A year ago the Stealth had yet to play a game in Washington. We were new to the area, but it didn’t take long for us to feel at home in the Pacific Northwest. I wrote this article for Walax.com last Thanksgiving, and after a year in the area it still holds true. I made a few changes to keep it up to date, but the message is the same. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from the Washington Stealth.
It’s Thanksgiving. And that means spending some quality time with family and friends, eating turkey until you’re in pain and parking your bloated, food-filled carcass in front of the TV for a day full of football. It’s also a time for us to reflect on the things most important to us, and give thanks to the powers-that-be for bringing them into our lives.
There are plenty of things I am grateful for: incredible family and friends for their love and support, my boyish good looks and Will Ferrell for giving us Anchorman, to name a few. But this being a lacrosse website, it only seems fitting that I give thanks to the sport that has given me so much in my career.
I’m thankful for behind-the-back passes, acrobatic diving goals and defensemen that slide at the right moment to deliver a big hit. A goalie that stuffs an attackman one-on-one, winning a face-off then taking it to the house and a sudden-death overtime goal that wins a playoff game. A sport where the intensity of the game doesn’t change no matter what skill level and where the players at the highest level play for the love of the game and not millions of dollars. Even though much of the world does not yet (key word: yet) realize how great lacrosse is, those of us that do can be thankful that this magnificent game is a part of our lives.
Through lacrosse I’ve made friends all over the US and Canada. Through lacrosse I’ve seen firsthand what it takes to lead a team. Through lacrosse, I’ve been awe struck at human’s potential for greatness through hard work and dedication. Lacrosse has given me the opportunity to observe and get to know some of the world’s top athletes. I’ve been in the locker room as Chris Hall gives a spirited half time speech that inspires his team to a come from behind victory. I’ve seen Lewis Ratcliff and Rhys Duch carry a team on their backs when it needs them the most. I’ve watched as Paul Rabil unleashes a 100 mile per hour shot at a poor goalie and Eric Martin propels himself off the boards to keep a ball in play; unbelievable feats of athletic ability. Heck, I’ve even been fortunate enough to see the legendary Gary Gait lace ‘em up and take the field. None of those guys would be where they are without some extra time on the wall or by pushing themselves during practice.
I am also thankful that lacrosse has brought me here, to the Great Northwest. Being here has renewed my love for the game. Being here now, the most exciting era of Washington Lacrosse, has me giddy. Watching new programs like Monroe and Liberty grow; seeing what it means to play for Issaquah; watching rivals like Bainbridge Island and Mercer Island duke it out on the field. I’ve met so many great people involved in Washington Lacrosse, I have no doubt that the best is yet to come.
The Stealth’s new home has already provided a number of great memories that will live on in Stealth lore for many years to come. The tremendous support for a new team by the fans, the hard work put in by so many to make the Stealth’s first season a success and the incredible effort both on and off the floor by the Stealth players are just a few reasons to give thanks. It’s a time of year to spend time with family, and the 2010 season just confirmed that the Stealth has found its new home and its new family.
So as you stuff your faces with sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce today, be sure to take the time to appreciate the game that is taking this region by storm. While it is just a game, it is something that can give us so much more. It develops us into teammates and leaders; it gives us friendships, mentors and heroes. I’m very thankful to be involved with this sport and that I get to learn and grow with Washington Lacrosse now.