A Father's Day Tribute
As we enter Father's Day weekend, I thought it would be
timely to share this essay that was sent to me a few months ago by
a high school player in Redding, California. It's written as a
tribute to her dad, and really, to all lacrosse parents who make
personal sacifices to help support their child's love of the
My Sundays usually start with an early knock on the door reminding
me it is time to get up and get on the road again. I grab a
breakfast burrito, shower, then double check my gear. I toss my
goalie bag in the trunk, then curl up in the back seat with my
blanket, pillow, and ipod. For the next three hours I sleep as we
travel to the Bay Area for practice.
When I awake for the second time it will be time to get my game on:
two hours of goalie training with Julia Southard, lunch, two or
more hours of training with Triple Threat varsity team, dinner,
then homework as we make the three hour drive home. Believe it or
not, this very long day is just the start of my weekly ritual that
includes daily conditioning before school and goalie training in
the afternoons when weather permits.
In isolated west coast towns like Redding, lacrosse is a struggling
rec-league novelty. Few play and fewer aspire to compete at the
college level. We don't have high school teams, travel teams,
trainers, camps, or varsity clinics. The local sporting goods store
doesn't stock goalie gear, and no one knows how to string a head.
Forget about finding a referee within a hundred and fifty miles. So
if you live in a town like Redding and want to be a D1 player, it
is going to take some extraordinary commitment from your family.
Fortunately for me, my dad is all about that.
My father drives six to eight hours to get me to a practice or
clinic. Twice that for an out-of-town game. He's the first to get
up in the morning, and actually conditions with me before school
each day. On weekends he packs our travel lunch and quietly fills
the gas tank while I sleep. He keeps me focused when I'm
frustrated, hydrated when training, and is never too tired to shoot
yellow balls at me till the sun sets. While I am at school he's
patching together a highlight video for us to study. When I'm
tired, his smile asks for "ten more". Somehow, he also finds
time to work, serve on the school board, and volunteer for the
local lacrosse program.
What my father does to support my dream surprises everyone, and I
think that parents like him are unsung heroes in the story about
the rapid growth of lacrosse. They are the roots of the sport that
no one sees. I would nominate them for "lacrosse parents of the
year", but if they are like my dad they probably think it's silly
to be recognized for doing what you love. Still, I want to
acknowledge all the parents in isolated communities who silently
make extra-extraordinary sacrifices. Their heart quietly feeds the
soul of our game.
Rowan "Rohawk" Chamberlain
Triple Threat Varsity Team (#41)
Interested in reading more about good and bad sports parenting?
If so, please click on this link to an article that
appeared last year on www.thepostgame.com. Lots of
Happy Father's Day.