September 27, 2017… My first day of lacrosse.
Yes, you read the year correctly. I was 25 years old. My friends grew up playing lacrosse, but lacrosse was during track season, and my parents were not having it. After high school I went to the military for 6 years. When I got out I had the choice to stay with track which I had been my life, or play “the fastest sport on two feet”. I wanted to put that theory to the test…
September 27, the team president gave me his stick, a ball, and directed me to go play wall ball… first lesson I learned in lacrosse? Never take one ball to play wall ball. Needless to say the first round of wall ball was short.. I don’t think I caught the ball once that whole day. Less than 6 months later, I was starting on the wing, for The University of Miami. Short stick defensive middie. only player on the team that finished the season without spending 1 second in the penalty box. No, it's not because I rode the bench.
There were 2 moments when I knew that: “lax is life”.
1: I was having an awful day.. went out side, threw the ball as hard as I could at the wall, kept stick extended in place, and ball came right back as if I was playing paddle ball. The sound the ball made when it smacked the back of my net had me hooked. The harder you throw the ball, the faster it comes back to you. There is no greater stress relief in sports than wall ball in lacrosse.
2: I was having problems with the GI bill paying for my school, someone broke my laptop and didn’t tell me, someone stole my phone and my wallet, someone rear ended my car making it non-drivable, and the army was not paying me for housing… hell was burning around me.. what did i I do? just played wall ball longer. 4 hours a day sometimes.. nothing better to do…. then i lost my stick, and the world stopped spinning. I had a panic attack. iPhone X: stolen, didn’t care. car: wrecked, didn’t care. Paychecks: weren’t coming, didn’t care. Laptop: broken, didn’t care. I could not even go have a beer with my friends because my ID was stolen, didn’t care…However, life without a stick, and no means to replace, it terrified me.
That was just 5 months after the day I started.
Today makes 10 months, not even a year, and I am in the process of relocating to Latin America in December to grow the game… lacrosse saved my life, set me free… through me, I am going to allow it to do the same for others.
(Good thing this wasn’t “first goal”, or I wouldn’t have been able to contribute.)