With lacrosse season opening up on fields across Baltimore, it’s worth taking a moment to consider the state of the game. As a local lacrosse parent with ties to lax families around the country, Teddy Brown is in a unique place to weigh in on what he terms the “machine” around the game.
A former lacrosse player with kids who play the sport at both the club level and at local private schools, Brown penned a piece entitled “What Are We Thinking? An Open Letter to the Lacrosse Community” that was published last week on the blog of U.S. Lacrosse. He encourages devotees to do some “serious soul searching.” His issues? Pushing kids too hard, college recruiting too early, crazed coaches and more.
In an e-mail exchange with Baltimore Fishbowl this week, Brown said his thoughts were not designed to target specific people within the Baltimore lacrosse community.
“To the contrary, my views were meant to be broad and reach national context as I have friends in various parts of the country that comment on the state of the game and I have observed teams/programs from all over the country over the years,” he wrote.
He told us that his views on reeling in the “lunacy” surrounding lacrosse can be summed up in a few principles:
Less Early, Less Often Brown advocates putting a stop to early recruiting. He added that, “This takes all the grown ups (coaches and parents) to be committed and no exceptions.” When it comes to games, he also encourages teams to stop playing such packed schedules.
Play Local Even with all the bonafides that come with playing on traveling teams, Brown advocates for playing more games locally. He believes that could be accompanied by a move toward more high school play. Think that would hurt pride? Just remember a thing called school spirit.
Get Money-Wise With the cost of entry constantly rising, Brown urges a move toward making the game more affordable. That way, everyone can play. He thinks lacrosse programs could also take a closer look at business models “so that we don’t take unacceptable risks with kids and adults well being.”
Get Positive Brown sees too much negativity in the game, whether it’s taking the outcome of games too seriously or mean-spirited thoughts toward opposing players. Don’t lose sight of what the game is designed for, he said. “Have fun. It has got to be fun.”
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