A COURSE FOR ME IS SET
The New Year is upon us and I am excited as well as nervous about how the Alkimos “Pirates” Lacrosse Club will fare in our inaugural year. So far we have laid some groundwork in terms of setting up the club, we have a committee, our constitution is being finalized and we have, by all reports, enough men to field a Division 3 side in the Lacrosse WA competition. 2018 is going to be such a huge one for us, so what do we set our sights on next?
One really exciting new development for us is Quick Stix Lacrosse, an Auskick style system that the Australian Lacrosse Association has put together to make it easier to introduce a fast and fun lacrosse based game to school kids. We don’t have an existing modcrosse club so the introduction of this will be relatively easy for us as we won’t have to change formats or introduce the new game to kids that are already playing modcrosse.
Being WA’s most northern team, we also have an abundance of schools, both upcoming and existing, that we can talk to and involve in this new program. The Pirates have been extremely lucky in that Dennis Holman (aka Mr Modcrosse) has offered us his services and knowledge in helping to set up and run the Quick Stix program. Dennis has been running modcrosse clinics since before I started, and has been instrumental in so many player’s lives and lacrosse careers. I am privileged to work alongside Dennis as the Pirates school liason, while he still works closely with the Wanneroo Joondalup Lacrosse Club.
With us embarking on this journey it makes me think of events that brought me into playing Modcrosse, and kept me playing until I was in the senior Lacrosse grade. I was first introduced to the sport by Peter Mulcahy (currently an LWA referee who was recently selected as an Assessor to go to the World Championships) way back when I was in primary school. He not only taught us the skills but also the love of lacrosse, and is still introducing school aged kids to the sport.
Through Peter, I was invited to go and watch a senior men’s state lacrosse tournament held at Floreat oval in the 90’s. My mum took me along to watch a game and that was it, I was hooked. It was fast, it was brutal at times and was nothing like I had seen before. I was on Mum’s case to sign up at the next possible chance. Although she definitely had her hesitations (it wasn’t quite what she expected!) I signed up to my local club, and lacrosse has been in my blood since. Through Dennis and our local school programs, we used to fill up our home ground constantly, and we always had healthy competition running between all the local primary schools. As we moved up in grades, we played at a few different fields and on different surfaces, such as astro-turf, and got the chance to play against both state and international teams. There were lacrosse camps and exhibition comps, as well as all the times that we practised our stick skills again and again, a lot of these I owe thanks to my first coach, Rob Pierce, who taught me to love the basic aspect and skills of lacrosse. Through getting good at these skills, I just loved to play.
So many players have their own crazy, funny stories growing up with lax, the stories you can tell your mum, the even better stories you don’t tell your mum, the great mates who you may not have had the chance to meet if not for lacrosse. There were the games that went into overtime, the shots that hit top pocket, the hits that had the biggest crunch, the bruises that came up biggest. I’m sure everyone reading this have got their own stories that have shaped their lacrosse career and love of the sport.
23 years later, I am still involved with lacrosse, to the point of embarking on this crazy adventure with Simon Danby and the rest of the Pirate crew. I would love to provide the opportunity for the up and coming junior Pirates to experience what I did, and to be involved in such a fantastic sport, and create their own amazing memories. If I could help Alkimos Pirates introduce this sport to half as many kids as people like Dennis Holman and Pete Mulcahy, I would feel accomplished. I also feel the need to learn from the experience of people like Dennis and Pete because when they hang their hats up (or whistle in the case of Peter) we need people to fill their shoes effectively.
Now as my focus shifts towards these junior pirates, my role is going to include working with school clinics, being a positive role model and an ambassador for the Pirates, promoting the heck out of this sport, and being a constant presence within our local communities & at school events.
It’s going to be interesting taking on the this side of things, but it is what I absolutely believe will grow our club and our sport within WA, and maybe even encourage other teams all around the country to branch out, try new things and be inspired by.
(You can follow the rise of the Alkimos Pirates every month here on the Australian Lacrosse Network and for more information on the Quick Stix Program, visit http://www.quickstixlacrosse.com.au/ )