What If We Just Played Youth Lacrosse For Fun?
By Brian Logue
Eden Prairie and Rosemount are traditionally two of the strongest youth lacrosse programs in the state of Minnesota. Their respective U15 teams entered Youth Lacrosse Minnesota’s 10th annual state tournament this summer with championship hopes. For many of the players, this would be the final youth lacrosse event of their playing careers.
So, you can imagine the disappointment when they lost in the semifinals.
But, there was one more game to be played—a third place consolation game. A somewhat meaningless game that would pit the two rivals who historically don’t exactly love each other against one another.
Rosemount head coach Kevin Foster didn’t even know there was a third place game.
“A few of the players asked if we could just forfeit and go home,” wrote Foster in an email to his player’s parents after the game. “I never answered, but I was seriously considering it.
“Then the boys asked if they could play the game, ‘and just have fun.’ It’s not my style, but I agreed for them. It was probably my best decision of the season.”
The kids took over. They played different positions than they normally do. At halftime, they called six moms out of the stands who had never before played and had them play a 3-on-3 braveheart.
When the Eden Prairie players heard that the parents of a Rosemount defenseman had promised to buy him a puppy if he scored a goal, they took matters into their own hands. When he got the ball, they called out “Code Red” and all fell to the ground to let the defenseman get his goal…and, presumably, his puppy.
Naturally, the game ended in a 7-7 tie.
“It’s amazing that something like this can just happen with a simple idea,” wrote Foster. “Youth sports have become much too serious, competitive, costly, etc. Two teams had an incredible evening TOGETHER—playing the game of lacrosse for fun.”
The Youth Lacrosse Minnesota website summed up the game perfectly
The Rosemount and Eden Prairie U15A teams collectively received the “Spirit of the Game” award for the sportsmanship they displayed in the third place match-up. The boys reminded all of us that sports should primarily be about having fun and together they demonstrated the true meaning of the game: the enjoyment of the experience is far more meaningful than the final score. It was one of the highlights of the tournament.