I felt this sense of fear, but I knew it was just nervousness. It caused my whole body to tremble. I creeped onto the field and pass by the fifty girls and all of the coaches. Just me walking by everyone gave me this ginormous knot in my stomach, it made me feel like I was going to pass out right on the field. I was breathing heavy, like I just ran a marathon. I was beyond nervous just to be the new girl on the field. I was scared of what the girls thought of me, and how the coaches thought I would play and adapt to the sport.
I had never even picked up a lacrosse stick and the girls were passing, catching and shooting on goal: how does a new player get to there if they were two week late into the season? I was terrified I would never get to the level of the rest of the team. The coach came over to talk to me and I think this was the most nerve racking event of that day. He was the one person I had to impress. He asked me “Have you ever played before? ” and I froze, all I could think was “does it look like I have played before? ” but no words came out of my mouth.
He understood I was nervous and asked if I knew how to catch and throw with a lacrosse stick. I really do not understand why he asked, he knew the answer. He took me to the side of the field and taught me the basics. Catch with your stick up, cradle the ball after you catch it or if you are running down the field, how to watch the ball into the net, put your elbows up when you throw and catch like you are playing baseball, have soft and maneuverable hands at all times, and, get low to scoop the ball, treat the ball like an egg and you will not drop it.
All the information hit me like I ran into a cement wall. How could I do all of that when I could not keep the ball in my net to save my life. He wanted to throw with me to see how well my skills were and let me tell you, they were awful. Coach wanted to put me into the drills the girls were doing to see if watching their skills and how to properly do the drill, it would help me pick up the game quicker. After about two weeks, I was doing decent. I was not an expert at lacrosse, but I was picking it up rather quick.
It took a lot of dedication to get up every morning at 6 A. M. to go run so my endurance was at the rate of the team. It took discipline and desire to go out in the Florida beating sun and play wall ball to improve my hand eye coordination, stick skills and the comfortableness of the game. I had to want to get better in order to become better. Learning anything new in life can be scary, but learning a new sport and the language can be absolutely terrifying.
Lacrosse has been the hardest sport I have tried in my life, but also the sport that motivated me the most to become better and understand the concept of the game. Lacrosse has a universal language of what happens on the field, and also, every individual team has their own different language. I had to learn both and multiple different ones for the multiple teams I have played on. The unique language varies between every teams; the unique language helps the girls on my team tell each other stuff without the other team understanding.
The language was difficult for me to understand and pick up, but after a few day, I started to remember it and use it. It helps the game run swiftly and smoothly. Lacrosse has a basic language that every girl that starts playing is taught immediately. The language is the terminology for the basic functions of the game. For example, scooping the ball and cradling the ball. I was taught what these terms meant and how they apply to the game the day I stepped on the field. I was then taught how to do them. I must scoop the ball if the ball gets dropped onto the grass near me.
I do this by getting low with my legs and back and putting my head completely over my stick to block the ball from the open and any other players, then keep on running at a fast pace to run away from the opponent, and get it to another girl on my team. Cradling is a motion of the stick to keep the ball in when you are running. This skill is an uncomfortable skill and if a teammate does not do it on the field, the whole team will be screaming “CRADLE” to remind the player to cradle the ball. There are hundreds of words that I had to learn to understand the girls on my team and the other team.
One of the best skills on the field is communication. If I listen to my teammates and gain their trust, the ball moves down the field so much smoother and quicker to be able to make a goal successfully. Also, a strong skill to have is to listen to the other team’s conversations. It gives players on my team a better advantage to listen and see how the other team is using the language. For instance, if a girl from the opposing team yells “here is your help” a defender from my team will try to block that girl or intercept the ball while in the play.
Just the simple skills of listening and communicating with my team gave me the ability to understand the language strongly and apply it to the game. Furthermore, each team has their own unique language. Most of the time, they are words that are from the original language but we put a different word onto it to make it disguisable to the opposing team. It gives them a harder time to understand how our team communicates. For example, on my travel team, when someone is on my butt I will scream “OH YEAH.
The people on my team will then get open and set up a play. This gets the defender off me and hopefully onto another girl. The game is about mind tricks also. When you speak a different language then the other team, they do not understand and cannot pick up the language as fast as the universal lacrosse language. It gives us an advantage. Another example, when we are offside, which is when there is too many players across the restraining line, we scream very loudly“pineapple” so one player from our team can get back before the ref gives us a penalty.
The language can change throughout the game. If the other team starts picking up our callings or even some of the girl’s names, we change it. It is quick, I have to always have my ears up and remember the different call words that we make up. Communication on the field is a must, and the language has to be adaptable to the situation. When we are trying to get a goal, spreading out and communicating is the most helpful skill in making a goal.
When I want to cut into the center to try to catch the ball to make a goal, I will yell “BLUE” so my team knows I am open and ready for them to pass me the ball so I can shoot on the goalie. As for the defenders, when you see a girl cutting in we yell “POLO. ” This means I need help blocking her, here I am. The language is unique to every team and everyone’s is completely different. This makes the game more entertaining and difficult at the same time. This being the first sport for me that communication was a just as important as ball handling skills, I picked up the communication factor rather quickly.
It was difficult at times trying to learn everything language wise but still progressing my actual playing skills. It came with time though. For me to be a well-rounded player it means that I must have good ball handling skills and communication skills. Communication makes it a hundred time easier for me to play in any position also. The communication is key, no matter if it the basics terms of lacrosse or the unique terms that my team makes up. With everyone on my communicating, the game runs nicely and successfully.