I never planned to create Lacrosse Pack. Then again, I never planned to play lacrosse either.
In retrospect, it makes sense that my life path would lead me to pursue the wild dream of building an online lacrosse business. Everyone always tells you to do what you are passionate about, but for me, finding my passion was a lot harder than I thought.
Growing up, I had a pretty typical childhood. I was an avid fan of sports and participated in just about every athletic activity that I could get my hands on. I played recreational basketball and soccer for several seasons and experimented with football and baseball for a season or two. In high school, I ran cross country for three years. To put it bluntly, long distance running was not exactly my forte. There are still moments to this day where I wonder how I actually made it through that painful sport.
I even had a go at bowling. For whatever reason, all my friends were obsessed with the notion of trying out for the high school bowling team to replace gym class with athletic study hall. We hit the lanes every weekend for a couple months leading up to the tryouts. Unfortunately, my friend group told a bit too many people about our scheme to snag an extra study hall by going out for bowling. I honestly believe that was the most competitive bowling tryout in our high school’s history. By my excuse, you can probably tell I didn’t make the team.
Out of all these sports, only one rose to the top. Lacrosse.
I actually started lacrosse relatively late compared to other kids in my district. I had always been somewhat curious about the sport of lacrosse, but it never seemed feasible for me to throw myself into something I knew nothing about. At least with the other sports I played I could glean something from watching ESPN or asking my pops. With lacrosse, I didn’t really have much information to work with.
My friends had light years of experience on me when I finally decided to take a leap of faith and join the lacrosse team at the age of 13. I started out with a few local lacrosse camps and really savored my experiences there. Every week, I looked forward to heading over to the clumpy grass fields and learning something new. During these beginning stages, it is safe to say that I was decidedly awful at the sport. If you threw me a pass, it was more likely for the ball to hit my helmet than my pocket.
But the thing was I didn’t really care how bad I was. I kept coming back week after week because I was fascinated with every little facet of the sport. The strange prospect of playing with a stick instead of your hands, the ability to whack your opponent with a metal shaft, the unparalleled speed of the game itself. All of this appealed to me.
When I chose to take the next step up and join a travel team, I felt like my stomach was swirling with butterflies.
This was mostly because I had at long last reached a point where I could play lacrosse with my friends. When the travel team tryouts rolled around, I only had a couple months experience under my belt to work with. I was pitted against kids that had a couple years head start on me.
The only problem was that all of my best buddies were on the A team. Although the chances were slim, I wanted to rise above the odds and join up with my friends. After all, they were the ones who goaded me into taking up the sport in the first place.
The first day of tryouts I had goosebumps crawling up and down my skin. And it wasn’t just because of that Midwest cold.
Regardless, I went out there and tried to make as good of an impression as I could manage.
Even though I felt like I had no idea what I was doing, I was able to secure a place on the A team by the skin of my teeth. Looking back on it, I am thoroughly convinced that I had claimed the last roster spot. But I didn’t care. I was reunited with my friends on a lacrosse travel team despite having touched a lacrosse stick for the first time several months prior.
It was at this time where my passion for lacrosse really started to blossom.
I rode the pine for most of the travel lacrosse season as a third line midfielder. Yet, it was an invaluable learning experience that helped to foster the work ethic I pride myself on today.
After the travel lacrosse season was over, a whole new chapter of my lacrosse odyssey had opened up. High school.
I was determined to make my presence known in high school lacrosse. Needless to say, I had no interest in riding the pine for another four years straight. So I devoted all of my time and effort into mastering the basic fundamentals of the game. I scoured the web for instructional videos, practiced dodges on imaginary defenders in my backyard, and played wall ball on my brick house until the brick literally started to crumble. My father had a field day on me for that one, but in my opinion it was worth it. You could actually still see the remnants of the bang-up brickwork job we tried to slap together ourselves in the picture.
At least I was accurate.
To my surprise, the exhaustive work was paying off. My freshman year of high school, which was still technically only my second year of playing lacrosse, I claimed the title of MVP of our freshman lacrosse team. The next year, I had earned the right to playing right alongside the varsity lacrosse team as an underclassman.
Some of my best high school memories were made on the lacrosse field and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
From the 6AM team conditioning workouts to the rowdy bus rides home after victories, high school lacrosse gave me a myriad of priceless moments that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
By the time senior year had rolled around, I had come into my own as a lacrosse player. I claimed the title of team captain, in company with three other senior teammates that had been with me every step of the way. That year, we shut down our rival lacrosse team in an overtime victory in the playoffs and finished in the Elite 8.
After wrapping up the high school lacrosse season, I had no real intentions of playing lacrosse at the collegiate level. At the time, my sights were set on pursuing dentistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
However, this was not the resolution of my lacrosse story. If anything, I hadn’t even gotten to the good part yet.
A couple years flew by at university and in focusing on my studies, I had neglected lacrosse for far too long. It was only when my old high school teammate reached out to me to play on his men’s league team that I dusted off the old lacrosse stick and rekindled my passion for the game.
It was around this time that I began experimenting with the idea of online marketing. Keep in mind that I was a Molecular & Cellular Biology major. I quite literally had zero experience with web design or entrepreneurship or any skill that you would associate with online marketing. But sitting in my mundane lectures listening to my professors drawl on and on about complicated biochemical reactions that I had no interest in, my mind began to wander.
Slowly, I started to connect the dots. One day, I had an epiphany. I thought to myself, “Why not combine my interests, old and new, together to create something that I truly care about?”
I thought back to my early days as a lacrosse player when I couldn’t find any resourceful information online about the sport that I had been so captivated by as a child. It was at that exact moment that the stars aligned perfectly, and I formally made the decision to chase down this figment of my imagination and turn it into reality.
So I went to work.
Whenever I had free time in between classes, I would put in whatever effort I could toward the site. In those early days, I made a colossal amount of mistakes. I always felt rushed for time because I was trying to juggle my academics, my social life, and this ludicrous online enterprise all at once. In hindsight, it is a wonder that this site even made it onto the web at all.
The early going was tough, but I always kept my eyes set on the long term goal. I wanted to make something that I could call my own for once and have a good time while doing it. Even though it was painful to routinely put out content day after day to an audience that did not even exist yet, I kept at it. Whether it was because of a strong fervor for lacrosse or my own inherent stubbornness, I do not know. What I can tell you is that I cranked out content like my life depended on it. And soon, the lacrosse community began to take notice.
It was a great many months before the very first visitors to this site trickled in. You could not fathom my excitement as I witnessed the web traffic steadily increase as people around the world uncovered my site. Lacrosse Pack gradually began to gather a real following and, before I knew it, the site had grown beyond what even I had anticipated.
With my audience skyrocketing, I spewed out information to the masses with the aim of helping to foster the sport of lacrosse. I continued to take risks and improved the site day after day until Lacrosse Pack evolved into what it is now.
Right now, you’re probably wondering why I would go through all of this trouble to include all of this personal stuff on my site. Why detail my lacrosse experience for all of the world to see?
It matters, to me at least, because I believe it’s important to understand all of the life long benefits that lacrosse can offer. If I were to go back and know all of the things that I knew about lacrosse now, I wouldn’t have ever hesitated to join the sport. Most of the time, it can be scary to stick your neck out and venture into unfamiliar territory. What I have found is that the only way to truly get the most out of life is to throw yourself into the frying pan. Tyler Durden said it best in Fight Club,
“You wanna make an omelette, you gotta break eggs.”
In my experience, I’ve come to see that most people grow accustomed to living in their own little personal bubble, never daring to strive for more. They refuse to operate outside their comfort zone, partly due to the fault of society and partly due to the fear of failure that lies within all of us.
I suppose what I’m trying to get at is that stepping outside the norm and starting up lacrosse can pave the way for the life that you want to live. It is because of this sport that I was able to push the limits of my fitness, build close relationships with friends, and even construct an online business from scratch. If you told my younger self what life would have in store for me just by enrolling in lacrosse, I would’ve called you crazy.
I got lucky with Lacrosse Pack. I am well aware of that. But pretending as though this site materialized out of a thin air and fell into my lap would encourage you to believe that venturing outside of your comfort zone is easy. It’s not. I definitely wasn’t born a lacrosse player. In fact, I nearly abandoned the idea of lacrosse outright. But I forged my own opportunities and followed where my heart was telling me to go, even when it felt ridiculous to do so. Once I did that, everything fell into place.
I hope this site helps you to nurture a passion for lacrosse and encourages you to take a leap of faith every now and again. Even though it may seem intimidating at first, personal experience is a treasured reward in and of itself.
That’s a wrap for now. Back to the lacrosse fields I go.