The Island is Stocked

April 24, 2009

saltusyouth-copy1Last year our friends from Inside Lacrosse Magazine came down to check out the first ever King of the Rock lacrosse tournament.  It was basically an exhibition even for our U19 squad to get some competition before heading off to the World Championships, and one of our men’s players had asked a friend from home to bring a team down.  They did, and it was a great time.

Prior to the weekend tournament the team was practicing at one of the local schools and the students were amazed to see what this sport was.  I won’t go into details as you can read Sean Burns article where he does it more justice than I could, here: http://www.insidelacrosse.com/page.cfm?pagerid=2&news=fdetail&storyid=191042&team=yes but basically we introduced the kids on the island to lacrosse that day.  (Search InsideLacrosse.tv for video from that day as well, just use “bermuda” as your search term).

So Sean had to get a story to justify the trip for the magazine, and he chose to focus on what he thought could be the future of lacrosse in Bermuda.  Well not even one year later I’m happy to report that while we have a large number of kids playing on the island, Saltus is our most successful program and counts 45 boys and girls as lacrosse players.  The school is amazed at how fast the sport has grown there, and they tell us we are the most successful club sport they have in terms of attendance. 

This success showed itself this past week when we had over 30 kids playing lacrosse for only the second time in many of their lives while the cricket team practiced next to us with 15 players; and cricket is the national sport!

We currently have over 75 kids playing in total in three different programs: Saltus, the Bermuda High School, and a weekend program.  Our weekend program was a bit of an improvisation on our part.  One local, very popular athlete, wanted her son to learn the game so she brought him down to one of the men’s practices.  He apparently enjoyed himself as next weekend he brought two of his friends.  They were all great athletes, and said some more of their friends were interested.  Then it got around to the local youth hockey league that kids were playing lacrosse, and before we knew what we were doing we had 20 kids coming out regularly.

We couldn’t have them play with the men’s program as they’d need more detailed instruction, so we began coaching after our own men’s practices.   We were borrowing equipment from any men’s player we could convince to stick around, and eventually we were able to get some good, inexpensive equipment from Harrow Sports.  Harrow have been great to us, and I reccommend everyone check out their growing line of lacrosse products. 

Along with some discounted helmets from Onyx and subscriptions to Inside Lacrosse Magazine, our youth program is developing nicely and Bermudians are learning about this game, ready to compete on the world stage and hopefully in the NCAA.   Along with our women’s program, we are reaching toward 150 lacrosse players in Bermuda!

Hopefully the momentum will continue, and please help us out by either by purchasing a tshirt, donating a small amount of money, or coming to our second annual men’s and women’s lacrosse tournament in September.  All the info you need can be found at http://www.bermudalacrosse.com/

You can also join our facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=5517693331


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.