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Growing The Game in Israel Update #2: Taking Things Into Perspective

By Micah Stalarow, 03/01/18, 8:00AM CST


Update from Israel #2: Taking Things into Perspective

Last week my players practiced in the dark :-(


Last week my players practiced in the dark :-)


One of my roles here is to develop youth lacrosse in the city of Kfar Yona, a suburb of the more metropolitan Netanya where lacrosse is a few years established with multiple youth teams. Youth lacrosse in Israel for U15 players is played in 7v7 fashion (short field, two of every position and a goalie), and I have twelve dedicated players with a budding passion for a sport that I deeply cherish.


On two occasions the lights have been cut off for our practice. Once before practice even started, once in the middle of practice. The reasoning, at its core, is because we are so new that we can easily hit the backburner. The first time it happened, my players, without hesitation, began practicing ground balls. The second time it happened, my team captain turned on a phone light and we had a chalk talk.


This was a beautiful moment for the sport. These players have since gone on to win their first game, get challenged by the opposing team to a re-match, then win again. They bring their friends and siblings to practice. They text me videos of them playing wall ball and ask, “Am I doing this right?”  They help my Hebrew; I help their English. Their parents invite me into their homes for dinner.


This is only MY example of the passion exuding from the youth players of this country in determination to carry the torch that their transplant predecessors have set. About three weeks ago the mayor of the aforementioned city of Netanya, a sports channel film crew, and the CEO of the Federation of International Lacrosse came out to see one of the Netanya youth games that featured a national team mini-practice in the beginning.


It was overdue experience for the meritorious youth players of Netanya that have been key figures in giving lacrosse its glowing reputation amongst our community. That afternoon was reaffirmed and hoisted higher when a newspaper article from one of Israel’s largest and most reputable sources released an article on Israel Lacrosse’s rise. The cherry on top of it all was making such an impression on the mayor of Netanya that she changed her cover photo on Facebook to our group picture with her.


Last week my players practiced in dark :-) And back in Texas that is a sentence that would make me more upset with field managers than proud of my players. One thing I have learned here is that nothing can be taken for granted on or off the field. Israelis embody that, utilizing every centimeter of physical and mental space to push the limits of impossible to possible.


Do you feel like you are going to miss out if you are not here in July? You should. Email me if you want information on anything going on from the overall experience, to the festival, the IPLL, internships, Birthright, and more.


The World Is Coming. Are You?


Haaretz article on Israel Lacrosse’s rise.