Since I live and work in Des Moines, my primary focus is on developing lacrosse in the city and is suburbs. My organization is the Central Iowa Lacrosse Association to reflect this commitment. But as we continue to grow here, I cannot help but feel responsible for the growth (or lack thereof) in other parts of the state.
When I joined Lacrosse All Stars, it wasn’t just to get good deals on lacrosse equipment. Nor was it to get the inside track on sweet swag via The Lacrosse Shop. Sure those are sweet perks, but my real motivation was to expand my mission from developing lacrosse in Des Moines to expanding lacrosse around the state, hence naming this blog “Lacrosse Iowa.”
I am happy to report that this decision is starting to pay dividends. Sort of. Last weekend I was contacted by parties in the Waterloo and Cedar Rapids metros. These are two good sized metros about two hours northeast and and hour and due east of Des Moines, respectively. The former currently suffers from a lack of organized lacrosse while the latter has two MCLA teams in the greater metro area: the University of Iowa and Cornell College.
After I received these emails, I realized that the Central Iowa Lacrosse Association website lacked information about anything outside of Des Moines. The old website included contact information for individuals in other Iowa cities. Links to nearby MCLA teams were also included. Unfortunately I simply had not gotten around to adding that information to the new site.
That has now changed. An Around the State page has now been added, complete with its own contact box. A direct link will take Dubuque area residents straight to their lacrosse program’s website. The College section includes direct links to all of the known NCAA, MCLA, and club lacrosse programs around Iowa. Most recently, I have added an official contact for the Quad Cities.
If you have read this blog at all in the past month, then you are well aware that the Central Iowa Lacrosse Association’s 2012 Youth Lacrosse Program is currently underway. A dozen girls and over 80 boys are participating this summer from across the metro and beyond. Registration remains open for the girls and we just opened a handful of additional slots for boys. This is a huge step up from last summer’s 40 boys and zero girls.
Sure the games are six on six instead of traditional full field lacrosse, but that was done to give each player more touches and less standing around. It also helps the boys learn how to play both sides of the field and to transition between them. The absence of long poles requires to learn positioning and footwork instead of falling back on the stick (it also helps ease the transition game). As the boys move onto high school some will transition to poles. It is an experiment, but it is also an exercise is using the tools we already have.
The hope is that the majority of the summer league participants will continue laxing. Last year roughly 70 percent of the then-eighth graders joined the Valley team their freshman year. If that number holds true consistently, then the city will need additional high school teams sooner rather than later…
One unfortunate side affect of our new youth program was the elimination of the adult Summer Lacrosse League. Granted, there were other factors that influenced our decision to put that league on hiatus. When our plan to hold bi-weekly pickup games went over less than favorably, we opted to keep our attention on the youth program.
Members of the Iowa State team opted to bring their goals to Des Moines in the hopes of starting a new adult league. They are now hosting weekly games — pickup games. Although I have not participated due to time issues, from what I gather things are going well and the turnout has been decent.
Elsewhere in the city, efforts are underway to start a new lacrosse program for underprivileged youth. The group leading the charge have experience bringing sports to areas like this. More importantly, they have lacrosse experience. While I am not directly involved in the effort, I am committed to helping them however I can.
Other developments are current in the pipeline for lacrosse in Des Moines. We should have our fourth season of box lacrosse this winter and Valley will be back next spring. Next summer we hope to expand our youth lacrosse program once again with extra attention towards beefing up the girls side. Stay tuned over the next few days for development news in other parts of the state.