Count Seau, Gait Among U15 Lax Fest Fans
by J. Jude Hazard | Special to Lacrosse Magazine Online
|San Diego All-Stars midfielder Jake Seau, son of NFL linebacker Junior Seau, participates Saturday in the US Lacrosse U15 Lax Fest in Lake George, N.Y.|
LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. -- Fourteen-year-old Jake
Seau jogged to meet his dad Saturday at the 2010 US Lacrosse U15
Lax Fest, presented by Warrior, just moments after his team won its
game on a last-minute goal. His father, NFL linebacker Junior Seau,
knows a thing or two about sports.
“I like coming out here. I like the competition,” said Jake, a midfielder on the San Diego All-Stars. “If we can stand up to kids from Maryland and New York, it really gives us that confidence we need to excel in what we’re doing in San Diego.”
Hundreds of boys and girls on 35 teams participated in the lacrosse festival Father’s Day weekend at Golden Goal Tournament Park in Lake George, about 70 miles north of Albany.
No champions were crowned and no MVPs were named during the event. Instead, Lax Fest stressed the all-around experience for players both on and off the field.
After watching his son’s game, Junior Seau called lacrosse an exciting sport that requires lots of technique and said he was glad Jake had an opportunity to play on the East Coast.
“I can’t get a better Father’s Day gift than to see him running around, enjoying himself and coming off the field healthy,” he said. “I’m just happy that my son gets to enjoy it.”
This is Jake’s second year playing lacrosse. He also plays football, not surprisingly as a linebacker and running back. He said the fact that his father is a professional athlete drives him to do better in sports.
“Having my dad be a professional player in the NFL and still come here and support me playing not just football, but my other sports like this, it’s great,” Jake said.
According to Jake Seau’s coach, Scott O’Donnell, 80 boys from several San Diego-area schools tried out for the 22-member San Diego All-Stars.
“These kids are getting the opportunity to play year-round in San Diego now. We just finished the middle school season and there were 40 seventh- and eighth-grade teams in San Diego alone,” O’Donnell said. “Years ago we probably couldn’t compete with the East Coast teams, but now we’re able to do it.”
Teams resided in an athlete village on the tournament grounds. The weekend schedule included five games per team, group meals, vendors and social events.
"It’s just a great opportunity for the boys to get to spend time together and come play with kids throughout San Diego that they’re going to compete against all through high school,” O’Donnell said. “This is a great facility and we’re really happy to get the opportunity to come out here and play all these teams.”
Junior Seau said the young athletes build sportsmanship by traveling and staying together.“It helps them grow,” he said. “There’s a lot of experiences that they have going on right now.”
Hall of Famer and Syracuse women’s lacrosse coach Gary Gait was the coach and chaperone for his son Braedon’s Team Upstate (NY). He said the weekend allowed him to share some of his childhood memories with his son.
“It’s a festival. It’s a fun event and we’re certainly enjoying it,” Gait said. “It’s just a great way to grow up when you love doing something like this.”