Photo courtesy of laxlife.eu, made by Ingmar Klienbannink.
Lacrosse in Europe is miles behind concerning development of the sport. The two biggest countries in which lacrosse is played are England and Germany. Close behind that are Scotland, Ireland, The Netherlands and Finland. The Netherlands snatched second place in 2008 at the European Championships in Finland, and came in 8th overall at the World Championships that were played in 2010, losing to Scotland in their final game of the tournament, and thus becoming second in place outside of the blue division, which was filled with the greats of lacrosse; England, Canada, The United States, Australia, Japan and Germany, which filled in the spot left open by the Iroquois Nation, who were forbidden to fly to Europe by the US government. In many countries across Europe, lacrosse is starting to catch on, with many lacrosse teams being formed as we speak. Still developing are countries such as Spain, Poland, Austria and Switzerland. Out of the developing European countries, Poland put up a good show last year at the World Championships, coming in 8th when looking at rising nations present.
Europe is host to several different tournaments, with many being formed to start next year or seeing their first edition this year. Amsterdam Lowlands Tournament, Bluesfest, the Goteborg Classic, the Berlin Open and the Kieler Lacrosse Meeting are just a few of these.
The Kieler Lacrosse Meeting takes place in Germany and is more of a fun tournament than one filled with serious competition, although competitiveness has always been high between the different teams. Blax from Berlin is looking to clinch the title this year and is one of the favorites this year, along with the Crazy Cows, an All-Star team from the Netherlands, which won the KLM last year.
Steffen Lehrke, one of the organizers of the Kieler Lacrosse Meeting was prepared to answer a few questions with regards to the tournament.
1. How long has Kieler Lacrosse Meeting been going on?
Since 1995, 17 times in a row. It is one of the most traditional tournaments in Germany.
2. How many people are you expecting?
About 300 Players
3. How high do you think the level of competition will be this year?
It’s more a fun tournament. So the level is not as high as for example in Berlin (The Berlin Open)
4. Are there any plans to lengthen the tournament, from 2 days to possibly 3 or 4, in the future?
Not really. We are thinking about 16 men and 12 woman teams, but we will keep the tournament at 2 days.
This year, every team will have 6 games in two days. The same number as for example in Amsterdam or Berlin in 3 days. We could have more fields at the area, so I’m sure we could handle 28 teams.
5. What is there to do besides playing lacrosse? Are there stands with gear etc.?
The Prolaxshop will be there and we are selling shirts and sunglasses.
6. Has Kiel ever won the Kieler Lacrosse Meeting?
2 years ago, we were in the final. But I don’t know, if we ever won the tournament.
7. Who do you think will win this year?
Berlin or Crazy Cows
8. What about the women’s tournament? Who is going to be the winner there?
Hamburg, Frankfurt or maybe Kiel
9. Are you promoting the tournament to get people to come and watch and to grow the game?
There will be some newspaper articles before the tournament and everybody is inviting his friends and family.
I also sat down with Guido van de Lindeloof, midfielder for the Crazy Cows, who are the Kieler Lacrosse Meeting defending champions. Their gear was already featured on here, and now we find out a bit more about the Crazy Cows, a travel team from the Netherlands.
1. How many tournaments have the Crazy Cows played in up till now?
Officially 3: the Kieler Lacrosse Meeting 2010 (1st/12), BoxMania Lille 2010 (3rd/8) and the Amsterdam Lowlands Tournament 2011 (8th/18).
2. What are you looking at in the future?
First of all, we are playing at the Kieler Lacrosse Meeting 2011. After that, we aim to visit more tournaments. The plans are to visit a number of different tournaments each summer.
3. What does the team hope to achieve at the Kieler Lacrosse Meeting 2011?
We would like to defend and prolong our title, take home the cup. Looking at the competition this year, we are in for a battle, there are some tough teams this year.
4. What sorts of players make up the Crazy Cows team? Are they All-Stars, MVP’s and All-League players?
Crazy Cows Lacrosse wants players that are competitive players and that are team-players. Players that put points on the board, but moan about the referees or are not friendly towards their teammates have no place in our team. Lacrosse is all about teamwork, and to bring the best game to the table, the whole team has to be on the same level. We want players with team spirit and that respect both for the opposing team and the referees. Next to that, we aim high, so players need to show themselves and excel in their respective teams. Right now, we have many Dutch National Team players on the roster, that are supplemented by rising talents and other valuable players. All the players on the Crazy Cows team play in the Dutch league and 90% of the team is truly Dutch, with a few expat players filling up the roster
5. Are you looking to expand to more custom gear, such as gloves?
That is definitely one of the long-term plans. We started with custom uniforms because that is the most essential for a tournament team. After some players started asking about pink helmets, we also got those (the Cascade CPX is worn by the Crazy Cows). We will definitely be looking to expand our equipment as Crazy Cows Lacrosse is here to stay, and not just a summer team. We want to give players the opportunity to play lacrosse during the summer break, and going to a tournament with your own team is hardly an option when half of the team is enjoying their holiday somewhere else and not even thinking about lacrosse.
6. What is the thought behind the team name? Why did you choose Crazy Cows?
The team name originated during a brainstorm session that was held to come up with a team name for a new team in Groningen, the Netherlands. As Groningen is largely known as a farmers region, Crazy Cows was one of the pitched ideas. For a real team, Crazy Cows Lacrosse was found to be unsuitable, but for a travel team, where you can get a little crazy with the names, it is the perfect team name.
I would like to thank both Steffen and Guido for their time to answer these questions. As you can see, the Kieler Lacrosse Meeting is growing and certainly one of the tournaments you want to be at. I encourage everyone to come over to Europe to sample some of the lacrosse that is going on here, even if it is only during the summer.