I enjoy talking culture, turn around, accountability, making practice fun, and connecting with players-coaches-and parents. But there’s something I don’t like talking about, even though I must every chance I get.
Its hard to talk about the players that aren’t here anymore to love this game. The parents who don’t worry about culture, stats, refs, or points becuase all they want is one more game to watch, one more post game hug, one more cheer-up ice cream cone.
We cant stop tragedy, so many are just plain unfair and unavoidable. The lacrosse community is strong and committed in our unwritten code of taking care of our own when these tragedies strike. But some of these players gone too soon might still be around if we could rally before the tragedy strikes.
Im asking our lacrosse players to commit this season to looking for signs, stepping up when there’s risks, speaking out when they are concerned and pledging #nomore.
No more players buried, no more empty jerseys, heartbroken families. Say no to that party, speak up and tell your teammates no don’t go! Say no to that questionable driver, check your teammates for seatbelts, make sure they are rested before long drives, don’t text and drive or get distracted, stay away from alcohol, don’t ignore depression or changes in behavior, look out for eating disorders.
Its hard to be a teen and speak up, but after you’ve buried a friend, you realize speaking up is so much easier. I tell my teams every year, I’ve buried too many friends, too many players and teammates and hugged too many crying parents.
Im asking our teams to make connections and build trust so that no player feels alone, or too disconnected to ask for help. I’m asking coaches to build a system that is prepared to make reaching out for help not only easy but openly talked about.
Lets talk about our “laxbro” culture, drinking, how female players sometimes allow themselves to be treated or talked too and how our male players should be talking and respecting our female players. Let’s talk about signs of violent relationships, and how to get help.
Over the past few years I’ve met too many grieving parents, too many players wearing their teammates jersey number, too much heartache, lives ruined. If we can save even one player then we’ve done something huge.
This year, pledge with your team to look out for one another, to make decisions that are smart and strive to keep our lax family safe when we can, and somewhere you can turn before it’s too late.
This year let’s pledge, #nomore