Northern California lacrosse- We are DOING IT! I’m just home from a night of watching NCS Championship games at Novato High School and Kezar Stadium where winners were decided in the waning seconds of thriller contests. Five years ago I watched playoff games that were over by halftime but this week I witnessed three Championship games decided by one goal: Sacred Heart Prep /Menlo, Novato/Monte Vista, and University/Piedmont. Even the earlier rounds displayed the greater parity in the level of play in northern California with Granite Bay High School, Oak Ridge High School, and Christian Brothers making it to the Semi-Finals of NCS in Divisions 1 and 2.
A lot of things have come full circle for me this past year, and I think I’m reflecting partly because spring seasons are ending, but with the name change to Tenacity for our girl’s lacrosse programs, I think it’s also part of the transition. The last BearLax class is graduating- the awesome class of 2016, and many of them were on our first teams in northern California (and in Houston for that matter). We also now see more BearLax alumni coaching after graduating from college, and the way they are passing on the game is incredible (Shout out to Rachael Martinez, Chelsea Randel, Megan Canales, Emily Klein, Annie Ostergard, and Molly O’Mahoney). I am most proud of the WAY our girls and coaches are doing it. The sportsmanship between players, the positivity from parents and fans, and the savvy game management- it’s fantastic, and so great for our sport here in NorCal.
This spring I watched my former boss at Cal officiating a game at Stanford (Jill Malko), a predecessor at Cal officiating a high school championship game tonight (Mary Beth Todd), and my own high school coach won a championship for Sacred Heart Prep after moving from Baltimore less than a year ago (Wendy Kridel). Former college All Americans and National Champions have daughters playing on youth and high school teams here in northern California, and are helping to drive this sport forward while attempting to maintain a sanity to it that has seemed to escape other youth sports in our state.
One of the most important things I learned from Wendy when I played for her in high school (and on the U19 team), was to embrace your opponent and to essentially wish them well so that they would make us better. Then when we won, we were beating our opponent at their best, and we were pushed to play our best to earn that win.
This week I saw grit in individual players, sportsmanship and camaraderie in entire teams, poise in officials, and passion in coaches. And most importantly, I saw all of these people pushing each other to be better and to earn their successful moments. This is Tenacity to me, and I am very grateful to be able to watch these Tenacity stories unfold. We have not arrived, and in many ways we have just begun, but we are doing it here in northern California- let’s keep it going with heart and hustle! #PlayWithTenacity #LiveWithTenacity
Written By: Theresa Sherry
May 20th, 2016