Lacrosse The Pond travelled to the American east coast recently and attended the 2014 Northeast Classic – Face off against Cancer for the 3rd year running.
This year LTP founder Sam Russell, and LTP mentor, Ravi K. Sitlani made the trip. The purpose, to attend and support the Face Off, spread the LTP word, attend meetings with high profile university lacrosse programs, and to form some good allies to help us promote LTP in the USA.
On a wet and windy Manchester morning the LTP roadshow began. We checked in for our Lufthansa flight, this was not a logistics error on LTPs part, but was the most suitable flight to give us maximum time in the USA. However, heading east before we went west was a little soul destroying to see on the inflight screen display.
We reached Boston and as we had imagined, we hit post work rush hour traffic. After eventually getting to our hotel, and base for the next few days, jet lag and time zones kicked in but ended up working in our favour – coffee to go and straight on the road with the trusty Sam Russell navigation system. First stop, Rhode Island and our first LTP presentation of the day thanks to our good friends and Coaches, John Galloway and Jak Vav at Providence University. Providence has a beautiful campus, approximately 4,000 students and a great Div 1 lacrosse program. We presented to half the lacrosse team after their morning lifting session, they were a very receptive group and were already aware of the many benefits of international lacrosse through their own ex player and coach Jak Vav. It was also great to share some information about our referral program to encourage athletes to start spreading the word on the lacrosse student grapevine. After the presentation, we were given a quick tour of their new facilities. They have recently linked up with their ice hockey team, who are ranked fourth in the country and have amazing facilities that would inspire any student athlete to work their tail off. Coach Galloway was saying the facilities are a huge help in the recruitment of new players. All in all it was one of the most professional looking sports set ups, with a state of the art gymnasium an amazing hockey rink – an inspiring and great start to our LTP roadshow!
Next up was an entertaining trip to a liquor store to get Coach Kip Turner a bottle of champagne to congratulate him on his recent marriage. We were greeted and helped out by a nice Bulgarian gentleman who had some interesting opinions on carrying guns and the values the USA was built upon. This was followed by an introduction to possibly one of the coolest sneaker shops around for a couple of executive purchases to make sure LTP was looking as stylish as always. Our thanks to the guys at Sneaker Junkies www.sneakerjunkiesusa.com
A quick lunch and Scooby Snack sized sandwich with the Brown and Providence coaching staff and Back to work. We were then able to do a second presentation to the remainder of the Providence Lacrosse team. Again, our info was received well and after a brief chat with the coaches we wrapped up a successful trip to Providence Uni. A big thanks to all the Coaching staff at The Friars especially coach John Galloway and our England Lacrosse brother Jak Vav.
We then moved on to Brown University, one of seven Ivy leagues lacrosse programs. We were given the fantastic opportunity to present to and talk to the team after their fitness and weights session. It was interesting to see that the coaches here worked out with the team and led by example. Coach Lars Tiffany spoke to his team and then gave us quite an introduction. Quite a few familiar faces on Brown as Sam had played against them last year, and Baggie had worked the G3 camp with many of them. It was impressive to see the interest guys had in post grad education, Lacrosse and the opportunity to come to England. A few of the players had already been looking at our web page and stayed behind before captains practice to ask some questions. A big bonus for us came in the form of a captain of Brown Lacrosse giving a very inspirational and motivational team talk about personal performance in life, lacrosse and never giving up. There was a great energy throughout the Brown program, and a massive thanks to my lil lacrosse brother Kip Turner, Coach Lars Tiffany and staff – before leaving we had our two brown bears photo shoot.
A very cool Friday evening catching up with Coach Hettler, Lauren (His wonderful wife) and our LTP brother Chad Kelsey for some good Mexican food and some lacrosse and life chat.
Saturday saw the start of the Northeastern Classic at the Thayer Academy in Braintree, Massachusetts. Unfortunately it also brought a little bit of bad weather. An early wake up to pick up some supplies for the event, and then we set up the LTP stand as the rain started to come down. The Northeastern Classic – Face-Off Against Cancer formerly the Catamount Classic is a great weekend of lacrosse, fall ball and a great opportunity for teams to put what they have practiced into play and to bring their new players into their program. The event itself was set up after a member of the 2007 University of Vermont Mens Lacrosse team was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He underwent a treatment plan from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and is in full remission today. The event started in 2008 and has to date raised $179,363 for the Dana-Farber Institute. Needless to say it is a fantastic cause and makes for a great event!
Regardless of the rain and cold weather, the show went on and there was some great enthusiasm and positivity from all teams and definitely some great lacrosse played. LTP did its best to spread the word through parents, coaches and players, and as much as people were rushing to get out of the rain, we would like to thank all those that came across and expressed an interest in LTP. The main highlight, and only bit of sunshine away from the rain and lacrosse, was a 3 course take out breakfast of Crepes, Donuts and Bagels, supplied with gallons of coffee provided by LTPs very own Chad Kelsey, taking it to a whole new level!
Sunday was the Men’s event, and the return of the sunshine and a glorious New England day. Sunday saw; Dartmouth, Holy Cross, Marist, Sacred Heart, UMass – Lowell, Vermont, Assumption, Bentley, Post, SNH, St Rose, Emmanuel, Endicott and UMass Boston do battle. A well attended event for parents and lacrosse fans from the Area. A lot more interest for LTP this time and attendees remembered the name from last year, some folks had even googled us! The weather definitely helped, and having 12 teams in attendance also ensured the LTP stand traffic was steady throughout the day.
Monday was a public holiday in the USA for Columbus Day and was spent catching up with some lacrosse contacts and close friends as well as a spot of retail therapy at the Columbus Day Sales.
The last day of the trip, and another early start entailed a great presentation to Harvard Lacrosse. Once again, we grabbed some road coffees, and thanks to some skillful navigation and local knowledge by Sam Russ we got there just in time to present to the Harvard Lacrosse team.
Again, a very receptive bunch of players and some great coaches who all have had their share of the International fraternity of lacrosse. A quick chat to the team and then a little tour of the tradition filled facilities and locker rooms. All in all it was a very positive morning for LTP and another great opportunity to set up a great relationship with the Harvard lacrosse program. Special thanks to all the coaching staff especially coach Adam Ghitelman.
We left Harvard and headed to meet the team at 3D Lacrosse. After catching up with Matt Rowley and meeting Ryan Danehy we checked out the offices and headed back down to Dedham to check out of our hotel before we departed on the next part of our Journey. For Baggie it was up to NYC for Ravstock (his annual birthday celebration) and for Sam it was back to the UK. Overall a great trip thanks to all that took the time to meet and chat with us, hopefully we will se you this side of the pond soon!
– The LTP Team