“Commit Fully” and the End of Season Awards

My final message this season is a simple one: C​OMMIT FULLY.​

Now that the season is over, we have the opportunity to look back and assess how far we came. Whether you started six months ago or six years ago, there was a period of time where you were still new to the sport. Remember when you couldn’t throw the ball to the box? Remember when you couldn’t catch? Remember how scary ground balls were? Look at how far you’ve all come!

If you want to get better at lacrosse, or anything for that matter, you must commit fully. I don’t mean you need to commit your entire life, I mean you need to commit your entire a​ttention.​Divided focus has no aim and no benefit. Put everything else away, and I mean e​verything.​When you get out on the lacrosse the field, you forget about everything that i​sn’t helping you​become a better lacrosse player. Forget about your chit-chat, forget about your cellphone, forget about what grade you’re in and how old you are. All of these menial things are clouding your focus on your singular goal of becoming a better lacrosse player. If you give 100% of your attention during practices and workouts, you w​ill​get better. It’s really as simple as that.

You are the only one in control of your attention, and the fruits of your labor are a direct result of your attention. If you only give 70% of your attention to something, you cannot expect anything more than that when it comes to game time. The kids who give 100% of their attention to practice are the players that make a difference. The players we lean on. The best players. All you have to do is commit fully.

Here’s a quote my father wanted me to read, and I think it makes a good point:
“It is not the critic counts, not the man who who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again; but who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. His place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

– President Teddy Roosevelt

Now to the AWARDS…

2015 CALABASAS LACROSSE, JUNIOR VARSITY – DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR 

When a young program has so many brand new players, we occasionally find ourselves relying on our most experienced, confident players. Inexperienced lacrosse teams often find themselves forced to play more defense than offense, so there’s even more weight on the shoulders of the few experienced long poles. Lucky for us, we had a great mixture of new and experienced.

The Defensive Player of the year made his presence known at every practice and every game. Unfortunately, it was equally apparent when he wasn’t out on the field or at practice. His communication, physical play, and lacrosse knowledge allows him to not only excel, but he also elevates the gameplay of those playing around him.

The fact this player is a Freshmen should give his teammates and the entire program confidence, because this defense is confidently growing stronger and smarter with every practice. That’s ultimately what earned him a spot on the Varsity roster for a late game this season. And if he chooses to remain focused and committed to the lacrosse program, our defense will continue to get stronger over the next three years (and beyond).

We sure hope he does.

The 2015 Calabasas Lacrosse Program, Junior Varsity Defensive Player of the Year, with over 30 ground balls and 1 assist, is Max Statham.

2015 CALABASAS LACROSSE, JUNIOR VARSITY – OFFENSIVE PLATER OF THE YEAR 

Leadership is action, not a title.​Ideally, one results in the other. Sometimes you have both.

The Offensive Player of the Year is the one that demonstrates their passion and knowledge of lacrosse by orchestrating the team’s offense. This doesn’t just apply to extra man situations or even gameplay, this applies even more when it comes to practice and time on the wall.

The Offensive Player of the Year doesn’t just go through the motions. He is watching and learning. He makes observations and then applies them. He watches the opposition and makes suggestions about changing plays or strategies. He is relentless in his pursuit of perfection and is, often times, his own worst critic.

If I could describe this player with one word, it would be p​assion.​He’s consistently among the first to arrive at practice, and more often than not, one of the last to leave. It’s obvious this player loves the sport and his teammates. He comes to practice with suggestions for new plays, speaks up with constructive observations in the huddle, and despite his size, never shied away from giving it his all.

The 2015 Calabasas Lacrosse Program, Junior Varsity Offensive Player of the Year, with 12 goals, 7 assists, and 21 ground balls, is I​an “Bean” Drescher.​

2015 CALABASAS LACROSSE, JUNIOR VARSITY – SPIRIT AWARD 

The Spirit Award i​s an award that is given to the player that best personifies the “spirit” of lacrosse. The recipient is the player that has fully embraced the challenge of the sport, growing stronger and more confident day after day, not only as a lacrosse player but as a human being as well, and doing it all with a smile on his face.

The recipient of the Spirit Award is the player that best exemplifies the kind of player we should all strive to be. Eager, positive, receptive, energetic, respectful, supportive, and inspirational are just a few of the words that have been used to describe this player. I would add to that list multi-talented, motivated, stolid and entertaining.

This year we expanded to two teams, living us in a limbo with our goalies. After some consideration, this player recognized we were in the need of a goalie and embraced the challenge. He’d never played goalie before but volunteered because the program, the entire program, was in need of another goalie. It wasn’t always easy or fun, but ultimately, he found the opportunity to shine.

With 99 Saves (including 28 in a single game) and 5 Ground Balls…

The 2015 Calabasas Lacrosse Program’s Spirit Award is awarded to Preston Steinberg.​

2015 CALABASAS LACROSSE, VARSITY – DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

The Defensive Player of the Year is a title that is earned proudly with a solid punch in the chin. And when a team is outscored on an average of nearly 3-to-1, a defensive player’s true character is ultimately revealed. It is never easy to go out, game after game, knowing each game will be a relentless, painful, challenge that will most likely end in a loss. The player that never gives up hope and plays their position the best they could regardless of the outcome… t​hat player i​s the Defensive Player of the Year.

Like life, communication is essential in playing team defense. Learning how to work as “one unit” cannot rest solely on the shoulders of one player, it is a growing process that every team must go through. Strongly embracing the building process, growing as a player, and expanding your lacrosse IQ is what turns a defensive p​layer​into a defensive l​eader​into a team c​aptain.​

The Defensive Player of the Year was a player that consistently brought with him a positive attitude, from the park in September through turf on May 1. The Defensive Player of the Year was a team player, encouraging his friends and teammates from the sideline and between the pipes. He made it apparent to me, over and over, that he was willing to do whatever he could to help the team succeed.

With 105 saves, nobody can say he didn’t hold up his end of the deal.

The 2015 Calabasas Lacrosse Program’s Defensive Player of the Year is your Captain, G​riffin Gordon . ​

2015 CALABASAS LACROSSE, VARSITY – OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

The Offensive Player of the Year goes to the player that made the greatest impact on the execution of the team’s offensive strategy. His leadership, guidance and hard work sculpted the team’s offensive presence. On a team such as ours, we are fortunate to have many of these quality offensive players, but ultimately, only one can be given the title of the Offensive Player of the Year.

High point-generating teams only require a handful of statistics to determine their best offensive player. This season our program didn’t generate as many points as we’d hoped, so we may also look at other factors, including effort and impact.

When he wanted to, the Offensive Player of the Year brought an unparalleled level of hustle and effort to our team, which is why the offense often revolved around him when he was on the field. When the ball hit the ground, he wasn’t afraid to get involved and get physical, resulting in more ground balls than any other player on the team (defensemen included!).

At times it appeared nobody could match his effort. In fact, our offense often heavily relied on him. It was very apparent to everyone when the Offensive Player of the Year was out of the game, so there was no surprise that when he was out on the field, he was the center of attention. He attempted over 100 shots, converting for a team high of 21 goals.

It’s okay, Kobe Bryant leads the NBA in missed field goals too.

The 2015 Calabasas Lacrosse Program’s Offensive Player of the Year is J​ack Korchek.​

2015 CALABASAS LACROSSE, VARSITY – MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

The Most Valuable Player on a team is rarely difficult to determine if you know what you’re looking for. The easiest way is to look for all the easily quantifiable indicators, in lacrosse that would be goals, assists and ground ball statistics. But that’s only a small fraction of what determines the Most Valuable Player.

How can I tell which player is the Most Valuable Player?

The Most Valuable Player is coachable, enthusiastic and respectful.
The Most Valuable Player sets the bar, physically and emotionally, during practices and games.
The Most Valuable Player recognizes the needs of the team over his own, individual desires.
The Most Valuable Player is eager to get involved, while others may be hesitant or nervous.
The Most Valuable Player is in the middle of the huddle, because he wants to be there. The Most Valuable Player is willing to try and risks, then learns from the experience. The Most Valuable Player brings a positive attitude to every practice, and understands that the learning process is never over.
The Most Valuable Player never settles for “good enough.” He wants to keep getting better.
The Most Valuable Player loves to see his teammates succeed.
The Most Valuable Player keeps his focus, even when it seems easy or hopeless.
The Most Valuable Player is the player that brings his best version of himself to the field.

This year’s Most Valuable Player had 23 Goals, 11 Assists, over 30 Ground Balls, and 1 Save, earning him an All-League H​onorable Mention. S​hort pole, long pole, goalie stick, it’s no surprise…

The 2015 Calabasas Lacrosse Program’s Most Valuable Player is N​eil Villadolid.​

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