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posted 06.14.2013 at 2.00 p.m. by Paul Ohanian

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 game.
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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
Goalie
Triple Threat Varsity Team (#41)
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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 valuable information.

Happy Father's Day.