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

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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…