I AM NO ARISTOTLE, BUT I AM BIG ON PHILOSOPHY
I am finally beginning to feel some of my strength of body returning and it encourages me greatly. I’m pretty sure the acupuncture helps. I feel energetic enough to chase down the kid at practice that I want to talk to before he runs past me again to the other side of the drill. Life is good. I feel like I can run around a little again and play catch and stuff. Now, I know the truth because it is what sets one free, and somewhere in here I am a very free spirit, and I know that when I ‘leap up’ to catch a high one that you could not slide a credit card under my ‘toes’. It’s all-good, though, when every day is better than the one before. I’ll just keep plugging away at that .
HOLD THAT TIGER
I was asked to coach lacrosse right out of college, but that was not my plan really. I just thought I was a ‘player’, and in more ways than one by the way. It was still the seventies after all, and I also thought I would be on the national team or whatever in 1978, even if I was a Colorado lacrosse product. Boy’s gotta have a dream, right?
I started my coaching path with my best friend, Jim Soran and Doc Stabler at Colorado College. Doc was the all timer of Godfathers. He could never get enough of his boys and lacrosse in general. Doc was already pretty old when I showed up, but I am here to tell you that no one ever loved the heritage and the game the way that Doc did. He was a father figure to me, an inspiration with his life skills as well as his list of accomplishments. So, then it was to be. I became Coach/carpenter and off we went.
MARYLAND LACROSSE HAD ME AT THE DOOR
The day I totally fell in love with coaching in a ‘total’ sort of way was later, though, and maybe the ‘moment’ came serendipitously from years of doing the Vail lacrosse tournament. I got personal inspiration of the holiest magnitude in Vail as I was merely a ‘spectator’ in an early 80’s edition of the Shootout. Ever since then I have mostly not only tried to create my own new lacrosse playing movie each year (or is it every day?), but I also want to help ‘them’ create their own little lacrosse scenes as individuals. You see, if every player has a powerful script working in his head, then how can there not be a happy team ending every time?
I have since fallen in coaching love head over heels over again, first in Malibu, and then later in Fort Collins, and probably a few other places in between..
DID YOU SAY EXCALIBUR OR EXCALIBER?
So anyway, there we were, in Vail, the sacred Earl Bill Nirvana, and there I was, watching my version of lacrosse Nirvana. MY lacrosse feature film that I saw in my brain (and probably sensationalized a little) opened to rave reviews (?). All this was, maybe 30 years ago in the Rocky Mountains during one hot, young summer. What I witnessed was a team from mostly Maryland and they were the leads for my ‘Team Perfect’ movie, but really in my head they were just players with a variety of great things they brought to the game, and wasn’t it cool how nicely they all packaged up as a team. They made everything seem different, and somehow better than anything lacrosse I had ever seen, and……
DO THEY STILL MAKE MICHELOB?
This Maryland “Panner” team had a long list of the greatest players (American) of all time that no one whoever reads this has probably even heard of, but one of them, the ‘lowly’ fogo hisself, has been and still is the face of lacrosse as the Director of USLacrosse since the eighties, Steve Stenersen. That team (‘83?) was deep with the likes of Dave Cottle and other University of MD. stars. But it wasn’t just the talent and role (as well as roll) definition by that team that ‘Blew my mind’ (to use a phrase from the day). I wanted the game I coached to look like that. That team had speed at midfield and mad skill, but they were also so incredibly fundamental in their approach to each moment that the game they played really was the ‘Creator’s Game’ (to me) because it was absolutely exciting and beautiful to watch. This was how the game should be approached and played, thought I. It looked all the better as these guys who looked like stock brokers played the fastest game I had seen, and they monotonously beat the Long Island guys and all their muscled, well-tanned bodies in the final more or less every year for a while. The games were always close. It was a Golden Age of Vail.
KISS (my ass)
I know the skin-tight shorts of then would not look too cool in any new lax movies here deep into the 21st century, but that’s easy enough to edit around, and so are all the modern tactics. The more you can simplify, the higher the level of play looks, and I think it holds true all the way down to 12 year-olds (got one) playing Chumash, and all the way up to the D.U. guys in the Big Division I lacrosse mix. It’s all about the altitude, I mean attitude………..
I keep it simple as a coach because I already know I’m stupid. Life is a box of chocolates, and Forest Gump is a bit of a hero figure for me. Keep it simple.