Thursday, August 19, 2010

The group at Gately!


I wanted to give a final update before the summer concludes.  After finishing up with ITA, I headed down to Baltimore for 3 days of tryouts for the National Team.  Close to 90 young women tried out for 36 spots on the team.  The tryout was extremely competitive, and I am very proud to say that I earned a spot on the team for the 2010-2011 "season!"  We will first play together at the Stars & Stripes Weekend in Boston over Columbus Day Weekend in October.  Following that, we will have a practice weekend together in November and then will play at the Champions Challenge at Disney World in January. 

If anyone is interested in following the National Team's progress they can look here:

Similarly, if anyone is interested in following Duke's 2010-2011 season, information can be found at:

Thanks so much again to everyone who helped out with this project: To BB&N, Shady Hill, and Harvard for providing equipment, to the Boston Cannons for providing ITA with tickets, and to Gately, Frisoli, and West Cambridge and everyone there.  This has been a thoroughly enjoyable and challenging learning experience.  Many thanks, most of all, to Amory and ITA for letting me join the roster and setting up such a great program for me.

Playing with water balloons at West Cambridge!

Monday, July 26, 2010

All finished!

Well, I can't believe it, but my current project with In the Arena is now complete! Three weeks sure goes by quickly. 

Friday I spent my last few hours at the Frisoli Youth Center.  Staff members Francis, Sarah, Stephanie and Deryl were all very helpful and enthusiastic about spreading the game of lacrosse, and I think together we got some girls excited about it! They were very happy to know that Shady Hill School (in Cambridge) is permanently donating some of the sticks we borrowed to ITA, so Amory is nicely going to pass those on to Frisoli so the kids can continue to play!  Many thanks to the Center and to all the girls for a great few weeks.

Saturday brought a fun and special event.  The Boston Cannons (the professional Major League Lacrosse team in Boston) generously donated 30 tickets to ITA so that the kids we have been working with could be exposed to the highest level of lacrosse.  The tickets were used by families both from Gately and from West Cambridge, and I hope that they thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience!  We greatly appreciate the Cannons' kindness!

Today, Monday, was my final session at the West Cambridge Youth and Community Center.  It was truly a great finale.  The weather held up nicely for us as it wasn't quite as hot as it has been, and both groups seemed to have a lot of fun.  I was particularly proud of my second group's game of steal the bacon-- they had improved very much in all aspects of the game (ground balls, defense, shooting and some passing!!)!  We still enjoyed some water balloons, used both with the sticks and recreationally, at the end of each hour.  The kids and staff members at West Cambridge made me a beautiful card as well which I absolutely loved.  I was truly touched by it, so thank you to all of you :-).  Chanelle and Robin were amazing staffers from week to week and helped the kids and me have fun!

Despite the short length of my project, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with both ITA and all three of the great youth centers in Cambridge.  I feel as if I learned a lot and was challenged by the situation, but also had a lot of fun getting to know some of the kids and staff members.  I hope that everyone had  a lot of fun and that some of the kids will stick with the game-- I certainly saw some stars in the making! 

Many, many thanks to all who were involved and helped this happen.

I finally got a few photos of my groups and even got a little footage of a water balloon toss today!  Look for those in the next few days.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Last Day at Gately

Yesterday was my last day at Gately...three weeks certainly went by quickly! I am so grateful to the staff members who were incredibly helpful and made everything run smoothly-- many thanks to Margaret, Jess, Herve, Adam, Sarah, and Kaitlin (and my apologies if anyone's name is spelled incorrectly!).  It was so much fun working with all of the kids, and I am so impressed with how much they improved.  We played a long game of "steal the bacon" yesterday, and there was some fantastic passing, shooting, and defense!! I was very proud.  Most of all, I really appreciated the enthusiasm that this group had all along.  I hope that everyone had fun with the sport and saw how far an open mind and a positive attitude can go!

Monday, July 19, 2010

West Cambridge

Today was another scorcher in Cambridge!! Even the first group of boys who was so enthusiastic last week struggled to be outside today...we did what we could and then the boys enjoyed throwing water balloons at each other at the end as a treat.  For the second group, only three people came out, but we actually had a blast! Steven, James, and Bella were a blast and a treat to work with.  They were innovative and we came up with some fun new games.  I was even crazy enough to let them shoot on me (with tennis balls of course)...I don't think I made one save! I always have had a great deal of respect for lacrosse goalies... :-).

Last day at Gately tomorrow...can't believe it!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Friday I worked again with the girls at Frisoli; we had a bigger group this time due to some other events getting cancelled, so that was nice!  We also stayed in the air conditioned much as I love being outside and lacrosse is meant to be played outdoors, I think it was much more enjoyable for the girls to be in during the two hour period.  The highlight of Friday was a pretty legitimate game of lacrosse baseball!! It works great for this age group because everyone can have fun with a stick in her hand, while conquering some of the basics in the field. 

I basically have one more week working with all three of the fantastic centers in Cambridge...I can't believe it! This time has gone so fast...still some good surprises ahead though!

Meanwhile, training is going well. I am running intensely four times a week or so in addition to lifting, wallball, and shooting.  My high school club team, REV, is also running alumni clinics which we refer to as "Wednesday Night Lights."  A friend is helping me get involved with a summer league this week which will be very helpful and probably fun! U.S. tryouts are in less than two weeks!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Water balloons!

Today was my second time working with the kids and staff members at Gately, and I think it went really well!! The group opted to stay in the air conditioned gym (what a treat to have that!), and that was definitely a good life decision.  We enjoyed a competitive game of handball, then practiced some skills and played a game at the end.  There are a lot of talented athletes in the group!! We had fun at the end of our time as we went outside to play with water balloons.  Bryce and David tried to nail me with their unbreakable balloon, but luckily for me it remained unbreakable!!

I have to mention the three girls that played today-- Sam, Callie, and Staisha (hopefully your names are spelled somewhat correctly!).  They really did a great job and toughed it out playing with and against the boys!  Sam & Callie stayed after as well to keep practicing...I was certainly very proud of their progress!

Monday, July 12, 2010

West Cambridge Youth and Community Center

Today was my first day at the third site where I am working, the West Cambridge Youth and Community Center.  Similar to Frisoli, this was another new and beautiful center that I am so glad the kids of Cambridge have access to. 

I had a lot of fun working with the groups at West Cambridge today.  I worked with two different groups for an hour each, which is a good amount of time where we can get enough in to have it be meaningful and everyone can stay somewhat focused.  My first group was made up of ten 9-12 year old boys...and they were awesome!  They were all really fired up to play.  First we played handball to simulate getting open for your teammates on the lacrosse field and moving the ball down the field, and we had a great competitive game!  The boys were really into throwing and catching, so then we just played handball with our sticks basically...same rules, and they did great! I will work with them again on Wednesday and am really looking forward to it.  The second group of kids was definitely more tired , but did a good job pushing through!  We played some more handball and did the basic passing for a bit, but then we mixed it up and did a fun relay race with sticks and played lacrosse baseball!

The most important thing is that the kids have fun...and with sticks in their hand as often as possible!

For once I am hoping that tomorrow is another scorcher...planning on whipping out some water balloons at Gately! :-)