Saying “YES”

By Kelly Gallagher, Head Coach, University of Tampa  @TampaWLax

For me, and I’m sure some of you, the 2019 season had a bittersweet ending. Our team had an amazing year come to end a little bit earlier than we would have liked. So, when I was asked/volunteered to coach the IWLCA Senior All-Star game, I said yes (Of course I said yes, because I always say yes. I am inherently unable to say no. How else do you become part of the IWLCA Annual Meeting Planning Committee?).

Photo by John Strohsacker.

Heading into the All-Star Game, other than knowing that our team would certainly be able to win the draw; score; and transition the ball; I wasn’t really sure what to expect (And I’m sure the Division II South team, waiting patiently 15 mins early for practice as they have been trained to do, felt the same way). I’d love to believe it will be the most memorable practice they have each had in four years – they asked if we could do something and I just said yes. Stand and stretch? Yes. Stand and partner pass? Yes. Shooting Shuttle? Yes. Scrimmage? Yes. I’m a goalie. Can I play attack? Yes. I decided I just wanted them to have a lot of fun and said yes to anything they asked.

At this point, besides those few who are going to play professionally in the WPLL, it’s their last shot at glory, so why not just say “yes??  If I’m honest, this was one of my favorite experiences I have had as a coach. I got to coach A LOT of VERY TALENTED players. Players, that during the season, have me glued to a computer analyzing how to stop them. But, for this one day, I got to say “yes” to all their talents and have them on my team.

For those of you who haven’t experienced the IWLCA Senior All-Star game, I’d encourage you to say “yes” if you get the opportunity to be involved. If playing at Bill Tierney Field at US Lacrosse Headquarters wasn’t enough of a draw, these young women walk away with a swag bag of clothes, a banquet dinner, breakfast, and a post-game meal. The cherry on top? A few new friends (…who used to be foes) perhaps? It’s probably one of the only days in these student-athlete’s lives when it is truly all about “their” experience.

Clearly, to have a great experience you have to have a great game. The Class of 2019 said “yes” to that! Three, one-goal games and a Braveheart to decide the Division I game?!?! There was a lot of excitement and I’m happy to say that the South came out undefeated on the day (Sorry, Ginny)!

There are a few people to thank for putting this entire experience together, including the IWLCA Senior All-Star Game Committee and the IWLCA staff. They work tirelessly to make the event a truly memorable and special one for the student-athletes and the coaches alike. Thank you.

My last little note to all the of the women’s lacrosse players in the class of 2019. I challenge you to say “yes.”  (I know, I told my team they have to learn to say no… but hear me out… ) The majority of you have had 8+ years of lacrosse in your lives. Think of all the game has given you: your best friends, your greatest triumphs’, and some of your (seemingly) saddest days. All because of this one game. You all have gotten something out of this game. Now, it’s your turn to give back to it. Do anything. But, please give back. Coach, officiate, volunteer. It doesn’t matter what you do but please, give back to this game that has provided so much to you. I promise if you ask almost any coach at any level, they will tell you that giving back is one of the reasons they are doing what they do. So, again, I challenge you to say “yes.”  I did and I am much better for it.

3 thoughts on “Saying “YES”

  1. First time on this site, great read. My daughter played four years for GVSU and it was the highlight of her life. Great article about saying YES! I recommend it to all entering and exiting players to carry on this on life. Could you please or send me the list of the 2019 Senior Players list for this game. I cannot seem to find a link etc. Most interested in seeing the successes. Thanks, Jerry


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