Hello LPG readers, my name is Pat Byrnes. I recently played at and graduated from Loyola Maryland this past spring. I decided to head to Chicago to help grow the sport of lacrosse. The Midwest is not traditionally considered a lacrosse hot bed and one of my main goals is to change that. Along with reporting about lacrosse out here I will also be talking about the lifestyle and culture in Chicago.
I packed up my Toyota 4Runner and drove out here about a month ago to begin coaching and growing the sport of lacrosse with my roommate and good friend Jake Padilla. Jake is from the Chicago area and played at Hobart in upstate New York. The Windy City is beginning to live up to the name as the fall weather is starting to set in. Girls are putting away their sundresses (unfortunately) and guys everywhere are pulling out their best looking flannels.
My original opinion on Midwest lacrosse was that of the majority of the lacrosse world. I assumed that lacrosse out here was largely undeveloped and a lower tier of skill at all levels. My assumption was sorely mistaken. Lacrosse is growing rapidly out here, and the skill level of these kids rivals many East Coast hot beds. Although I was mistaken with my assumption with the skill level of lacrosse, I was not mistaken with what I had heard about the quality of life and kindness that seems to be found with all people out here.
Talking with friends and family from back home in Mendham, New Jersey I hear the same question over and over, “Is everyone as nice out there as people say they are?” I have to confirm each time that it is true. I have yet to have a bad experience with a young lacrosse player or a family which makes the transition to the Midwest a much more enjoyable one. My roommate, Jake, is the one who convinced me to make the trip out to Chicago, he founded and operates a club team called Deep Dish Lacrosse which has a ton of potential. For those of you who don’t know, Chicago is known for its pizza, specifically its deep-dish pizza. If you are ever in the Chicago area, don’t eat deep-dish pizza with your hands, use a knife and fork, I learned from first hand experience.
Chicago I have found is an incredible sports town. Being a Yankees and Giants fan growing up I have been fortunate enough to see Super Bowl and World Series titles on more then one occasion. Living just a short walk from Wrigley Field I got to experience my first Cubs game and it was tough to watch to say the least. Although the score and season hadn’t gone their way the fans still stayed loyal and supported the Cubs even when playoff hopes were long gone. I feel like that says a lot about the type of people that live in this city.
Here is a little bit more information on our club team. Deep Dish Lacrosse is an elite traveling lacrosse program that uses a fundamental approach to producing success on and off the field. With small teams, selected players are taught in the most intimate, effective, and progressively consistent of ways. Each team within the program is taught the same philosophy on a positional, individual, and team level. Deep Dish Lacrosse uses a family atmosphere to make sure that everyone who comes into the program, or is who affiliated with the program feels as comfortable as possible. With Chicago lacrosse growing at such an incredible rate, Deep Dish Lacrosse wants to make sure that the best players are given the best possible opportunities.
Stay tuned to Lacrosse Playground for future updates on not only the progress of lacrosse in the Midwest but also the lifestyle that comes with living in the Chicago land area.