From the CEO: Confessions of a Lacrosse Parent


"Our kids enjoy sports, but sports never defined them," writes US Lacrosse CEO Steve Stenersen.

Despite my lifelong love of lacrosse, my wife, Garvey, and I never pressured our kids to play or specialize in a sport. But they were required to be physically active.

Believe it or not, soccer, basketball and lacrosse were equally important in our house, as were drama and guitar. Our goal was to expose them to as much as possible and see what they liked. They played what they enjoyed and, once or twice, they decided not to continue with a sport for various reasons.

Our kids enjoy sports, but sports never defined them.

Both of our kids played club lacrosse for several years. We chose clubs based on the philosophy and personality of the coach. We were blessed with some great ones. But coaches changed and, eventually, our kids lost interest in the club circuit when it wasn’t fun anymore, when it got too serious and intense. 

Some might infer that it was a case of natural evolution, that they were “weeded out” because they didn’t have the physical gifts, skills or drive required to advance to the next level. That’s partly true. My kids are healthy and active, but they don’t have the rare, God-given attributes required to be the next Paul Rabil or Taylor Cummings.

Still, they enjoyed playing lacrosse. Our daughter played through high school, had a wonderful coach and enjoyed every minute of it (except the ACL repair and rehab as a junior). Our son played up until his junior year in high school, and admittedly, it was hard when I realized I may never see him play the sport again. But I’m proud of him for staying close to the sport as a manager of the varsity team his senior year.

Navigating the youth sports landscape is challenging no matter your level of experience with or connection to sport. The most important advice I can share is to be ever thoughtful about and focused on what’s best for your child — not what someone else is doing or telling you.

This column appears in the February NCAA preview edition of US Lacrosse Magazine. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse today to start your subscription.

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