I am intrigued by the girls lacrosse game, but without having a daughter playing lacrosse I haven’t been around the game enough to understand the rules.
Like field hockey, the game is exciting to watch but too many whistles and fouls that I don’t understand make it tough at times. When I get an opportunity to catch a game, I love to watch our high school girls play. I appreciate the athleticism of the girls and their ability to catch the same lacrosse ball as boys with what is practically a tennis racket with an acorn-sized pocket.
The game at times can be just as fast as the boys game and the concept is the same — score more goals than your opponent.
I remember watching Maryland play in the national championship a few years ago, and in the middle of the game the whistle blows and all of the girls drop their sticks where they are and run to a timeout on the bench before resuming their spot on the field where their sticks awaited their return.
Bewildered, I immediately went on to Facebook messenger to hit up the one person I knew that could help me understand the chaos in my brain, former Westminster and current Oakdale girls coach Beth Nave. After a quick lesson in women’s lacrosse 101, from positioning on the field to strategies, rules, and even an understanding of leaving the sticks behind on the field typed feverishly on messenger before the second half resumed, and I have even a better appreciation of the game.
I remember after my first year of coaching high school girls soccer our girls lacrosse team earned its way to a state championship berth against perennial powerhouse Severna Park. Just like this past week at Stevenson, our entire school community poured in to the UMBC Stadium to cheer on our Owls in their pursuit of that elusive lacrosse championship for our school.
I was sitting on the hill overlooking the game with one of my sophomore varsity players talking about what it would take for our team to reach this point of the season. We were sure that we would one day be on the field with our own shot at this game, playing to be the best in the state of Maryland.
Eight years later, and with some really good girls and boys teams, and we haven’t been able to get past that elusive regional title.
It is hard to really appreciate what it takes to make it to “The Dance” in any sport at any level. I’ve been fortunate to be either the head coach or assistant coach on teams that have won the state title in futsal and have been to the state semi-finals in outdoor soccer with the Westminster Wolves.
It takes a lot of hard work, sweat equity, dedication, commitment and focus on the part of the players and coaches; parents who get their kids to and from games and practices and spend countless hours helping them through the process both on and off the field; athletic directors who schedule games, order buses, manage the fields, control the fans, and mentor the coaches; administrators, and teachers who provide support to the athletes and teams along the way; youth coaches and programs that lay the foundation for developing their skills and teaching them a love for the sport; and a little lady luck to have everything fall in to place for them to get this far.
I was lucky enough to be at the first lacrosse title for our boys program in 2013 at UMBC with its victory over South River and again on Thursday night at Stevenson University when our boys and girls won back-to-back state titles. I made it to the state softball title a couple years ago to watch some of my advisees bring home the trophy.
It amazes me at the level of success that our county’s athletes have enjoyed over the years, but especially in the last eight years that I’ve been involved in public education. Century and Winters Mill girls lacrosse titles. North Carroll boys soccer titles. Westminster’s baseball and field hockey teams brought home the hardware. Track and field and cross country athletes across the county year in and year out compete in the state titles and a few athletes end as champions.
My club soccer team is playing in a tournament this weekend. Even on this team of only 17 boys, we were without a track athlete Friday night as he represented Westminster in the 4x800, and on Saturday a Manchester Valley player ran in the 4x400 in the state track meet and a Century player hit the diamond in pursuit of a baseball state title for the Knights.
The great Mia Hamm once said, “The person that said winning isn’t everything, never won anything.”
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It seems like in Carroll County, winning has become a part of our sports fabric.