A Note From Bryan...
I want to start this post off with an apology for me. I recently lost a very close friend as he was waiting for an organ transplant, only to find out that another friend and mentor Dirk Facer, one of the best members of the local media and a longtime friend of high school athletics, passed away two days later awaiting an organ transplant as well. The grief broke me, and unfortunately, I shut down in the midst of it. It has been a challenging year for me personally to say the least. I suddenly lost a job that I'd sacrificed and rearranged my life around as a way of committing more fully to it, losing a podcast that I’d built from the ground up into a 100,000 download/year juggernaut and moving away from family and friends to Farmington, where I knew no one and spent most of the time by myself. I watched people I considered friends turn their backs as I looked to find a way forward in the turmoil. Grappled with starting a new business and going out on my own to pursue some kind of stability in an industry that seems more and more unstable, and the last few weeks pushed that over the edge for me. I accepted the opportunity that Tim offered here at ULR because I thought this would be fun, lacrosse was my getaway sport and as things have unfolded, it really hasn’t been much fun at all, it’s been a massive learning curve and I haven’t kept up I’ve heard the feedback on how we’ve done things, or more specifically how I have done things and it’s evident that the vision I had for the newsletter and the expectations of those in the community are different, and I am committed to making the adjustments to make it right.
I'm a firm believer in the concept of growth mindsets. As a former collegiate athlete and someone who has worked to build a career in a dying industry, I've seen firsthand the evidence of how a growth-oriented set of beliefs and approach to adversity can lead to success. A growth mindset is most easily explained as the belief that dedication and hard work can develop any talent to be successful no matter how bad you might be. Simply put, I believe if I keep working at this newsletter thing and covering lacrosse, one day I will be good at it! These past few weeks were another reminder of just how much passion there is in this sport, and just how good a job Tim Haslam has done over the years. My first week putting together the newsletter with both a watch list and coaches poll was a disaster, I whiffed on both. I made the assumption that all coaches would simply read the newsletter and click on the link for the poll, rather than sending it to each of them directly. We all know what happens when you assume, and I made myself the you know what as a few coaches mentioned never seeing the poll. It was a valuable lesson learned for me.Coaches should have received the poll directly last night, if you have not seen it yet, you can fill it out here:
Additionally, I could have and should have done a better job of explaining what the preseason All-American watch list is all about, specifically mentioning the following;
Names for the list are submitted by coaches from each team via email request and then verified by a group locally that knows the scene and can verify player potential and ability.
The list is fluid and players can be added throughout the season. There are likely going to be some names missed along the way due to clerical or organizational limitations, it is rarely intentional.
Inevitably people are going to disagree with the list because at the end of the day we are all individuals and have our own ideas and ways of thinking and preferences; for example, some people like pineapple on pizza and those who don't like pineapple on pizza like to call those of us who do like pineapple on pizza psychopaths and so it goes and honestly that's what makes being human so awesome, we're all unique and not robots and can order whatever pizza we want…at least until the robots take over.
I share this because there is room to grow wherever you are at on your lacrosse journey, be it coach, player, media member, etc. Maybe you expected to see your name on a list and didn't. Perhaps your name is already on all the awards lists. Maybe this is your first time playing lacrosse and you have no clue what I'm even talking about, you just wanted something to do after school so your parents didn't make you get a job(That’s how I got here). Whatever your level is as a participant, the answer to whatever emotional response or feeling you're having to all of this right now is to get to work. Mad because your name wasn't on the list? Doesn't matter, get better. Think you should be ranked higher than someone else? Doesn't matter, get better. Can't cradle with both hands yet or win a face-off? Doesn't matter, get better. Screw up the first regular season newsletter with polls and watch lists? You get the point.
There's a happy medium somewhere between recognizing/awarding greatness and simply being the kind of sport and community where we include everyone and just enjoy the game for everything it brings. I surely don't claim to know what it is or how to find it but I do know that both sides matter, it's important to work hard, and compete and win because that's what draws greatness to the surface and we need to be reminded that we can accomplish greatness! It's also important to remember that there are other facets beyond winning and competition that also play a role. Will I ever find the perfect balance of that here in the newsletter? Probably not, but I can promise I will continue to grow and improve and keep working to find that balance of telling stories that matter while maintaining the standards of the past and giving the people what they deserve. I hope to work to earn back your trust. We’ll continue to send out the girls newsletter on Mondays and follow that up with the Boys edition either Monday nights or Tuesday mornings. Thank you as always for reading and for the feedback.
A very special thank you to Kenzie Christiansen and Patrick Sanger for keeping things going and being out there working to gather your feedback. I owe you both big time.