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Beside improving my language abilities, it was one of my main goals to also improve my abilities as a lacrosse player during my stay in Canada. I was spending my school semester on Vancouver Island, at the Pacific Coast - one of the most beautiful parts of Canada.  Driving about 45 minutes northwards from the Comox Valley to Campbell River, I played goalie for the U19 Campbell River Ravens.

After school, two practices per weeks, from September to December, included a hand full of new adjustments. Not only it was a far more relaxed training session, but on the other hand it was the higher Lacrosse level I had to play in. In addition to the practices, there were almost every weekend at least one game against other teams from the region.  The one disadvantage of Canada is the far distance between all your places you want to go, so that you are forced to drive a long way to your games and practices. Unfortunately, more people on Vancouver Island preferred Box Lacrosse before Field, which hugely influenced the game-play of these lacrosse games, and in the way the players attacked the goal.

All in all, I would recommend everybody, who really likes Lacrosse and has the possibility to be an international student, to go and play Lacrosse in a different country, maybe on a different continent.

Philipp Maas

Duesseldorf Antlers
Campbell River Ravens

This is the first of what we in Brussels hope will be a series of blog entries about lacrosse and youth lacrosse in Europe from the perspective of the coaches and players of the only lacrosse team in Belgium and what we think is the only high school team on continental Europe (the island nations of Great Britain and Ireland excepted).  It is kind of ironic for North Americans like Greg and I to have to move to old Europe in order to enjoy a pioneering experience, but that’s precisely what we are doing, at least in lacrosse terms.  We’ll blog later about the roots of Lacrosse at the International School of Brussels, from where we are writing.

We’ve conducted a little research about the roots of the game in Europe, which is probably the best place to begin our own story. It is said that story of lacrosse in Europe begins in 1867 after Queen Victoria watched 27 Canadians including 13 Iroquois, led by a certain W.G. Beers, play a match on the grounds of Windsor castle.  The queen’s diary entry that day noted that “The game was very pretty to watch.”  Her aristocratic entourage apparently got the hint, and within months lacrosse was being played by the daughters of the great and the good at England’s most posh boarding schools. The men’s game also took off, and when Beers returned with another Canadian team in 1883, he discovered that some sixty clubs had been formed in Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Lancashire Middlesex and Yorkshire.  It was the first lacrosse boomlet in Europe, but one that stopped at the frigid waters of the English Channel.

There are two points to remember here.  1) In lacrosse terms, the green pastures of Buckingham Palace may well be as hallowed as the artificial turf at Hopkins’ Homewood Field and, 2) Lacrosse in Europe is most deeply rooted in England.  Not surprisingly, the best lacrosse in Europe is still played there even as the game begins to take root in Germany, the Czech Republic, Finland, the Netherlands and elsewhere. England, of course, is the only European nation competing at the highest levels of world lacrosse. The rest of Europe is playing catch up.

But things are moving quickly here.  Just the other day, we noticed that NLL lacrosse is now shown on European cable television. Nothing will raise interest like that. Both Greg and I play ice hockey here in Brussels with a bunch of Finns, Swedes, Russians and Czechs.  We can tell you that lacrosse quickly catches the eye of hockey players and there are a lot of hockey players in northern and Central Europe! The Czechs are picking up box lacrosse very quickly and developing stick skills that are surprising advanced although stylistically more similar those practiced by kids from Ontario than those from Baltimore. You can tell that a game is growing and taking root when national styles of play begin to become evident.

It’s the end of January in sun starved Belgium. The weather has been uncharacteristically cold and obviously we are now in the interstices between Fall Ball and the spring season. Practice begins only in March and our hope is that our 45 or so kids are occasionally taking their sticks out to work on their left hands. My suspicion is that if they are taking out their sticks they are shooting around on their strong hands which will make our challenge all the greater come March.

We will cross that bridge when we come to it.

Paul Cook is the Assistant Lacrosse Coach at the International School of Brussels in Belgium. During the day he is the Director of the Economics and Security Committee at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. He began his lacrosse career as a midfielder playing for the legendary coach, Heb Evans, at what was then known as Governor Dummer Academy but which has since become the Governor’s Academy. He went to play attack for the B Lacrosse Team at Johns Hopkins and was one of its captains in 1982. He played some club ball in Washington afterwards,  coached ice hockey in the Italian Alps for two years, and  returned to the game of lacrosse two years ago when, to his amazement, he discovered that it was being played at the International School of Brussels where his son had just enrolled.

Greg Murawsky is a Science teacher at the International School of Brussels.  Seven years ago, three students had discovered that he was a former “Box Lacrosse” player from Ottawa, Canada and enlisted him to be the coach for the new “club” at the school.  Seven years later, the lax club has grown into a a legitimate team and Brussels has been working to create youth lacrosse opportunities for its students and anyone who’ll play us all over Europe and in the UK.

Snow snow and more snow, the South of England was really bad this week, the whole country stops for a quarter inch of snow, so 4 inches really put the brakes on absolutely everything.
 
But we still go on looking for new players, the men’s and women’s  youth teams in Trowbridge, Wiltshire looked to have recruited a couple of likely candidates, sadly the games were all called off over the weekend and we didn’t get to see their skills.

Nice gloves though..

Streborkin

Beginning with the second round the actual chance in the playing-system of the Bundesliga Süd becomes effective. The final tableau of the first round, where every team faced any other team once, was divided into two separate groups: The first four teams into a group and the second four teams in another group. Now each team plays every other team in their group twice and the first two teams of the upper tableau are qualified for the Play-Offs.

There are a number of reasons for this system:  First of all, every team plays at least once against every other team in the league. But on the other hand every team has more games against teams of their strength and we hope this will increase and improve fun and skill for every team.

Max Maier

The problem with blogs, is where to start.  I’m sure once I get into the flow of things stuff will come easy!

Should I concentrate on what I do for work or what I do for my club; my hobby and work seem to merge spectacularly, one of the dangers of working for the sport you love I suppose.

Development, what’s that?  Answers on a post card J I seem to spend a lot of time on the M4 or M3 (main routes to London), maybe I could become a traffic correspondent – “The M4 near Reading has stopped moving today because some dolt has decided to park his car facing the wrong way in the fast lane”  

Or maybe one of those blokes who goes and eats at the service stations in order to write a food guide or something – “The £5.99 bacon bap came across as a combination of cardboard and that stuff 13th century sailors used to eat when they were starving;  great value really, about £1 a tooth”

No doubt both will feature highly.

The week started okay, I drove the mini bus to Wandsworth South London with the second team to get a spanking in the Flags (knock out competition), outclassed and outpaced in most departments.  The problem was that we scored first and just got them mad.  The kids did well though, Bath seconds are a real mixture of old farts (Me ), students (hangover), and teenagers (acne).  The after match food was good as well.  Chicken in rice and a chilli sauce that completely anesthetised your lips.  The highlight of the drive back was some numpty overtaking us on a country lane, then getting out of his car to swear at us for being in the way.  Maybe he didn’t see 15 lunatic lacrosse players in the bus, otherwise he might have thought better of it.

County Sport meetings in the week Bristol and London are always a blast.  I see another guide book opportunity in that as well; “Curly sandwiches and things on sticks”.  A big talking point across the region is Sports Unlimited.  Lots of coaching available between 3:15 and 5, but no facilities or enough coaches, and how do you “aim” something at a Semi Sporty kid?  What is a “Semi Sporty” kid?

Club training went well, the girls nattered, the boys moaned, there must be some joy in dealing with little kids and teenagers.  One thing they all have in common, is they can’t put their pads and helmets on.  I now have thumbs like Garth after popping god knows how many chin straps on helmets.  Got some new kids along though.  It was great to see the 8 year olds running around with all the kit on.  It always reminds me of Marvin the Martian.

Next week sees the build up to my son’s 18th Birthday.  I will I finally get a pint out of him legally?  And my daughter comes back from skiing (all in one piece I hope), family reunited…ahhhhh.  More like the end of peace and quiet, ho hum

Streborkin

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