Vimy Summer Lacrosse Trip – Day 10, 11 & 12

Posted: July 23, 2013 by Paul Rai in Alberta Lacrosse, Field Lacrosse, Vimy Lacrosse

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The final leg of the trip saw both teams participating in the Beast of the East Tournament at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst campus. On the first day of the tournament the forecasted weather was for thunderstorms so we were all worried, especially after being rained on so heavily the previous weekend. Luckily for us the Saturday was hot, very hot and we were able to get all six scheduled games in. The U13 team played extremely well on the Saturday winning each game handily. The U15 team went 2 – 1 for the day, winning the first one easily, the second game by a goal and then losing badly to a very skilled team. The overall assessment for the day was very positive. The U13 team faced competition that was not as strong as the previous weekend, but their overall execution was much better and their confidence in the field game was improved. The U15 team competed as hard as they did the previous weekend; playing with intensity and passion. It was a beautiful day, very tiring for the boys, but very successful. It was great playing against different competition and seeing all the talented lacrosse teams that exist in the New England area.

The day ended back at the hotel with a huge pizza dinner for the kids. We sure ate a lot of pizza during this trip. One thing that has been a huge advantage for the entire group is the food, drinks and game day preparation. The parent group was exceptional at ensuring there was water, Gatorade, food and ice at every game. We were prepared, purchasing tents, coolers and water jugs as soon as we arrived in the US. Our overall preparation enabled both teams to focus on playing and not worrying about searching out ice or water during the heat of the day.

The second day of the tournament was a great success for both teams. They both earned an early morning victory putting both teams in the championships game of the tournament. The U13 team played Next Level and controlled the play most of the game. The Next Level goalie was exceptional making numerous doorstep saves before the Vimy team was able to solve him. The U13 team ended up winning the game and the Championship 10-5 in the final game. It was a total team effort as so many different players contributed to the victory.

The U15 team struggled in the final, getting down early before trying to put together a little bit of a surge. They ended up losing 7 – 3 in the final and their downfall were the numerous unforced turnovers during the game. The clearing game was poor and the bad passes contributed to the loss. The play was sloppy and the disappointing thing about this was that the entire tournament was sharp for the kids. They were tired and mentally exhausted during the final game.   The heat may have played a part, but the kids knew they passed up a great opportunity to win the Championship.

The final day or days of the trip consisted of a van ride to the Newark airport, a three hour delayed flight to Calgary and an extra night stay in Calgary. Our flight delay out of Newark caused us to miss our connecting flight from Calgary to Edmonton. It was like the kids wanted the trip to last even longer and the delay was only part of their grand design to be with each other even longer than planned. I will give credit to the kids. They handled the delay well, did not complain and then got up at 5 AM to catch the early flight to Edmonton.

When I look back on the tournament and the entire trip I can only think about how much the kids learned and the memories they created. They crammed a lot of things into 11 days and the amount of field lacrosse they played will be invaluable to their overall development. They were able to see and play some great lacrosse and they realized how big of a game it is in the Eastern United States. Their eyes were opened and I hope their desire to improve their game will only grow. These kids from Vimy represented themselves with class and sportsmanship. I was amazed at the camaraderie and how the older players were so accommodating to the younger players. The bonds that these kids developed will forever be more important than the lacrosse. This was not so much a lacrosse trip as it was a life trip.

For me I am extremely proud of the effort that every single player put into the games and how they behaved away from the field. I push the kids hard, I yell at them and I challenge them. But there is one thing that I know for sure and that is that I care about them and I love them. I have coached so many of them for several years and I truly care deeply about these young kids. I want them to be successful and I wish them only the best as they go forward in lacrosse and life. It has been an honor for me to be involved with this trip and coach them. I have enjoyed it immensely and I am thankful for the opportunity. It was a blast.

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