Kids Make Sure Those Helmets Fit – You’re Not All That Just Yet!

As promised earlier this week, I am going to rant again about something I’ve seen a little bit too much of lately, and throughout the last few seasons that has begun to bother me.

I guess I will start by saying that I have long praised pretty much every Pro lacrosse player I have met over the last number of years since starting LITG.  Guys like Gary Gait, Dan Dawson, Colin Doyle, Gavin Prout, Bob Watson, Shawn Williams, John Grant, Brodie Merrill, Matt Vinc, and as you can see I can go on and on and on (respectfully to so many others I have to stop or I could fill a few pages).  These are the guys that our kids look up to and idolize in the game of lacrosse.  And they are in most cases everything you could ask for in a lacrosse role model.  They are so good at their craft, but more importantly they make so good use of their position by spending time giving back to lacrosse and kids.  It just makes one who loves this game feel so good about our current state and knowing that our future is in very capable hands with what these guys do.

But I have to admit, over the past few seasons I’ve started to kind of take notice of some of our next generation of kids that are going to take the reins when this current group of stars are all done.  And in general, because I will not lump all young athletes in the same category, I do see a lot of good, but also a little bit of concern.

With all due respect to the programs, I am going to discuss Team Ontario and the Edge program.  Oh, and I did already speak with Stuart Brown (Edge Founder) and he knows of this post going up; he actually smiled at me when I told him what it was about.  In any case, both of these programs I do truly support as they promote the game, and take kids to a higher level of lacrosse than they will likely find elsewhere.  In most cases the kids get to play “the best” that there is to play, whether from another Province, or another Country.

But some of the arrogance that I have seen from some of the kids that represent these teams leaves me a little upset.  And maybe it is just me acting like an old fart (yes my kids and wife have said that to me more than once), but it used to be an honor to represent on one of  these high caliber teams.  Don’t get me wrong, I do know a fair number of kids that have played on both, and a good majority of them are very formidable young guys.  It is just that few that seem to think that they are all that and then some that stick out in my mind. Is it just me? 

Maybe it is just me, but I beleive that a big part of an athlete’s appeal for many people, is when that athlete is appreciative of what they have, appreciative of their support system, and most importantly humble in their god given abilities and accomplishments.  Needless to say, I’m so much more of a Dan Dawson (or any of the mentioned players above) fan, than I am a Rickey Henderson fan (for those who can remember “I am the greatest, I am the greatest”).  Rickey Henderson…yuck!

And I often wonder, is it the child or are they simply a product of the environment of being told how great they are? Or are they allowed themselves to tell everyone how great they are?  In either case, I understand we all have a little ego in us. But someone once told me, no matter how good you think you are, there is always someone better.  And instead of telling anyone that will listen, or acting like you know how good you are, spend the effort in trying to become that “someone” everyone else looks at as “the one that is better”. 

There is nothing wrong with showing the pride in being one of the selected elite players in any given Representative team format.  But also remember, not everyone might be as fortunate as you to have the opportunity to to even try out to play on one of these teams.  If everyone did, I hate to say it son, but you might be one that would not be there.

I will end by saying that this just might be kids acting like kids can.  And I hope it is just that, maybe a phase for many of them.  I really, really hope so, because I do not want a Rickey Henderson type in my lacrosse world!

As always folks, your comments or input is welcomed.

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5 Comments

  1. An interesting post. My son does play for EDGE on the Freshmen team. We have instilled in him from the start that this is a privlege and it is to be treated as such. It is for that reason that he does not wear his EDGE helmet or carry around his EDGE bag when he is not playing EDGE. His teammates know he plays for EDGE but when he is playing for his association, he wears what is appropriate for his Bantam team. It’s what we expect of him. There are lots of excellent players who do not play EDGE or Team O or Triple AAA Hockey because they don’t want to. Not because they can’t. It is important that they know this is the case. Just because you’re on the team, doesn’t mean there aren’t better players out there.

  2. Gary….good post however I am not sure why you have singled out Team O and EDGE? I personally have seen more attitude from some certain players that I link to traditional “A” centre clubs (I won’t name them because ya mighty not like it 🙂 ) than either of these rep teams.

    I know that EDGE talks to all the kids about how they represent the program while playing box and field so I know the players are getting a strong message from the program. I also haven’t witnessed the inflated ego or announcements of greatness. In fact during the Pboro tourney an EDGE player was loosing his cool and another EDGE player on the other team reminded him discreetly who he represents and that player promptly settled down. Signs of maturity and class.

    JMO

  3. Thanks for the comments folks.

    Liz, I am sure that many kids do not play on these teams because they do not want to but I also know some that cannot due to the financial obligation (this comment is more Team O focused). That was what I meant by my statement.

    Jay, I was not necessarily singling out Team O and Edge, it was just two examples of a higher level team. I completely understand your point and will not for a second suggest some “A” center players are not just as guilty of this conduct…..yes even players from my home town! 🙂

  4. Not unique to sports – kids or parents. Some are proud and boast or brag, others are proud and humble or silent. Others just use it as basis for conversation and don’t realize it is taken as boastful because that is not how they intended it to be. Point, is kids are proud of any accomplishment at any level – house league to elite sports, first kindergarten painting to first private art exhibit, from first piano piece played to first solo at Carnegie. Not all who speak of accomplishments are boasting, and for those who feel the need to boast in a ‘mean’ way, well life is a leveller – ask Bill Gates.

  5. From one old lacrosse bum to another, and from one that never played the level that you played I whole heartedly agree. My son does play rep lacrosse here in the Boro and earns his spot each year. Is he the best for his team? I don’t know. But he would never in a million years take it for granted. I would never allow him to lord it over any kid, nor would he. He knows the history of the game, and he knows why and how it should be played.

    Even when one gets to play the game at an advanced level, I don’t know that many current stars don’t know where the real game came from.
    Maybe that’s the key. Have they lost the true roots of the game?

    Chris


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