August 16, 2010

This column by Lacrosse Magazine editor Paul Krome appears in the August issue. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 300,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

Sport Needs Coaches, Media to Cooperate

by Paul Krome | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Lacrosse media and coaches are in a position to positively influence the sport's growth through cooperation, writes LM editor Paul Krome.

© Kevin P. Tucker

During the season, I attended a high school boys’ lacrosse game that paired defending state champions.

Both teams had gotten off to great starts in 2010, so the game attracted its share of local media. A 90-minute drive in rush-hour traffic on a weeknight probably kept the crowd size modest.

Not much went right for the visitors, who had the talent to keep pace with the hosts but for whatever reason just couldn’t get out of their own way. Unforced errors, some unintelligent play and a hot home team produced a five-goal loss. Every team has an off night.

After the game I meandered over to the visitors’ bench and shook hands with the head coach. The players had already started packing up their gear.

“Do you have a minute to talk?”

“Actually I’m not in the mood to talk to anyone. I’m out of here.”

With that, he turned and left.

I was momentarily dumbfounded.

Now, I’ve been rejected plenty of times — by prospective employers, by women and by athletes and coaches. So I didn’t take offense to the coach not talking to me. But I was bothered that he didn’t want to talk.

I walked over to the home team coach. He talked about his college-bound senior players and some underclassmen to watch in future seasons, and he shared some insights into the topsy-turvy world of recruiting.

After speaking with him, I couldn’t help but think his counterpart missed a golden opportunity to talk about his players and program, despite their unusually sub-par performance.

I know he was angry after the loss, and I would’ve been, too, because everyone knew his team was better than its performance. But the coach still had an opportunity to talk shop and accentuate some positives about his players.

David Jacobson, our colleague at Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), provides some thoughts on coaches’ role with the media in his monthly “PCA Power Bar” column, but I would submit that lacrosse needs all the publicity it can get.

Coaches can be primary generators of positive publicity for their players.

As much as we all love this sport and are working hard to help it grow, when compared to the big boys like football, basketball and baseball, it’s still just lacrosse.

Given that stature, I don’t think lacrosse coaches are in a position to blow off the media, regardless of what mood they’re in after a game. Doing so hurts the growth of the game, not to mention fostering a negative impression of their programs.

Hopefully we can take a deep breath and remember that we’re all on lacrosse’s team.



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