The following story is written by Tim Lawrence, the Head Coach of the Colonial High School Grenadiers in Orlando, FL. His team was chosen by True Temper Lacrosse to receive custom TTL shafts based on his response to a contest asking what your team has accomplished, on or off the field, that you are most proud of. Here’s Coach Lawrence’s response that got his team hooked up:
When I came to teach at Colonial High School, I was fresh out of college and not looking to do anything outside of trying to be the best teacher I could be. I was in my first year of teaching and teaching three different subjects. In fact the girl’s lacrosse coach from when I was in high school was the Assistant Principal that hired me. It’s funny how strong the bond of a lacrosse family can be.
I knew the Colonial team was in disarray. The last coach had been fired after multiple fights, numerous player ejections, and forfeiting at half time during an intense game. The team had only 19 players, but they were dying to keep the sport alive at the school – they just need a coach.
I saw a kid bouncing a lacrosse ball and casually mentioned to him that I played. During lunch that same day I had the whole team outside of my classroom asking me to take the coaching position. How could I say no?
We struggled that first year, losing every game – it is hard to win when only two players on your team have more than two years of experience. We had no depth on our team, barely running three midfield lines, with no attack or defensive subs. But the guys had fun and they did the one thing I asked of them, to play with class. We had zero fights, no ejections, and the second highest overall GPA for any team in the school. We may have lost every game, but at least we got to play.
The 2012 season is over and done with and our team has grown tremendously. We just about doubled our roster, from 19 to 31. We tripled our amount of goals scored compared to last year, and we won two games this year (with two more one goal loss heart breakers).
I was awarded East Metro Coach of the Year which I directly attribute to the class my players displayed on the field every game – they never lost their cool even though most of our games were 20 goal blow outs.
Lacrosse is an expensive sport to play. While we scour local used retailers for equipment and purchase it out of our own pocket – there are limits to what myself and my assistant coach can put into the team.
With the school being very low-income with a 92% of the kids on free lunch – we needed all the help we could get. That’s when TrueTemper Lacrosse stepped up.
Shafts are expensive, especially d-poles. The cheap aluminum ones my players can afford break quickly and cannot always be replaced by the players due to cost. True Temper has offered to provide us with a custom lacrosse shaft for all of our players. This will help us continue to grow the sport of lacrosse in our community and provide an opportunity to play to a group of kids that otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
I know my team will probably never win a state championship – but that’s not our goal. Our mascot may be the Grenadiers, but we call ourselves the G-Men. I expect my players to be gentlemen on the field and in the hallways at school – and so far they have lived up to that challenge.
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