the summer in the mid-1970s.  Our physical education teacher, Don Daubney, a Springfield College grad, taught a lacrosse (soft stick and soft ball) unit every spring to his eighth grade classes. He followed that up with a summer rec program that lasted about three or four weeks. We learned the basics and once we had them down, the summer program culminated with a game against the Lakeland/Walter Panas rec program. Like my first Division one game at Syracuse against the North Carolina Tar Heels, I was both scared and thrilled at the same time. We faced off on Lakeland middle school field across from the old Westchester Mall on route 6. That summer league space would continue to have an important impact on my lacrosse career and that of many others. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Freeport Summer League

The U.S. National Team Helmet, The Ultimate Status Symbol In Men's Lacrosse  (Courtesy of Lacrosse Magazine) 
In todays segment in our series on summer leagues we go to Freeport, Long Island. I remember the first time I played in the old Freeport Summer League back in 1982. The site of an ACC team or National team helmet put the fear of God in the mind of an opposing teams without such lofty head gear. Coming from Westchester and Herkimer seeing National Team player Vinnie Sombrotto in his helmet on the team we had to play in my first Freeport game both thrilled and terrified me. Manhasset’s Ray Crawford grew up with alum from his high school who played at elite college programs, “it didn’t intimidate me at all. For me it was like another game against kids from rival lacrosse schools like Port Washington or Garden City [high schools].” Vinnie Sombrotto and I later became teammates on championship teams on Long Island Hofstra Lacrosse Club 1987-89, the New York Saints of the Major Indoor Lacrosse League, and the 1990 U. S. National Team. After games I often went with the Manhasset boys to their town for some outrageously good sandwiches and muffins at the famed Manhasset Deli. I can still taste and smell one of their hot corn muffins wrapped in that white deli paper. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

That Lacrosse Field Was Illegal

Ric Beardsley #47 recalls "That field"  where here played summer league in the Hudson Valley. As you will see below, 
Here another story in our summer league series written by Syracuse All American Defensemen Ric Beardsley.

That field was narrow and I think illegal to be honest because it was so narrow. The field served as a drainage field for the school grounds behind it and as a result it had manhole covers on it. I used to try and run opposing attackmen on to those man hole covers in order to try and make then fall. I am sure that field could tell so many stories if it could talk because of all the great players that played on it. It was a horrible field but it was like home for me for all those years. I remember playing an alumni game on that field and guarding Jim Egan the year he started @ SU and I de-sticked him like 5 times and I was only a high school sophomore. . . he was so pissed! But at the end of the game he was determined to have me play for SU and look what happened. Fans would back their cars up to the field in the parking lot that overlooked the field and sit on their tailgates to watch games. In high school I can remember my father sitting and yelling encouraging things to me during my games . . . That field is also the field where I learned to play the game @ all the levels that got me to SU and made me the player I became. Summer league then was full of sick players. College guys would bring their teammates from all of the top programs as ringers so they had a shot @ winning the summer league championship. That field will never ever be forgotten by me. The worst field I ever played on but the best field to have played on.

Summer League Lacrosse Stories http://lacrossememoir.blogspot.com/search?q=summer+league

Story Submissions: We welcome story ideas and contributions. 

For more on Rick Beardsley: http://rhinolacrosse.com/main-menu/staff/ric-beardsley/