Vision or Dream?

What was the vision for Lacrosse or was it only a dream?

From Bill Hutton

I am guided by the belief that Lacrosse is a community player based sport.

I believe in the concept of management from the bottom up , leadership from the top down.

Although the base feeds the top, the top supports the base in order to survive.

Players need their hero’s to emulate and hero’s need these players to be seen as a hero.

With this in mind I will share with you my vision and you can decide if it is only a dream.

Build the base and the top will flourish. The structure is a pyramid and each level depends on another level to survive. A pyramid defines the lines of communication and provides the atmosphere for development and growth. The base selects management and management selects leadership and provides input for leadership to set goals assist management and provide oversight. This is accomplished  by democratic means at each level of the pyramid.

At each level it is essential that information flows from the base up and also from the top down.

The structure of an Association provides the method and means for growth and success. It provides the positive environment needed for sustained growth.

At the municipal level municipal teams have been working through their curriculum and are now skilled enough to advance to the next level. (Note: I do not like or use the phrase house league as it denotes and has connotations of play for players not skilled enough to play at a higher level). Lacrosse has many versions and the association accommodates players wishing to participate in their desired discipline or version regardless of sex.

The association has also grown developing the necessary democracy to administer and service  the player base. Curriculum’s established, goals set, resources such as officiating and coaching developed. They have fulfilled the legal requirements of an association and collectively have agreed on goals and objectives that will be reviewed and renewed annually.

They have established a relationship with their community  and local service clubs and sponsors.

They have approached and obtained support from the local educators to include Lacrosse in their school programs. These educators are also could be a source for administration support or coaching. Remember and respect that these are independent bodies and will provide a voluntary service to the community.

Most importantly the association have established a relationship with the players and their guardians. These guardians will be the source of future administrators and it is imperative that an open line of communication be established and their input given due consideration. You need them be part of the planning process and feel a sense of ownership for associations objectives. Approach this group to volunteer in some small way to bring positive advancement to the Associations established goals in a positive way. If they have a positive experience and have a sense of accomplishment they may be inclined to volunteer in a more advanced role. They are the social basis of your organization and integral to demonstrating  to the community a positive image.

The first step into play outside of the municipality may be exhibition games or invitational tournaments. These events should have a social component to make the event more enjoyable for parents and players.

Consider a community Lacrosse meet for local school teams.

The next step is to join a consortium of municipalities bonded together to participate in fulfilling the players desire for more competition. The consortium looks after the scheduling of games while accommodating the needs of their members. Working together they set up officiating and coaching clinics. They also play a part in expanding the game by reaching out to neighbouring municipalities and sharing their successes and objectives.

Remember there is more than one way to accomplish collectively set goals and not all goals can be accomplished  by each member within the same timelines.

This regional consortium may establish playoffs and championships at all or certain age groups.

It is essential that the competition stays at the player level and the administrators keep it out of the boardroom and focus on ensuring safe fair competition and giving the player a positive experience.

One  consortium is a group of municipalities working together for the betterment and growth of the game . They provide leadership through a democratic process by receiving input from those charged with managing the game and establishing collective goals. This regional consortium works within a specified geographic area.

Another consortium is the leagues formed to facilitate competition . Their objective is to provide fair competition and a place for those players with the skill and desire to play at that level.

The consortium (league or regional) elect their leaders as facilitators for ensuring goals are set and objectives met observing and adhering to democratic principles. Dictatorships and authoritarian democracies circumvent the democratic process and should not be allowed to develop. The structure needs input from the base and needs to provide input to each level of the pyramid. Their strength is their collective will , sharing resources and knowledge by working together.

Again an effort should be made to reach out to local school boards to have Lacrosse as part of their School Athletics. Many athletes have originated from such a successful program. Reach out to regional politicians for support and give support to the greater community. Giveback to the Community do not just ask for support.

At the Provincial level the consortium of municipalities elect their leaders to implement their collective goals and reach out to all levels of the pyramid. Their focus is skill development through coaching and master coaching instructors and officiating through master officiating instructors. The master instructors are responsible for developing course instructors throughout each region of the Province.

The Provincial leadership manages and assigns hosts for Provincial Championships working with Consortiums to ensure the best possible experience for the players In hosting championships by Municipality or Consortium .

The Provincial Consortium works to develop and hold administration clinics with guidelines to assist the volunteer administrators and leaders.

The Provincial leadership provides input into the National Consortium providing sector representatives to work with other Provincial bodies and share experiences and successes. The objective is to assist and receive assistance to help others in the development and growth of the game . They will be administrators and elect leadership for the National Consortium.

A consortium is two or more entities working together for common goals and objectives. They are cognizant of the impact their objectives will have on the total Lacrosse Community and its players not only currently but into the foreseeable  future. They respect and show empathy for other members and their different levels of development.

Leadership assists and offers direction to achieve these goals. Leadership ensures established process and protocol is adhered to and proper protocol and procedures are followed in establishing recommendations for approval and implementation. Leadership provides communication to all levels of Lacrosse and show empathy for and responds to the views of detractors. The focus is on the impact on players , players responsibilities and respect for other leaders and their membership. This applies to all of the consortiums at every level from regional through the National level.

Administration implements the collective agreements and provides input and recommendations to improve process and protocols .

The Provincial bodies have a responsibility to reach out to politicians and leaders in the educational community to assist the municipalities in garnering support for school Lacrosse programs.

The National Coalition holds responsibility in assigning hosts for National Championships and setting out perimeters for National Team representation at the International level. Management of National Coalition is accomplished by Sectors of each identified discipline of Lacrosse.

The National Coalition assist each other in the development of master course conductors both for officials and coaching for developing members.

The National Coalition members share their successes and offers assistance to other members seeking advice.

The National Coalition leadership uses the input from the members and sector management to set objectives and provide leadership in implementing and providing oversight required to monitor and measure progress

The National Coalition leadership demonstrates how a democratic process can and should work , providing an example to the total Lacrosse Community.

The National Coalition Leadership ensures they receive input from all levels of the structure, including educators, and provide communication back to all levels.

Lacrosse is a multi discipline sport servicing the needs of the players , teaching them their responsibility to the sport, to their team, to their organizations and their community with respect and integrity.

At all levels plan what your objectives are.

Set out steps and critical path as to how you are going to achieve your objectives.

Assign who will be responsible for implementation of plan.

Set timelines for review and when you expect completion.

Provide oversight for without oversight you are operating with blinders on.

Above all keep an open mind to implement new objectives as need is identified.

Golden Rule : Respect the gift,  honour and bring honour to the games we call Lacrosse.