Off Limits Part 2 – Its Official! No NCAA College Lacrosse Recruiting Prior to Junior Year Of High School!

On April 14, 2017, the NCAA Division I Council voted to prohibit contact with prospective lacrosse athletes, including offers and commitments, until Sept. 1 of their junior year of high school.

High school coaches from both public and private schools said the new initiative will slow down the recruitment process, giving college prospect athletes more time to evaluate their options at the next level. It especially benefits late-bloomers, who are currently left competing for fewer roster spots with many of them already having been filled by underclassmen.

“I think the general consensus is, it’s a good idea, to let’s slow this down,” said Ireton Coach Rick Sofield,“What it does do is, for those really elite blue chip athletes, it means they gotta wait. I don’t know that really hurts them in any way. In fact it probably helps them without even knowing it.” Sofield adds, “What freshman knows for sure what college they’re going to?  They haven’t even finished algebra.”

In addition to not necessarily having a feel for what school a young student athlete may want to attend, not allowing college recruiters access to young athletes will reduce the pressure to perform and enhance their enjoyment of the sport of lacrosse.  Thinking back to my own playing days, I could not fathom what it would have been like to play the sport knowing that whether or not I made a college roster depended on my performance at the prepubescent age of 14 (I was a late bloomer).

I am cautiously optimistic about this new development, but the moment new rules are imposed, there is often near instantaneous pursuit to find loopholes to get around them.  I will be interested to not only see the complete language of the resolution, but seeing how its logistical enforcement plays out.

Once thing is for certain, this vote is most certainly one big step in the right direction.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

Off Limits! The “Scourge” Of College Lacrosse Early Recruiting And The Pending Vote To Finally Stop It

Boys and girls are being recruited for college lacrosse as early at 7th grade, some signing letters of intent before even reaching high school.  It is wrong on so many levels and it is exerting negative effects not just in the sport of lacrosse, but across the spectrum of youth athletics.  College coaches often dislike this practice as much as anyone, but are loathe to stop because they feel that if they do not do the same, they may miss out on the the next great blue chip athlete that may be program changer.

US Lacrosse CEO Steve Stenersen has branded the early recruiting epidemic as a “scourge” that is damaging to the sport of lacrosse (and youth sports in general).  Lacrosse participation has leveled off.  Single sport specialization is at an all time high, as are overuse injuries that are clearly associated with single sport specialization at a young age.  70 percent of youth athletes are quitting organized sports by the age of 13, and college transfers are at an all time high.

Beyond these facts, the pressure being placed on young athletes to perform is unprecedented and is zapping the fun out of lacrosse and other sports.  While a minority of parents relish in the notion that they are spending crazy amounts of money to keep their child playing year round on multiple state and national club teams, the financial strain and time commitment that cuts into precious family time is troubling to many others.  Look no further than the high divorce rates of families that commit all of their resources and time to making their child a singing or acting star to see why such a course is not healthy.

Says WLCA president Alicia Groveston, “We are at a tipping point….Some sanity could be restored to the recruiting process.”  What she is referring to is NCAA DI Council Proposal 2016-26, the vote of which if passed, would ban all college coach contact with youth and high school athletes until September 1 of their junior year of high school.  The vote will take place when the Council meets April 13-14 2017.

If the measure does not pass, it may not come up again for consideration for another 2 years or longer.  For the sake of the kids and the sport we love, let us hope good sense and a commitment to the greater good prevails.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of tpics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

 

Toeing The Line Between Nurturing A Young Lacrosse Player And Burning Him/Her Out On The Sport

I witnessed a great turn of events for an 8th grade boy this past weekend.  This young man has a older brother who lives and breathes lacrosse, currently a starter on his varsity high school team as a sophomore.  The parents are wonderfully supportive of lacrosse and have done everything they possibly can to nurture their boys’ love and participation in the sport.

This past fall, their 8th grader played on my middle school tournament team.  He is a good player, not quite as obsessed with lacrosse as older brother, but a nice, coachable young man who always came to practice and worked hard.

As the season wore on, I could see in this player’s body language that he was not enjoying the game as much as he had in the past.  I had a conversation with him and he confided with me that he was not feeling the same love of the game that he had in past seasons, that there were other things like fishing that he would often prefer to be doing.

I shared with him that as much as I wanted to him to stay on the team, I would not judge him if he decided lacrosse was not for him.  He ultimately had a heart to heart discussion with his Dad and they decided together that he would finish out the season (there was only one tournament left to go at this point) to see his commitment through and take a break from the game, possibly permanently.

This past Friday, the day before game 2 of our rec season, the 8th grader’s Dad contacted me and asked if it would be too late to have his son rejoin the league, as he really missed playing.  We did not hesitate to get him signed up, get him a uniform, and he plucked right in and not only had a great time, but pumped in 3 goals.  He was smiling from ear to ear.

This young man just needed a break, needed some time to miss the game; needed to just be a boy who did not have constant after school commitments.  He was the inspiration for this article.

Below are some tips for parents and coaches to help young people just like the young man I wrote this article about to help nurture the love of lacrosse while avoiding burn out.

1.) The multi-sport or multi-activity experience is crucial.  Letting your child participate in as many athletic pursuits as possible prepares him/her mentally and physically for staying excited about lacrosse.  Not necessarily a sporto?  No problem!  How about boys scouts, art, musical instruments, dance, skateboarding or surfing?  Case in point, this morning, I took my son out to the park to run some shooting and dodging drills.  Shortly after that, we loaded the surf boards on the car to enjoy an hour of one of his (and my) other great passions, surfing!

2.) When players are showing less than exciting or engaged body language, do not ride them, but engage them in a calm, open and honest manner.  They may be experiencing trouble in the home, at school, or are just feeling the effects of burn out.  Talk to them and ask them if everything is okay because you observe that they are not themselves.  Give them the opportunity to open up without judgement.

In the aforementioned player’s case, he was facing the pressure of an older brother in his family who is not only an exceptional player but has an extraordinary lacrosse ambition; while having some misgivings about whether lacrosse was for him.  All he needed was a break.

3.) When they do not play up to expectations (whether they are yours or the players), let them know it is okay to have an off day.  Let them know that effort always trumps performance.

My own son had 5 goals in last week’s season opener.  Yesterday in week two, he had 2 goals and had a strong game; yet, he walked off the field disappointed.  I asked him what was wrong and he told me that he was disappointed that he only had 2 goals.  I let him know that I was just as proud of him this week than I was last week and that it actually is not normal to score 5 goals a game; that the number of goals should not be the measure of a successful season.  I told him that fun and effort are the more important aspects of enjoyment of lacrosse, that he should never play with that kind of pressure placed on himself (he is only 8).

Let us never lose sight as parents and coaches that for these young men and women, there is so much more to life than any sport.  There are social functions, school, time with friends, and other pursuits that are integral to their growth and enjoyment of their youth.  While lacrosse and other sports provide many positive aspects of growth, we always need to allow them enough room to just be kids.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of tpics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

 

How Does A Child Become A Lacrosse Player?

US Lacrosse through vigorous research has developed the Lacrosse Athlete Development Model (LADM) by identifying which factors are most responsible for the development of a young athlete.  Through this research, US Lacrosse has enabled coaches to set appropriate expectations based on age and best practices to maximize their development and enjoyment of the game.  In US Lacrosse Magazine’s February edition, LADM is explained as follows.

Genetics

50% of an athlete’s ability originates from genetics inherited from his/her parents.  There is a reason that two out of three of Archie Manning’s sons are Superbowl Champions and MVP’s.

Environment

30% of an athlete’s potential is derived from environmental influence.  This includes nutrition, proper sleep, stress in the home (or lack thereof), and health.

The Intangibles

15% of an athlete’s potential is controlled by the athlete him/her-self.  These factors include determination, work ethic, attitude, processing of adversity, etc.

Equilibrium

A child’s proprioception, or ability to orient oneself in space or respond to shifts in positioning continues to to develop through age 13.  While this may come faster to some than others, coaches should not get read into his/her U11 team having difficultly throwing and catching on the run.

Visual Acuity

Vision and peripheral perception continue to develop until the age of 12, yet many lacrosse players have had to look through helmet bars or protective goggles well before 12.  While the debate rages on at what age it is appropriate to have our athletes playing a type of lacrosse that necessitates these protective items (as opposed to soft lacrosse with no protective gear at all), perhaps coaches and parents understanding this can be a bit more patient when junior may not see a wide open player on the crease as he is running down the sideline and having his stick checked.

Balance

The vestibular system of the body that spans the inner ear apparatus and and brain stem continues to develop until the age of 16.

Breathing and Lung Capacity

In children under the age of 13, each breath takes in 1/3 of the oxygen  of an adult breath, resulting in a 50% faster breathing rate.  Does it make sense to have kids this age under these limiting circumstances running the same length and width field as high school and college athletes?

Leg Strength

Leg strength and squat jump height typically corrects (weakens) between age 11- 12 due to the amount of energy expenditure necessary to simply grow during this typically rapidly growing period.  This causes an inevitable dip in athletic performance that peaks again later in the athlete’s teenage years.

What Is The Point Of All This Information?

The National Alliance for Youth Sports reports that 70% of kids are dropping out of organized sports by age 13.  Through LADM, US Lacrosse is determined to stem this tide in our sport by offering players the right kind of lacrosse at the right time so that they love it more and play longer.  This is leading to sweeping change in age appropriate lacrosse formats and training and I applaud US Lacrosse for being proactive in ensuring that lacrosse properly develops and retains its athletes.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of tpics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

 

Penn State Lacrosse Great Is Now A Superbowl Champion!

I know I recently wrote about the improbable journey of Penn State Lacrosse great Chis Hogan to NFL wide receiver for the New England Patriots (see Lacrosse Gets Props From NFL Football Player), but now he is a Super Bowl champion in what was perhaps the best game in Super Bowl history!  In light of the game that Hogan had key catches in, including an integral and impressive catch during their overtime march down the field, one gets the feeling that his arrival in New England was divine serendipity.

Hogan was signed and released by three teams prior to finally finding a home with the Buffalo Bills in 2014 when he finally had a break out season starting 16 games in 2014 with 36 catches for 450 and one touchdown.  Hogan became a restricted free agent after the 2015 season and in 2016 signed a 3 year offer sheet with the New England Patriots worth $12 million.  The Pats front loaded the first year with $5.5 Million making it difficult for the Bills to match.

Bill Belichick saw tremendous potential in Hogan referring to him as a “burner” with incredible athleticism.  Belichick also is a well known big fan of the sport of lacrosse (his daughter Amanda is the head coach of Holy Cross Women’s Lacrosse), and Hogan’s strong lacrosse background must not have escaped his attention.

Having watched him play football, it is a frightening prospect to picture covering Hogan in lacrosse with his large 6’1″, 220 pound frame combined with gazelle like running abilities.

Although I am not a Patriots fan, one cannot deny their organization’s greatness and the incredible game they played in Superbowl LI.  I congratulate their amazing win and am excited that newly crowned Superbowl champion Chris Hogan who hails from my home state of NJ is enthusiastically bringing awareness to his other sports passion, the great sport of lacrosse.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of tpics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

 

Small Ball Lacrosse – The Wave Of The Future For Developing Young Lacrosse Athletes

This video is a hockey arena modeled for adult players to the scale of what a regulation arena looks like to an 8 years and under hockey player.  It is quite humorous to watch these adults play on this giant hockey rink (especially the giant goals), but it is also a great example of why USA Hockey reduced the size of the arena and number of players for youth players.

US Lacrosse for 2017, perhaps inspired by USA hockey, changed their recommendations for a smaller modified field and format with less players and a non-positional approach that is more like full court basketball.  Not having young developing lacrosse players confined to attack, midfield, and defense, keeps players more engaged and overall facilitates more touches of the ball.

This “everyone is a middie” approach is doable on a smaller field and what we will begin to see is faster stick skill development and lacrosse IQ.  I am absolutely thrilled that the youth lacrosse club that I preside over took the plunge to adopt new US Lacrosse recommendations.

The Canadians have maintained and edge over US players because weather always forced them off the field and indoors for much of the year to play in indoor arenas much smaller than the 110 x 60 yard lacrosse field.  This 5 v 5 style of lacrosse called “box” lacrosse has facilitated passing and catching in tighter spaces, feeding into smaller windows, and precision shooting. Shortening up the field and reducing the number of players will likely accomplish these goals in a relatively similar fashion.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of tpics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

The Strength Of Coaching With Confidence And Humility – The Journey Of The Lacrosse Coach

My son was still an infant when I co-founded our community youth lacrosse club so I started coaching at the U15 boys division where expectations were highest among families trying lacrosse for the first time.  I had the most lacrosse playing experience among the coaches in the club at the timeand was the only coach who had played in college.

I remained there until my son turned 5 and I dropped down to coach the U7 division, and I was following him up through the ranks for a few years until this season.  In the years since I had dropped down to the younger levels to coach, I thought things were fine where I had left them with coaches standardization having been implemented and coaches stepping up to volunteer and take the initiative to get US Lacrosse certified.  What I did not realize was that, with our club beginning to compete increasingly well and make a name for ourselves, some parents and players in the older divisions were beginning to feel that the coaches that were nevertheless dedicated and committed; lacked ability to take the player to the next level of truly elite competitive youth lacrosse.

Some of that criticism I thought may have been legitimate, but I assumed that the lian’s share of it was fed by a for profit club that formed to the south of us that was promising Division I scholarships if kids played for them (those for profits offering the promised land almost always inevitably show up at some point).  With a few parents/players having drank enough of the Kool-Aide to jump ship for that club, I decided to jump back up to coach the elite upper middle school division of our  Venom Elite program.  My son is still 8 years of age and not yet eligible for elite tournament play (Venom Elite starts at U11), so I am still able to coach his and my 6 years daughter’s respective rec teams.

I thought at first I was doing this more for the perception that my lacrosse background brought to the Venom Elite team, but then one of my assistant coaches who had not played but learned to coach lacrosse through the years in our club who did not play lacrosse, shared something with me recently.  He told me that when it was decided that I was to move up to take over the Venom Elite team, while he understood the necessary perception that it brought to the team and the club, he could not help but take some offense for the dismissal of the value that he and other dedicated volunteers brought to the boys at this stage in their lacrosse coaching careers.   He also had never really coached along side me.

He told me that the very first day of practice, he realized that the parents had a point.  He told me that he was grateful that I had moved up, not just for the sake of the club, but he realized that my ability to demonstrate skills and schemes, make set changes on the fly, manage the game, and recognize mismatches was more valuable than anything he had seen in the club to date; with his 3 years of coaching experience having occurred while I was coaching exclusively in the younger divisions.

I really appreciated this feedback because I did honestly did not know myself that there was such a difference.  My perspective came from my experience learning from and working with college and professional lacrosse legends that put on summer Pro Camps for us here in Central Florida.  When I watch guys like Brian Megill, Ray Megill, Marcus Holman, and Kyle Hartzell in action as they teach and demonstrate skills and schemes I feel truly grateful to have a front row seat for the best coaching I have ever experienced.  I learn new concepts every time they come.

Coaches to be sure need to be confident.  If they are not confident in what they are attempting to get their team to buy into, the players will lack confidence in the coach.  Even kids can very easily sniff out uncertainty and reluctance.

However, ALL coaches must be open to other points of view and new ways of doing things, especially when it is coming from coaches that have played and coached at a higher level than they have.  But humility does not necessarily have to come from a highly experienced coach.  I regularly get valuable feedback from my assistant coaches including the gentleman I discussed in this article.  Sometimes we can get caught up in within our systems where we may not notice a particular wrinkle that someone observing from the outside in may notice.

Confidence, open mind, and humility comprise the ultimate journey coaches must walk to be successful, inspiring, and to honor the game.  As in all other aspects of life, the day we think we know it all and stop learning, is the day it is time to hang up our whistles and move on.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of tpics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

Lacrosse Gets Props From NFL Football Player

Chris Hogan, wide receiver for the New England Patriots, gave a shout out to lacrosse during the Sunday Night Football lineup this past season when he said, “Chris Hogan, Penn State Lacrosse.” Chris Hogan is a former Penn State Nittany Lions lacrosse star having scored 57 career goals in three seasons.

Chris Hogan Also Played Lacrosse For Penn StateDuring his sophomore year, a high ankle sprain shortened Hogan’s season, enabling him to take a red shirt year to play football at Monmouth University, which ultimately paved his path to the NFL. Chris Hogan now plays for Bill Belichick, ironic, since he is a huge lacrosse fan himself.

In an interview with US Lacrosse Magazine, Chris Hogan credits playing lacrosse with helping him to hone his football game. Stated Hogan, “College lacrosse is very physically demanding. I was a midfielder, so I was always running up and down the field taking hits, giving out hits. The physical aspects of both the sports were similar – eye-hand coordination, getting away from somebody. The only difference was memorizing a playbook.”

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of tpics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

Why Major League Lacrosse Is So Unique As A Professional Sport League

Lyle Thompson Playing For the Major League Lacrosse Florida LaunchMajor League Lacrosse, also known as the MLL, is a professional field lacrosse league that started in 2002.  It is perhaps the most unique professional sports league in all of sports.

Having the honor and pleasure of having several friends that currently play or have played in the MLL, I have quite a bit of insight into the dynamics of the organizations, the league, and the players.  What is most striking is that MLL players make very little money.  The best players may pull $1000 per game, while the rest may make $500 or slightly more.  In a 16 – 20 game season (depending on post season success), do the math and it does not add up to much.

Some pro lacrosse players supplement this income through endorsements if their star power is strong enough.  Paul Rabil is probably the most extreme example of this who hit the 7 figure income mark a few years ago as the name and face of Warrior Lacrosse.  Other players that have successfully cashed in on star recognition are Lyle Thompson (Nike) and Rob Pannell (Brine).  The vast majority of players do not carry this kind of name recognition, so most have Monday – Friday day jobs that they actually earn a living with.

Since MLL players do not get paid an amount of money to even nearing the ability to uproot and live in the community of the team they are chosen to play for, Friday evenings they are flown into their playing venue (whether as the home or away team) after completing their regular work week.  They have a midnight practice, then morning walk through before playing the game in the evening.  Sunday morning, they are flown back to where they are all from.

For this reason, the quality of MLL games increases considerably as the season wears on, as the teams develop chemistry, which is often sorely lacking early in the season due to few opportunities to be on the field together.

Thus Major League Lacrosse players ultimately do what they do for love of the game, and give up their summer weekends off to play lacrosse.  It is easy to see this love of lacrosse when they are so gracious and accessible after the games to sign autographs for the kids and shake the hands of fans.

Major League Lacrosse players are pioneers in a sport that is on the cusp of breaking into the mainstream of American culture.  It is my sincere hope that they may continue to have the fortitude to blaze a path to a day when professional lacrosse can be a lucrative career that will continue to grow awareness of the fastest game on 2 feet.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of tpics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

Lacrosse Embraces and Promotes High Academic Achievement

Lacrosse Embraces High Academic AchievementOne of the greatest aspects of the sport of lacrosse is the general embracing of superior academics as being just as important as superior play on the field.  Even Division I top 25 programs will reject superior blue chip lacrosse players before rather than admit a great athlete who is an academic slacker.

This is the reason why academic powerhouse programs like Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Brown and Johns Hopkins are also college lacrosse powerhouses.  It is also the reason why in general the quality of Division II lacrosse lags behind that of Division III Lacrosse.  With Division III lacrosse programs having a greater wealth of high academic achievement colleges in comparison to Division II, they tend to attract the better players.

Let us take out of the equation that professional lacrosse does not pay all that well, and simply take a look at the percentage of college athletes that go on to play at the professional level.    According to NCAA.org statistics averaging 5 sports (basketball, baseball, football, lacrosse, hockey), only 3.4% of NCAA college athletes will go on to play at the professional level.  That static is actually artificially inflated by baseball with 10.9% of college players going on to play professional ball, the majority of which bounce around A, AA, and AAA Minor League baseball for a while but ultimately fall short of making the Major Leagues.  Take baseball out of the average calculation, then the probability of a college athlete playing professionally drops to 1.96%.

The bottom line is that for the vast majority of college athletes, their athletic career will be finished after their NCAA eligibility expires and they are faced with the rest of their life having to rely on careers that their academic achievements prepared them for.   When I hear of some of the abysmal graduation rates of college football players, a sport where only2% of players go on to play professionally, I am saddened the fact that such little emphasis is placed on having academics play a more prominent role in the sport’s culture.  My intent is not to just pick on football, as this is prevalent in other sports as well.

I remember we I was a kid and despite lacrosse being very popular in my town, our parents (our Dads especially) were so resistant to those of us that left baseball for lacrosse as our chosen spring sport.  Part of it was that lacrosse was foreign to them, but part of it was that they had some inner pipe dream that their children may go on to play sports professionally.   Consequently, the answer I heard all too frequently from our Dads was “Why lacrosse?  There’s no money in that?” (There was no Major League Lacrosse until 2002)  Such sentiments imply that the primary reason to play youth sports is to one day play professionally, which completely is not only unrealistic, but completely misses the point of youth sports participation.

I do believe that professional lacrosse in the not so far off future will be a lucrative career.   I also hope that will be the case, as dedicated full time professional lacrosse players would raise awareness of the sport and bring it ever closer to the main stream.  However, I also hope when that does happen, that lacrosse maintain its dedication and commitment to academics first and foremost.

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and well regarded media personality through a number of subjects and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a nationally renowned expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse though his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.