Lax Bash Tournaments brought the Halloween spirit to the Midwest lacrosse tournament scene in October with their annual Boo Bash tournaments. Lax Bash is a Michigan-based tournament provider that provides tournament opportunities from U10 to Varsity for boys and girls divisions.
The Boo Bash encourages players, officials, coaches, and spectators to all join in on the Halloween fun by dressing up. The tournament hosts a costume contest sponsored by Maverik. Players must wear their costumes in games to be eligible.
It’s not all fun and games though, the tournaments welcome some of the top teams and competition from the Midwest. This was an early goal when Brian Kaminskas and his brother Mike started the Boo Bash eleven years ago. “We want to build an environment that helps teams create memories and grow closer as they prepare for the spring season.”
Lax Bash currently puts on two Boo Bash tournaments each fall. The first was held at the Eriebank Sports Park October 22-23 in Erie, Pennsylvania.
The Michigan Boo Bash is one of the largest lacrosse tournaments in the Midwest. It was held October 30-31 at Seymour Lake Park in Oxford, Michigan.
The two tournaments brought in a combined 186 boys and girls teams, 94 of which were high school teams, from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Ontario, Canada.
The Boo Bash provided the athletes with an opportunity to showcase their skills to 85 college coaches coming from D1, D2, D3, MCLA, WLCA, and NAIA schools.
In order to get a better understanding of what the Boo Bash experience is like, I spoke with a number of former players, parents, officials, and club directors about what made Boo Bash so unique.
Helping to Grow the Girl’s Game
Lax Bash runs tournaments for boys and girls lacrosse. They were one of the first providers in the Midwest to provide a tournament for the girl’s games. I spoke with two local coaches to find out more about their experience with their teams at Boo Bash and other Lax Bash tournaments. I first spoke with Triumph Lacrosse director Chris Merucci who spoke about how Lax Bash has helped his program and girls’ lacrosse thrive in the Midwest.
Lax Bash was one of the first event providers in Michigan to truly embrace and celebrate the girls’ game. Lax Bash heard and answered the need for there to be equal opportunities for youth and high school girls to learn and play the great game of lacrosse in this area.
In 2013, when I founded Triumph, girls’ lacrosse in Michigan was decades behind areas like the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the country. Thanks to the many local lacrosse events offered by Lax Bash and other regional event providers, who embrace support and help grow the awareness of the girls’ game in the Midwest, we have significantly closed that gap.
In the last 5 years we’ve seen college commitments of our girls to the highest-level NCAA programs in the country such as Michigan, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Syracuse, multiple other NCAA D1 programs, as well as hundreds more athletes to D2, D3, NAIA, and WLCA.
I can say with 100% certainty that without the opportunities, support and awareness from event providers like Lax Bash and other regional events, these student-athletes and many more would not have had the successes they have had at the national level.
Emma Wallace-Kuehl is the director of Michigan Lakers Lacrosse and the head coach at Detroit Country Day School. She found the Boo Bash was a great display of the growth and the talent in the girl’s game from the midwestern teams.
I thought the day was very competitive, with a great mix of teams from all over Michigan. I saw a lot of talented lacrosse players at both the high school and middle school levels which is very encouraging for the growth of the sport in the state. Having the girls’ fields all in one location may seem trivial, BUT it made it easy to watch other games during our team’s breaks. It was fun to see the talent that clubs and schools are producing, it’s obvious that the athletes are working on their craft!
I spoke earlier about the costume contest. I wanted to find out more, was it something that players and coaches took seriously? The answer was a resounding yes. Mike Kaminskas, a Lax Bash co-founder, has two girls who played in the tournament. He spoke of how the customer decisions were a topic of constant conversation for his girls and their teammates.
All year they look forward to playing in this event. In fact, that’s all I hear about from Spring to Fall. The outfit they choose to change from month to month builds into the event. May it’s Hula girls, July its clowns, September it was blowing up dinosaurs. Here we are in October and we have settled on minions.
The girls enjoy how much fun they have dressing with their friends, letting loose, and playing the creator’s game. I think it provides them an opportunity to just be themselves and play the game they love.
Wallace-Kuehl also found the costumes added a bit of levity to the tournament and play on the field.
Aside from lacrosse the costumes and spooky theme add some fun and levity, breaking the hyper-competitive atmosphere we often find ourselves in as athletes and coaches. It’s nice to break out of our shells and bring a little silliness to the mix! A great day to celebrate women’s lacrosse!
A Community Feel
Talking with various people that have participated in Boo Bash, the common themes in all of their responses was the amount of fun they had at the tournament and the sense of community it brought to the players, coaches, and parents. Tyler Hart, a goalie and senior captain for the University of Detroit Mercy, talked about how much he and his friends looked forward to playing in Boo Bash.
As a player, Boo Bash was always the most exciting event of the year. With the elongated spring season, attending all the prospect days, you get exhausted and by the time fall ball hits, you’re almost burnt out. Boo Bash reminds you why you play. The tournament is mostly festival games, you’re playing with all your friends, and you get to pick out your team onesies. The coaches, refs, and parents, are all wearing costumes, and there’s music playing,
My favorite Boo Bash memory is creating a superteam my senior year with all of our travel buddies and mixing my Brighton boys with my old lake Orion friends and everyone cracking jokes, having fun and most importantly winning. The team ends up sticking together and we still play summer ball together.
Sean Higgins runs Stinson Mellor Lacrosse Company. He sets up his shop at tournaments all over the midwest and East Coast. Besides always having some really good tunes coming out of his store, he is also known as the stringing king of the tournaments. Higgins shared what helps set the Boo Bash apart from other fall tournaments that he participates in.
I think Boo Bash has cemented itself as the anchor tournament for fall ball. Teams really embrace the fun of the costumes. Rochester Adams High School and Lake Orion High School always come out strong with their costumes. My kids grew up playing Boo Bash. This will be the first year without one of my kids playing in it. For my wife and I, Boo Bash is a chance to see friends from across the state. To catch up on how their kids are doing. It’s like a lacrosse extended family reunion.
Finally, I spoke with an official and a parent, Josh Pate. Josh helped to capture the significance and the greater meaning of Boo Bash.
I’ve been to nearly every Boo Bash in the last ten years, either as a parent or an official, and sometimes both! The weather doesn’t always cooperate, but everyone always seems to have a good time. I’ve always enjoyed it when teams take part in the event with unique team names, special uniforms, and costumes. If you’re coming to Boo Bash only to win games and get a “championship” t-shirt, you’ve missed the point.
The Boo Bash has one of the most extensive Vendor Villages that you will find at a tournament. From getting your stick strung to getting all of your lacrosse apparel needs, Boo Bash offers a variety of food options, from Starbucks to Cinnabons, a vegetarian food truck, and their very own pit master. The Boo Bash has something for everybody.
There is an all-day vendor trick or treat. This year, the vendors distributed over 300 lbs. of candy, including LAX BASH candy bars!
In the spirit of Halloween, I asked each participant what their favorite candy was. Twix topped the list, with Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins coming in a close second.
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