Stick Skills and Dustpans Required


Ready for the start of a new season

Grab your sticks and helmets, spring is here!

Despite the winter-like temperatures (and residual snow on the ground in some places), spring sports have officially begun.  For us, that means juggling youth lacrosse, youth baseball and travel basketball.  Never a dull moment with the Tarr boys, or should I say never a slow moment.

The new season means a new family schedule to get used to.  While it’ll take some time, and a few loud, sometimes frantic reminders to the boys about time management and responsibility, we’re slowly finding our rhythm (and by we I mostly mean me, as I’m the one who manages who needs to be where and when).  As we run out the door each night for practice, I routinely rattle off the checklist of items each son needs for whichever practice he has.  For lacrosse, the roll call sounds like this … Stick?  Check.  Helmet?  Check.  Pads and gloves?  Check.  Cleats?  Check.  Mouth guard?  Check.  Cup?  Check.  Water bottle?  Check.  Dustpan and brush?  Check.

Wait, what?!?

To play on my older son’s U11 youth lacrosse team, those are the required pieces of equipment.  Scratching your head over the dustpan and brush?  I’ll let you in on a team secret … it’s not literally a dustpan and brush, but rather a metaphor for the attitude that the coaches require.  Although, that said, an actual dustpan and brush would be wise, too, given the clumps of mud and dirt my boys track in from the fields all season long or worse, all those little black rubber pellets that seem to be everywhere after they play on the high school turf field.  But I digress …

You see, the boys (at least my older son who plays on the A squad of a U11 youth team) are coming off a losing season.  Last spring was rough and the kids started getting down on themselves and each other.  To combat that this year, the coaches are addressing proper attitudes early on.  Here’s part of an email I received yesterday from my older son’s lacrosse coach:

  • “Yesterday … we talked about mistakes with our … players … It is OK to make a mistake on this team.  We want [the boys] to learn from [their] mistakes and not let [it] discourage [them] from working hard.  We will have a [team] ritual saying of “Brush it off, next play” when [someone makes] a mistake.  I will [also wear] a dust pan brush necklace at practices and games to reinforce this.  This ritual will help [the boys] wipe the mistakes out of their heads, refocus and be ready for the next play …” – Coach Wes
When I read this email, my first thought was where does one find a dustpan brush necklace?  My second thought was thank you, Coach Wes.  Thank you for reminding the boys that in addition to honing their stick skills, it’s important to play hard, brush off mistakes, learn from those mistakes and move on … good lacrosse precepts and even better life rules (and if you read my March 13 post, you know I love a good life lesson).

So this season, despite the fact that their oversized equipment bags are already stuffed with the necessary gear, every lax jersey and pinnie they ever wore over four seasons, a few extra balls and probably some stinky, wet socks and a few chewed up, old mouthguards, my boys will be sure to make room for their dustpans and brushes, too.  If their teammates do the same, I think it’ll be to be a very good season.

Sticks in, boys.  Team on 3 … 1, 2, 3, TEAM!


My favorite part of lacrosse


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