The Full Weekend Lacrosse Tournament – A Great Opportunity For Lacrosse Players!

Posted on by .

Full Weekend Lacrosse Tournaments Are Great For The Sport!With the middle school and high school teams that I coach having just completed their fall tournament schedules, I reflect on the incredible opportunity that my young players have at their disposal that did not exist in my playing days: summer and fall full weekend lacrosse tournaments.

Growing up and playing lacrosse in New Jersey in the 80’s and 90’s, we basically had our spring season and a the potential for a small extension of that season to play top level lacrosse in the Garden State Games.  We eventually had a short informal winter box lacrosse season, but overall the opportunities to play outside of our main season were quite limited in comparison to today.

In New Jersey and other states, that opportunity has greatly expanded with the growth full weekend summer and fall tournaments.  Not only are full weekend tournaments very fun, with teams from all over one’s home state and even out of state teams converging on large venues to compete at the highest level, they provide invaluable playing experience.  Lacrosse tournaments are one big reason why the level of lacrosse being played in my new home state of Florida has increased exponentially in the past 5 years.

If you consider that an average tournament team plays three tournaments, each tournament of which will include 4-6 games being played in one weekend, in three weekends, a player will have played more games than he or she would in an entire spring season.  When you combine that volume of games with the variety of competition and fast paced games (20 to 21 minutes running halves), it is easy to see the value of competing in state wide tournaments.

The comradery that lacrosse tournaments create is also very special.  With some tournaments attracting 120 teams or more, the hosting city or town is taken over by lacrosse families.  Whether in hotels, at restaurants, or shopping, you find yourself constantly surrounded by lacrosse parents, players, and coaches.  In a sport that still has not yet reached main stream status, especially in newer lacrosse markets like Florida, it is uplifting to be in a venue where so many people that love the sport are congregated.

To be sure, there are many aspects of the lacrosse tournament experience that make it invaluable and unique for lacrosse players and coaches.  I would advise any family with the opportunity to play weekend tournament ball to take full advantage of an opportunity that only relatively recently became available to lacrosse players.

Dr. Roger Welton was a 4 year starter for Montclair State University and was selected as a First Team All Knickerbocker Conference Midfielder in 1995, 1996. He is the founder of the Viera-Suntree Lacrosse Club and Space Coast Elite Lacrosse Club in Brevard County, Florida.

Profit Motivated Coaches And Organizations Are Bad For Youth And High School Lacrosse

Posted on by .

The Scourge Of For Profit Youth Lacrosse Teams Is Bad For The GameIn my little corner of the world of the Florida Space Coast in an area very steeped in the traditional school sports, the introduction of lacrosse has been an uphill climb.  With the first elements of lacrosse having been seeded in 2008, while the game continues to grow, it is still very much in the emerging sport category.  Although our lacrosse growth is a very positive development, it was only a matter of time before we would draw the attention of a growing problem in our sport: the for profit organizations and coaches that aim to pick away at established not for profit clubs and leagues with the promise of the best coaching in the world and a path to a Division I scholarship at a marquis college lacrosse program.

Having played along side incredible talent from my home state of New Jersey, having come from a high school program that has yielded a lot of Division I talent and to date has seen 6 players have success in the professional Major League Lacrosse, I have a unique perspective and insight into the world of Division I lacrosse.  The truth is, Division I scholarships are very rare.  Even top talent coming out of lacrosse hot beds like New Jersey, New York and Maryland often feel very fortunate to earn a no scholarship roster spot or receive partial scholarships at best.

Thus, while players should all strive to be the best lacrosse athletes they can possibly be, a coach who understands sports and is being honest will tell you that as much great coaching as a player gets, it is ultimately up to the player to perform.  Many factors that cannot be taught, such as innate speed, physical size, strength, and demeanor, go into the entire player package.  Does good coaching help facilitate that?  Of course it does, but it will only take a player so far.

What’s more, just because a coach may charge parents a fortune to play for his team does not make him necessarily a better option.  Case in point, in the not for profit youth lacrosse club I preside over, we have 6 boys coaches with college playing experience (3 from Division I programs) and three girls coaches with Division I and Division II playing experience.  Double that number are US Lacrosse Level II and III Certified.  Just because we choose to volunteer our time for the kids and love of the game does not diminish what we bring to them in their lacrosse development.

I will tell you clearly what we are NOT doing, filling families with delusions of grandeur that their only path to a Division I scholarship is through us.  That kind of propaganda as as unethical as it is untrue.  Unfortunately, there are parents out there that drink the Kool-Aid and break out their check books so that little Johnny will be assured that roster spot at Johns Hopkins one day.

In the end, it is generally not the parents of the best players who fall for the draw of the for profit rhetoric, but more commonly it is the parents of the average or slightly above average player.  As parents, we naturally have pride in our children and want them to succeed.  However, this pride sometimes leads parents having an unrealistic outlook of their child’s innate talent.  If he or she is not getting the playing time that the parent expects or their performance leaves them far short of being stars of the team, it cannot be that their child’s talent has limits, it must be because of the coaching.

For profit entities in the sport also cause animosity and discord in communities that are otherwise tight nit.  Because their livelihood depends on it, they often do not stop at puffing our their chests and touting their lacrosse resumes and credentials, but they belittle the selfless and tireless efforts of volunteers that have given their their precious time, hearts, and souls to the community, the sport, and the kids.  Sadly, their belittling takes root with some parents and we have occasionally seen once appreciative members of our club join the for profits in denigrating our efforts.

For longstanding volunteers, this can be at times hard to swallow and  simply shrug off.  At times, I will be honest, it feels like a punch in the gut.  But just like in my playing days, when I was knocked down and it made me more motivated to work harder to make certain that next time I was in that same position, the tables would be turned; my fellow volunteers and I are ready to push back against the influence of for profit groups in our lacrosse community.

Many other lacrosse friends I have all over the country share my motivation curtail the influence of profit driven organizations in the sport of lacrosse in their respective corners of the world.  If/when the day comes that you are faced with the decision to jump on board with the bells and whistles of a for profit team or stay with the not for profit club that provided your child the opportunity to play lacrosse in the first place, always remember this quote by the great James Doolittle:

“There is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.”

That is as true in the sport of lacrosse as it is in anything else.

Dr. Roger Welton was a 4 year starter for Montclair State University and was selected as a First Team All Knickerbocker Conference Midfielder in 1995, 1996. He is the founder of the Viera-Suntree Lacrosse Club and Space Coast Elite Lacrosse Club in Brevard County, Florida.

New Girl’s/Women’s Lacrosse Helmets Remain Controversial

Posted on by .

New Cascade LX Women's and Girls Lacrosse HelmetThere has been a lot of controversy surrounding the requirement of helmets in girls and women’s lacrosse.  Proponents for protective gear opine that girls must have head protection from injury caused by collision with other players, as well as stick and ball contact to the head.  Opponents to the head gear requirement feel that head gear would serve nothing more than to provide a false sense of security for players and actually have the net result of more head injuries.

Further inflaming opponents to head gear is that there is no minimum standard for female lacrosse head gear as there is for male lacrosse players that have had helmet mandates for several decades.  This lack of standardization leads to very significant disparities in the various products available for states that have a head gear requirement.  It is noteworthy that the governing body of the sport of lacrosse nationally, US Lacrosse, has been one of the most ardent critics of head gear mandates for girls and women’s lacrosse players.

Women's-Girls Game Breaker Lacrosse Helmet/Protective Head GearIn my home state of Florida, for example, a head gear requirement went into effect 2 seasons ago as mandated by the Florida High School Athletic Association, the governing body of high school athletics state wide.  While it is too early to tell what impact this has had on head injury statistics, the lack of any standard for head gear could not be more obvious.  Pictured here is the Game Breakers rugby style helmet worn by some programs.

However, once girls became aware that simply putting “something” on their head would suffice to satisfy the FHSAA head gear requirement, the majority have gone with this minimal head band type of protective gear made by Storelli.  Storelli Lacrosse Protective Head Band For Women and GirlsThese are but a couple of the variations available in the lacrosse market even at this time when Cascade has teamed up with US Lacrosse to provide a helmet that satisfies minimum head gear requirements (more on this below).  This lack of standardization has essentially made a joke of the head gear requirement, as, regardless of the choice of protective head gear, lacrosse officials have no guidelines as to whether a particular head gear item is acceptable or not.

I am all for efforts to make the sport of lacrosse safer, but to impose protective gear requirements with no standards for what that protective gear should provide makes no sense.  This most certainly not one of FHSAA’s finest moments, and that is an opinion shared by the vast majority of girls lacrosse coaches across the state.

At least finally there is a standard that US Lacrosse has signed onto with the help of helmet manufacturer Cascade.  They have produced the Cascade LX girls and women’s lacrosse helmet  (picture at the top of the page) in accordance with ASTM f3137, the first minimum lady lacrosse helmet standard the fulfills the ultimate goal of girl’s and women’s lacrosse helmets: to reduce the impact forces associate with stick and ball contact to the head.

Still, while US Lacrosse approved of this helmet as the standard, they still do not deem protective head gear in girls and women’s lacrosse with the jury still very much out on the ultimate impact helmets will have on head injuries in the female game.  US Lacrosse is simply saying that for those who buy in on the the concept of protective head gear for girls and women, this is the standard.

On the other hand, state regulating bodies such as Florida’s FHSAA will continue to have their own mandates that may disagree with US Lacrosse.  Clearly, there is a precedence for state regulating bodies to detour from US Lacrosse stances and recommendations.  It is not clear where the requirement goes from here.

With US Lacrosse having a strong track record of best practices and safety, with strong research departments that further support their credibility, my opinion stands with theirs; that is, that head gear should be optional with the science still strongly lacking in support of increased safety for girls playing with protective head gear.  In fact, there is credible evidence to the contrary, that head gear may create a false sens of security that encourages more contact an subsequent risk for serious injury.

As such, with the youth lacrosse club I preside over, not under the FHSAA mandate for require protective gear, the requirement use of head gear remains optional.

Dr. Roger Welton was a 4 year starter for Montclair State University and was selected as a First Team All Knickerbocker Conference Midfielder in 1995, 1996. He is the founder of the Viera-Suntree Lacrosse Club and Space Coast Elite Lacrosse Club in Brevard County, Florida.


So Many Lacrosse Heads To Choose From, How Do I Decide?

Posted on by .

How To Choose The Right Lacrosse Head From So ManyIf you are an advanced player with years of experience, this article is not likely for you, as by now your probably have a fairly good sense of what lacrosse heads fit your position (s) and style.  You probably even have a certain lacrosse gear manufacturer or small list of companies you have the most preference for.  For everyone else, choosing the right lacrosse head can be a daunting process, especially when faced with the myriad of choices you may come across in large retail store pictured above.

I am here to break it down into basics for you to give you some working idea of what you may be looking for.


Defensive heads generally are stiff to deliver a hard check, one potentially felt through the pads, as well as a wide scoop for gobbling up ground balls.  The Brine Triumph, Maverik Tank, and Warrior Regulator fits these criteria very well.  For long stick middies with an offensive flare may desire a high performance head that can also be used for accurate feeding and shooting like the Warrior Revo.


Attack and middies that do not face off benefit from heads that are pinched with sidewall control with ample holes for stringing pocket customization and channel control.  The Brine RP3, Maverik Tactik, Warrior Evo, or STX Stallion.

Face-off middies benefit from semi-stiff heads that will  toe the line between having enough bend to accommodate face-off tactics but stiff enough to maintain its shape after countless face-offs.  Heads that fit these criteria include the Warrior NOZ, Warrior Blade, Brine Dictator, and the Brine Clutch.

Goalie heads I think speak for themselves.

I hope this helps players work through the menagerie of lacrosse head choices.  This just scratches the surface of course, but I stuck with my own preferences based on my experiences as a player and coach.

Dr. Roger Welton was a 4 year starter for Montclair State University and was selected as a First Team All Knickerbocker Conference Midfielder in 1995, 1996. He is the founder of the Viera-Suntree Lacrosse Club and Space Coast Elite Lacrosse Club in Brevard County, Florida.

We Must Stand With The Native American Sioux Tribe In Protest Of The Dakota Access Pipeline

Posted on by .

Stand With The Sioux Against The Dakota Access Pipeline!On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for so much in my life that has enjoyed so much joy and so many blessings in my 42 years.  When I blog whether on my veterinary blogs or here, I usually aim to stay with positive messages.  However, every now and then, I feel a duty to expose wrong doing in the world and advocate for a reversal of those wrongs.

It is rather ironic that Americans, the majority of which are of European decent, so enjoy the celebration of Thanksgiving, a holiday that memorializes Native Americans having come to the aid of European settlers and feed them, clothe them, and help them survive the wilderness that North America of that time was.

European settlers and their descendants repaid that kindness by forcing Native Americans out of their lands, trampling on their rights, and relegating them to reservations with sub-par education and abysmal rampant poverty.  Only in recent years have we really begun to embrace the beauty of Native American culture, spirituality, art, and of course the great sport of lacrosse that is the main topic of this blog.

What is occurring in North Dakota is yet another sad chapter in Native American relations within the U.S..  The peaceful protests of the Dakota Sioux Tribe against a pipeline that not only will run through and desecrate their sacred tribal lands, but also mar the landscape and threaten to poison their environment facing violence from the security personnel of Energy Transfer Partner and local North Dakota law enforcement is deplorable.  So many atrocities already have been committed against Native Americans in the name of progress.  Please join me in insuring that the Dakota Access Pipeline will not be yet another, perpetrated in a day and age that we know better!

I bid the Sioux Tribe who have continued to have the courage to protest in the face of brutality, unjust arrests, and even tear gas; the strength to persevere and protect your lands.  I pray that Energy Transfer Partners will value respect for Native American heritage and lands over the mighty dollar.  I pray that our government takes the side of Native Americans once and for all and protect their rights.

On this Thanksgiving, let us rally behind and protect Native Americans in defense against the Dakota Access Pipeline as selflessly as they came to the aid of the European Pilgrims all of those years ago.

Dr. Roger Welton was a 4 year starter for Montclair State University and was selected as a First Team All Knickerbocker Conference Midfielder in 1995, 1996. He is the founder of the Viera-Suntree Lacrosse Club and Space Coast Elite Lacrosse Club in Brevard County, Florida.

Lacrosse Helmet – The Evolution From “The Egg,” A Testament To The Safety Of The Game

Posted on by .

Vintage Lacrosse Helmet Nicknamed The EggPictured here is a vintage lacrosse helmet from my playing era.  Contemporary lacrosse players refer to this style of helmet as “The egg.”  It does not take much imagination to see where the nickname came from, but it may be difficult believe that this was the helmet style up until the early 2000’s.

Just so I can feel a little bit less old having played my entire middle school, high school, and college playing careers sport an egg helmet, below is a picture of the great Casey Powell who just this year retired from professional lacrosse sporting The Egg during his Syracuse playing days.  If you look at the player to his left, you can see the string tie in the back to help achieve the best possible fit.

Casey Powell Sporting The Egg Vintage Lacrosse Helmet At Syracuse

Seems antiquated doesn’t it?  I look back at that style of lacrosse helmet and I am simply amazed that our craniums were protected by something like that!  Yet, throughout an 11 year playing career during a time that the rules allowed a lot ore brutality than lacrosse of today, I only sustained one concussion (that I am aware of) in all my years of playing lacrosse.  In fact, I cannot recall any teammates of mine that sustained concussions while playing lacrosse.

I really think that this really speaks to the over all safety of the sport of lacrosse.  While we associate lacrosse as a contact sport with body checking, the reality is that injury statistics are lower than even soccer.  According to NPR, a lacrosse player will sustain an injury only two times per 1000 exposures to the game.

Nonetheless, I am still very comforted by the evolution of helmets and the impact technology available to even further protect players at every level.  It has enabled us to take an already relatively safe sport to an even safe one.

Dr. Roger Welton was a 4 year starter for Montclair State University and was selected as a First Team All Knickerbocker Conference Midfielder in 1995, 1996. He is the founder of the Viera-Suntree Lacrosse Club and Space Coast Elite Lacrosse Club in Brevard County, Florida.


Introducing Kids To Lacrosse As A Guest PE Teacher!

Posted on by .

Roger Welton conducts lacrosse clinics for several PE classes in Viera, FL at the Viera Charter SchoolI had a great experience today having been invited to the Viera Charter School, a K-8 school school in my community of Viera Florida.  From 8:30 AM through 2 PM, with the support of the school’s PE teachers, I ran instructional clinics for class after class today.

Introducing the game of lacrosse to kids that have never experienced it before never ceases to be a source of enjoyment for me.  The newness of the experience almost always makes for a very attentive audience.  The smiles and clear expressions of triumph as they successfully complete skills speaks for itself.

For those of us that long ago experienced the draw of the game, it begins to sound cliche when we constantly say that the game sells itself, but it really is true, the game sells itself.  All one needs to do is take the time to introduce the sticks and concepts to the kids, and their interest is instantly piqued.  Throw in a few fun games and relays that bring some competition into the reinforcement of basic skills, and it seals the deal.

Roger Welton enjoying one of his favorite pastimes, teaching lacrosse to youth

The next challenge lies in the open mindedness of the parent to allow their child to participate in a sport that is unfamiliar to them.  Some may even view it as a threat to an existing more traditional sport that they prefer their child to participate in.  I believe that the age of the internet and all of the information that is now at our disposal to some degree, helps us that endeavor to grow the fame in drawing new families to lacrosse.  I know that if either of my children came home begging me to sign them up for something I have never heard of, before I would consider it, I would at least “Google” the activity to get more information.

In the case of lacrosse, a simple Google search provides pages of links about the game, from youth through high school, college and professional lacrosse.

I will be crossing my fingers and toes that the kids I won over today on on their desire to sign up for my spring 2017 youth lacrosse league, will be successful in either selling the sport to their parents, or at least make a big enough fuss that their parents will be unable to say no.

Regardless of the outcome, I feel great about how I spent my day today!

Dr. Roger Welton was a 4 year starter for Montclair State University and was selected as a First Team All Knickerbocker Conference Midfielder in 1995, 1996. He is the founder of the Viera-Suntree Lacrosse Club and Space Coast Elite Lacrosse Club in Brevard County, Florida.


Lacrosse Carpe Diem, Because These Moments Are More Fleeting Than You Will Ever Know

Posted on by .

Montclair State Lacrosse Zach SchroeckPictured is one of two standout players from my Alma Mater, Montclair State University, Zach Schroeck (brother is Mickael Schroeck).  In an impressive 2015 16-2 season, Michael was named first team All Skyland Conference, while Zach was named its Rookie of the Year.  While I do not know these two fine players, seeing them in the uniform that I once donned in my own playing career; while approaching the close of my youth club’s current lacrosse season, it made me wonder if these guys and others living the dream of playing competitive lacrosse are really appreciating the opportunity they are in the midst of.

 To be sure, none of us really know when our playing careers will end.  For a few unfortunates, it may end early due to injury.  For most, it will end after their senior high school lacrosse season.  For a select few, it will end after college and for an even lesser select few, it will end at the end of a professional lacrosse career.

 I still enjoy playing in my Brevard County Lacrosse Men’s League, but as fun as that is, it does not compare to playing for my high school in the NJ State Championship tournament, or in college, playing for the East Coast Athletic Conference Championship.  In Men’s League, whether I play well or play poorly, my team wins or loses; beer and wings will be waiting after the game.  I will go home to my family, and life will go on unaffected regardless of the outcome.

 But in my high school and college playing days representing my school and community, during lacrosse season, nothing else really mattered.  The anticipation of big games and big moments was as much thrilling as it was at times terrifying.  The bond with my teammates, sharing the thrill of winning and the agony of defeat has no present day comparison.  In college, the long road trips and staying in hotels with my teammates were some of the most memorable moments of my life.  I feel truly blessed to have experienced all of what lacrosse gave me.

 Reflecting on all of this as our 2016 lacrosse season winds down to a close, I leave you with this famous quote from great Robin Williams movie, Dead Poets Society: “Carpe diem,” translated from Latin, “Seize the day.”  Savor every moment of your lacrosse playing experience as it is your last; as one day it will no longer be there.  Constant training and preparation will be replaced with meetings, deadlines, and commitments; working and paying bills.  Bonding with your teammates will be replaced with raising your family, possibly coaching your children and enjoying watching them live the dream that you once lived.

 Yes, you may play again as I do, but it will not compare to what lacrosse once meant to you.  So to all of you young men and women out there still living the lacrosse dream, carpe diem!  Hope you all had a memorable and fun season.

Dr. Roger Welton was a 4 year starter for Montclair State University and was selected as a First Team All Knickerbocker Conference Midfielder in 1995, 1996. He is the founder of the Viera-Suntree Lacrosse Club and Space Coast Elite Lacrosse Club in Brevard County, Florida.

Vipers Lacrosse!

Posted on by .

vslc_vipers_logo…Continuation of “Rediscovering The Love Of The Game.”

Seeing something of a divine serendipity in the events described in my previous post above, I attended the meeting that would profoundly affect my life.  The meeting was for the small but committed Brevard Lacrosse Association (BLA), that at the time was a small league based in the beach side community of Satellite Beach, FL just over the causeway from my newly home town of Viera.  It was January, 2008 and my wife was pregnant with our first child.

The league was looking to expand beyond the beach and the dad that I had met in my neighborhood that was responsible for bringing me to the meeting, was charged with the expansion into mainland communities of Rockledge, Viera, and Melbourne.  We were to be called the Vipers.

So there we were, 3 divisions of lacrosse teams, U11, U13, and U15 boys only, with one other team to play, the Satellite Beach Riptide.  We played one another week in and week out, but the parents and players were so excited by the fresh, fast paced, new sport of lacrosse, that they did not care.  Without a child in the league, I was originally tasked with coaching the U11 division that was most lacking in coaching personnel, but with only one other coach in the league with playing experience, I floated around all of the divisions to aid in instruction.  It was a blast!

With a buzz in the air about lacrosse and kids and parents already seeking more varied and competitive play, the decision was made (despite my dissent) to disband BLA and start independent clubs that would play each other in an established Orlando based league.  At this point, a community called Merritt Island was also about to start their own lacrosse program, so the thought was that by disbanding and going independent, that other communities would follow suit and lacrosse would organically grow from there.  That is not how things played out, but for the purposes of this story, all you need to know is that the powers that be suggested that with the most extensive lacrosse background in the Viera community among active coaches, that I would the best candidate to serve as the first president of the Viera-Suntree Lacrosse Club, home of Vipers Lacrosse.

8 years later, I remain the first and only president of the club, now with an 8 year old son and a 6 year old daughter playing lacrosse.  To my point about how much that meeting would change my life, that original club has grown from 6 boys to 300 boys and girls playing lacrosse from K-8th grade projected to be playing Vipers Lacrosse this spring.  We now have both developmental rec teams and elite travel teams.

Within Vipers I personally coach U7 girls, U9 boys, U15 elite travel.  I also host regular camps and clinics for area high school programs and coach and elite high school fall and summer tournament team called the Space Coast Stingrays.

Oh yes, much has happened since that first BLA meeting and it seems I am still only just getting started!

Dr. Roger Welton was a 4 year starter for Montclair State University and was selected as a First Team All Knickerbocker Conference Midfielder in 1995, 1996. He is the founder of the Viera-Suntree Lacrosse Club and Space Coast Elite Lacrosse Club in Brevard County, Florida.

Rediscovering The Love Of The Game

Posted on by .

Roger Welton Coaching U15 Boys Vipers Lacrosse 2010Not that I necessarily would have considered trying out for a professional Major League Lacrosse team, but the option did not even exist when I finished my college career in 1996 even if I had the ambition and/or the ability to go there.  The only profession lacrosse league at the time was the Canadian indoor National Lacrosse League.  Indoor lacrosse was fun, but most American players were more adept to the field game, so that career path did not really appeal to the vast majority of us.

As a result, for those of us that played college lacrosse even at a high level, once our eligibility was up we would reflect on a fulfilling experience in the sport we loved and move on the the next phase of our professional lives, which for 99% of us did not include lacrosse.  For me, it was to increase the hours I worked an an off campus veterinary hospital, enroll in post graduate courses to pad my GPA and academic resume, take the Graduate Record Exam, and begin the extensive veterinary school application process.

With the excitement of a future in a field of my dreams and the whirlwind of admissions interviews and making plans to pack up and begin veterinary school, it is amazing how quickly one can move on.  I can honestly say that I did not even think about lacrosse again until I was about to start my second year and I saw one of my classmates having a catch with lacrosse sticks.  Although I had already known this gentlemen for some time, we never compared notes about our lacrosse backgrounds.  Having been raised in Boca Raton, FL, my friend had attended and played lacrosse for St. Andrews private school.  I was amazed that I has not even picked up a stick in nearly two years, nor did I even think to bring my lax stick to vet school with me!

Still, even with the reminder and having a periodic throw around with my classmate through my vet school years, as I met my future wife in my fourth year, passed boards, and prepared my new life in New York with my new wife and my new career; lacrosse was but a fond memory and little more.  When my wife and I decided to sell our home and move to the warmth of the Florida Space Coast and purchase a veterinary hospital, not only was I not thinking about lacrosse, but I was moving to an area that had ZERO lacrosse!

As life started to get into a rhythm and my wife and I became more settled and made friends in our new community of Viera, Florida, the memories started surfacing again.  Not only was I reflecting on and really missing the game, I began to talk about it more, and with many in my new area not having been exposed to the game, people were genuinely interested.

One evening when I was hanging out with my yard neighbor, Brian, he commented on the evident love that he noted when I talked about lacrosse and suggested that I fulfill that passion though coaching.  I made a mental note that I would keep an eye out for coaching opportunities, but in an area without lacrosse, I did not see that possibility for the foreseeable future.

That weekend, on my way home from golfing driving in my golf cart, I saw a father and his 12 year old son having a lacrosse catch in their front yard.  I could not help but stop and inquire how they learned about lacrosse.  As it turned out, they were part of an effort on the beach side to start a youth lacrosse league.  He told me that they were badly in need of coaches that had real playing experience and that if I was interested, there was a planning meeting that week!

There was far too much coincidence for me to feel that the progression of the conversation with my friend, the chance meeting with a dad and son who was part of an effort to start lacrosse in an area that I moved to that previously had no lacrosse; for me to dismiss this as anything other than something that was meant to be.  I planned to attend that meeting which ultimately would change my life dramatically.

See my next article Vipers Lacrosse for the continuation of my rediscovering the love of the game!

Dr. Roger Welton was a 4 year starter for Montclair State University and was selected as a First Team All Knickerbocker Conference Midfielder in 1995, 1996.  He is the founder of the Viera-Suntree Lacrosse Club and Space Coast Elite Lacrosse Club in Brevard County, Florida.