I never know when I write something if it will resonate with others or not. My last blog, "The College Lacrosse Recruiting System Is Broken," certainly struck a chord with a number of readers, though. I received many emails, Facebook comments and Tweets replying back to the subject at hand. I think this matter simply rang true for a lot of individuals and families within our game.
One thing that I find challenging about writing is the balance between grabbing the attention of my audience and then also getting my point across. I think in the case of this last piece, I certainly grabbed people's attention, especially with the headline. Many people agreed with that statement and relayed back to me that something must be done to fix it…and now!
However, that was not the true point of my article. Could the coaches or the tournament directors or the lacrosse company owners or even the NCAA make some changes to improve the whole experience? Sure. I would not hold my breath on that, but yes, that could happen and make a difference. But, let me make my point more clearly…
Really, each one of us is individually responsible for changing to improve our experience of summer lacrosse.
If you are a player, you can realize that summer teams, tournaments and camps are not just so you can win trophies and get recruited. They are an opportunity for you to grow as a player and as a person right now!
If you are a parent, you can know that it is totally okay if your son's team does not win the tournament or if they do not get recruited by a single college. You can rest assured that these experiences alone are tremendous opportunities for your son, as an athlete and as a young man, to play a sport that they love and learn something about themselves.
If you are a coach, you can see that these events are not just so you can build your reputation as a winning coach and someone who gets their players recruited. You can use them as opportunities to teach your players lessons that they can use throughout their life and be a good role model and leader.
If you are a tournament or camp director, you can understand that your events are there for a much greater good than just putting money in your bank account. You can make sure to do everything in your power to provide people with an educational and enjoyable event that everyone gets something out of, regardless of whether they take home a trophy or a college scout writes them a letter.
So, my point was…yeah, our system is broken…but it is up to all of us individually to take personal responsibility for why that is the case. This can apply to our lives in an infinite number of ways. I find it funny (and sad at the same time) when I see people on television blaming our politicians or bankers or bosses or celebrities for the quality of their own experience. Nobody else is in charge of the quality of your own life other than YOU, not even Obama or Romney!
We all agree…the "system" of summer lacrosse is flawed at best. But, instead of screaming, ranting, raving and protesting that which is unlikely to change, what if we all choose to change our approach, our expectations and our thoughts and feelings toward that system? From my experience this summer, it has worked well for me. I am feeling more fulfilled through my work by using lacrosse as a way to teach and learn life lessons and to have fun. After years of approaching it from the more ego-driven side, this way is a lot more enjoyable for me and I have learned a lot more about myself.
And for your experience to change, if need be? Well…that is up to you.