2008 U19 World Games Summary; 2010 Preview

July 21, 2008

So how do you continue to build a top lacrosse program in a country that thinks it’s just a bunch of crazy guys chasing eachother with sticks?  Go the the ILF U19 World Championships and kick ass!  There’s a solid core of players now ready to bring the mens team to the 2010 world games with a new sense of pride and passion.  Also, make friends with other nations, and prove that you can play at this level with a depleted roster and three coaches that have almost no idea what they are doing on the international stage. Then make your team get up at 6am, after they’d been drinking until 3am, on the day after all your games are over and make them run sprints for thinking they can get away with anything.  That will surely make you a topic of conversation the next day at the skills competition. 

Now for a summary:

Wow.  Two thirds of Bermuda’s summer lacrosse events are over, and man am I exhausted.  The U19 worlds finished on a great note and I think Bermuda has impressed the world. Again.  US Lacrosse magazine named us best dressed.  http://laxmagazine.cstv.com/sports/outloud/spec-rel/070208aaa.html  Two world game entrants, two best dressed trophies.  To those that thought we’d look ridiculous in the red shorts and blazers off the island, you were right. But what a spectacle for everyone to see, and a nice conversation starter.  It will be a must going forward.

The organizers even played some Collie Buddz during the US/Canada championship game in respect of Bermuda.  Between the wonderful black rum, red shorts, pink beaches, and great music the international lacrosse community is falling in love with Bermuda Lacrosse.

As far as the tournament goes, what a great job the organizers did and what a beautiful location to play lacrosse.  It couldn’t have been organized better, except for maybe putting in an off day between the round robin and play in games.  The accommodations, meals, and transportation, however, left a lot to be desired.  How anyone can think that world championship athletes can survive on pancakes, syrup, and kool Ade is beyond me.  And about that shuttle service running every 20 minutes (which Australia confirmed is what they were promised as well…), well, I thought Bermuda was on island time but man were they slow.  Some of our guys were waiting at the field for 3 hours without a shuttle showing up to bring them home. Horrible organization on that end. 

Our games went very well.  We started out 2-0, and finished tied for second place in our division.  Due to the tie breaker rules we received the 4th seed for the play-in games despite beating the team that finished with the 3rd seed in round robin play.  So we got another quality win against Finland before playing Wales to determine 9th/10th place overall.  Having a short roster of only 18 to begin with, we went down to 15 for the final game due to injuries and other lacrosse commitments for our players.  We lost that final game 8-3. 

Overall an incredible victory for our organization as we finished dead last without a win in 2006.  The friendships made on the trip will last and help us grow in the future.  The players became pretty good friends with the US team, but Wales were truly top notch competitors.  Sharing a dorm with them was a fun experience and we’re looking forward to spending some time with them in 2010.  Everyone at the tournament, from the Wales coaches to the first aid trainers at the field, had a great time together.

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2008 U19 World Games

June 25, 2008

Continuing to build our program, we have entered a team of Bermudian students in the 2008 ILF World Championships to be held in Coquitlam, BC, Canada from July 3-12.  I will make a good effort to update this blog daily with news and happenings from Vancouver.  I’ve got a lot to do up there, but I’ll at least update on game days with final scores and game summaries.

The game schedule is: (Pacific Standard Time; 4 hours behind Bermuda)

July 3 12:45pm vs. Finland
July 4 9:30am vs. Wales
July 5 10:45am vs. Germany
July 6 11:15am vs. Scotland
July 7 10:45am vs. South Korea
July 8-10 These will be the play-in/placing games. We won’t know our schedule for these until all our games have been played and we are seeded against the competition.
July 11 off day
July 12 Championship Game

Most countries build from the ground up: a youth program, high school teams, then a men’s league.  In Bermuda, a different world, we do things the way we want and that’s that. We started with the men, got a few U19’s interested, next we’ll build the youth. 

My next post will describe my plans for learning how to build a national ATHLETE. What will it take to mold a former NCAA athlete back into top form to compete at the men’s international lacrosse world championships? We’ll find out over the next two years…


Building a Destination: Bermuda Lacrosse

June 20, 2008

Earlier we discussed how we can build a brand here in Bermuda.  I mentioned the chance to position ourselves as the premiere destination for lacrosse.  Everyone wants to go on vacation, and everyone should want to play or watch lacrosse, so why not combine both in Bermuda!

A major step took place toward that goal this weekend in the form of the innaugural King of the Rock lacrosse tournament.  Inside Lacrosse was here to cover it, and I really couldn’t do it any better justice, so if you want to catch up on the action follow this link:  http://blogs.insidelacrosse.com/category/bermuda-blog/

So continuing with our theme of how to build a national program, what are some of the projects one should take on in order to accomplish this goal? First, write a letter to John Jiloty inviting him to send a couple reporters down to your country for the weekend to cover the local lacrosse scene.  Tell him not to worry about blowing his travel budget, our department of tourism has got em covered.

Check.

Next, find some competition to come check you out and give you a real game in case you don’t have enough teams for your own league yet. (we don’t). Make sure they include division I NCAA lacrosse players, many of whom have championship rings from years gone by. Throw in a few professional players and then pit them against your Sr. men’s team, most of whom never played above division III and the closest they got to being a professional has more to do with those new NCAA athletics/academics commercials than earning a living on the field.

Check.

Turn the theme of the weekend away from them coming to beat you up on the field to you beating up their bodies in the local bar scene.  It also wouldn’t hurt to ask them to give some mini-clinics on the field during their game against the U19’s who are going to the world championships next month.  Every little bit helps.

Check.

Bring them out on the town both nights they are there, give em a party they’ll never forget with plenty of Dark n Stormy’s, introduce them to some girls, including a random run-in with one of their former babysitters who happens to be in town visiting a friend who lives here. Small world eh? Then make sure one of them goes home with that babysitter and has her drop him off the next day at the field in his clothes from the night before.

Check.

That is a surefire way to make sure they return home singing your praises.  Now the entire lacrosse world knows you exist, and to top it off they realize that the best parties happen in Bermuda while you pretend to be here to play lacrosse…

Next year: Double your efforts.