As soon as the Grow The Game Tour ended, we knew we had just completed something very meaningful for the growth of the game. We had just helped bring high-quality lacrosse education to hundreds of young athletes throughout the Western region. The Tour isn’t some grand marketing technique; it is our goal, our mission, our passion and a huge part of why we come to work each day.
To continue our mission of Growing The Game nationwide, we aim to reach out to communities all lacrosse America to find out who we can help next. We want kids everywhere to be able to share in the same joy that was brought to hundreds of players along the first tour as they were able to learn directly from some of the best players in the world.
The best part about the tour is that it isn’t some ‘cookie cutter’ event. Each stop is unique and directed to exclusively fit the needs of the community hosting it. Between LaxAllStars.com and Easton Lacrosse, we have the perfect team to Grow The Game. Now it’s time to figure out where to go next.
Do you know of a community we should reach out to? Please contact us and let us know.
The City by the Bay lived up to the hype and turned out to be the perfect ending for our first-ever Grow The Game Tour. The San Francisco stop would be comprised of two days at two different venues. For the first day, we would head out to the Firewhawks Lacrosse program in Redwood City, CA, followed by another event the following day at the San Francisco Fall Classic alongside the Ohio State vs. Lehigh game.
Our day with Firehawks was a blast and each clinic was fully loaded with young players, eager to take in all of the lessons from the coaches in attendance. Not only were Mike Powell and Matt Gibson in attendance, Easton brought out the big guns in the Kim brothers and Doug Appleton. As if this wasn’t a great team already, Johnny Christmas (who is a regular with the program) came out for the day as well. If that doesn’t get you excited for lacrosse, we don’t know what would.
From fundamental skills to stick tricks, players took every second they could to practice their new skills, only leaving once their parents dragged them from the field.
The following day, we packed up the Dutchie one last time and headed off to Kaiser Stadium in San Francisco. While not being able to put on a full blown clinic, we had a great group of kids show up, full of excitement and enthusiasm. Easton Lacrosse donated a ton of sticks to the group and gave the kids a great demo on the sport of lacrosse.
Check out some of our favorite memories from San Francisco below.
As soon as we secured a stop in Portland, we knew we would have to team up with Rhino Lacrosse to put on something super fun and extra special. With Easton Lacrosse talents Mike Powell and Matt Gibson on the Dutchie, the Rhino gang got the idea to put on the 2012 GTG 3.3 tournament with Rhino Lacrosse (against pros!) to help complement our stop there.
After a couple days of catch-up and hard work in Portland, we packed up the RV and headed out to a local high school to take in the GTG Tour stop in Portland. The event would take place under the lights on the tennis courts at the school, the perfect atmosphere for some game growing. Ryan Powell, Mike Powell, and Matt Gibson warmed up and began the onslaught of young laxers. It was a spectacular event and any team that wasn’t playing, was either anxiously waiting for their turn or taking in the Grow The Game activities on the other half of the courts.
The night ended with three exhausted pros and a ton of hyped up kids. What better way to inspire the future of lacrosse, then to allow them to play with three of the best players in sport?
Check out some of our favorite memories from Portland below.
Even as lacrosse has grown, it has continued to remain a small community, if nothing more than as a mindset. This was never more prevalent than while in Seattle. We were able to be a part in the Seatown Classic at the Starfire Sports Complex between Denver and Maryland. We set up a booth and were allowed to put on impromptu clinics and games with everyone who came by on a smaller field located right next to the main one where the game would be played.
Lacrosse enthusiasts young and old would be walking by our booth checking out the sites and immediately do a double take when they would notice Mike Powell doing stick tricks and hanging out in front of the giant Grow The Game Tour banner. You couldn’t help but smile when each player would be immediately overcome with shyness as they nudged their buddy, who also stood there a little starstruck. After a little coaxing from each other or one of the GTG Tour staff members, the players would hustle over and begin to absorb every word Mike spoke. This was the theme throughout the entire day.
We were able to also walk around the complex and check out some of the other events going on – there was a coaches clinic, practices with the Denver and Maryland players, and then of course, the Grow The Game Tour! This was a wonderful day for lacrosse in Seattle and was capped off by a very competitive and fun game between both teams in front of a sold out crowd.
Check out some of our favorite memories from Seattle below.
After an inspiring trip first leg of our trip, the entire GTG Crew was nothing but excited to hit the road for round two. Our first stop would be Hermiston, Oregon, while on the way up to Seattle for the Seatown Classic.
We packed up the headed for Hermiston. As we drove across Oregon, the clouds start to gather and brought about a pretty ominous atmosphere to the day.
We were somewhat worried this would affect how many players showed up to the event. We were very pleasantly surprised though, because as we walked around the corner of the school, we were greeted by 40-50 young lacrosse players already on the field, passing around. Like he knew we had arrived, the first thing we saw was a D pole ripping a shot top corner off a pipe – talk about making an entrance!
We love seeing kids who could care less what the weather is like, as long as they get a chance to play lacrosse. Thanks to some great collaboration with the local lacrosse program, we were able to bring in kids from several of the surrounding cities, some even make the trek down from Washington.
We look forward to seeing some great things come out of Hermiston and the rest of Eastern Oregon as the game continues to grow more in that area. Check out some of our favorite moments from the GTG Tour stop in Hermiston, OR below.
While we weren’t able to do a full tour stop in Boise, we still made the most of our time here. During our downtime one evening, we headed out to a local park to check out some youth lacrosse action and surprise some youngsters with some Easton Lacrosse gear.
We didn’t make any announcements, phone calls, or even let our local friends know what was going on. This turned out to be the best decision of the night and provided for a very raw experience with some talented young lacrosse players.
If that doesn’t get you hyped-up for the sport, I don’t know what would. Alex’s excitement was contagious!
Our third and easily the most impactful stop we made on the Grow The Game Tour, was in Montana. After a quick “break” in Yellowstone National Park, we headed up to Missoula, Montana for the Missoula Elite 100. We had a fully loaded schedule for our three days in Montana, so we went right to work helping out at the ME100 and making the most of our time there.
The growth of lacrosse in Montana speaks for itself – 4,615%. Nope, that wasn’t an error, you read it correctly. Kevin Flynn has been a huge factor in this growth and we felt very privileged to be able to take part in what he has worked to build there.
We were also fortunate to have Matt Gibson (New York Lizards/Minnesota Swarm) with us along the trip, blogging about his travels, check those out here.
Following our stop in Missoula, we headed up to the Flathead Reservation in Ronan, MT and Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, MT to help create some excitement for lacrosse and solidify its place in each community. Call it cliche, but there is something extra special about being able to share lacrosse with the very people whose ancestors brought us this great sport.
Check out some of our favorite memories from Missoula, Ronan, and Browning.
Our very first stop on the tour was in Denver. While not a part of our RV trip around the West, it was just as special and impactful for those involved. The Duel in Denver between USA vs. Canada was also that weekend so we were very excited to take in all that Denver had to offer.
Saturday morning we started off the day with a very special clinic with Easton Lacrosse and Denver City Lax. Cort Kim, Mike Powell, Matt Gibson, Brett Queener and Henry Fitzpatrick rolled up in their rental van, filled with Easton Lacrosse gear for the Denver City Lax youth – their excitement was tangible. It wasn’t about “giving away” though, it was about “giving back”. Every player who grabbed a new Easton stick was asked to donate their old stick back to the program for other kids to use as more people joined.
The players’ energy was contagious and everyone was buzzing throughout the clinic. No matter what new skill or trick the coaches threw at them, the players would try over and over until they would get it.
Brett Queener and Matt Gibson taught the kids showed-off several cool stick tricks and clever ways to score a goal and Cort Kim shared with us why he loves the game so much, it was a very special day and an incredible first stop for the Tour.
Quite possibly the best part of the day was after everything was all packed up and several people had already left. A dozen or so kids brought out some small goals, split into two teams, and started up their own game of lacrosse, no pads necessary.
The fun didn’t stop there though, as soon as the Clinic was over, everyone packed-up and headed over to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the Duel in Denver for the Recycle Lax Tournament and plenty of pregame fun!
It all started with one big announcement from Jeff Brunelle, Co-Founder and CEO of LaxAllStars.com, the first ever Grow The Game Tour was on, an idea four years in the making, but there was a kicker – we needed your help.
A month later, with the help of 73 of our most loyal supporters and Easton Lacrosse, we were able to raise over $12,000 and make our idea a reality, securing stops in Colorado, Montana, Washington, Oregon, and California.
We spent the next month planning our every move along the trip to ensure that it would be as powerful as possible and each community we reached out to would be positively impacted by our presence.
Over the next week, we will begin recapping each stop along our trip and showcasing all the great moments along the way. We want GrowTheGameTour.com to become the quintessential example of growing the game at its finest and offer you an opportunity to bring it to your community. While the 2012 Grow The Game Tour was a huge success, we know lacrosse has so much more potential for growth and we have barely scratched the surface of growing the game nationwide, and even further.