ed-This right here is a dispatch by our newest Ralphie Report contributor, my brother, Braden Fraser. He was gracious enough to write this because I give him money and I made him do it. Braden is a freshman long stick middie for the Red Hot Buffs lacrosse team. If you don't understand several of those words... well, you're not alone. Lacrosse is weird. We can discuss in the comments. Anywho, although we do a lot of chattering about sports, I thought it would be interesting to hear from a current student athlete about his transition from high school to college. Lacrosse is a club sport, and club sports are obviously different than NCAA sanctioned sports (we have a team mom!), but it's still an enormous outlay of time, work, and commitment for these kids to play a sport they love for the university they love. We'll have further lacrosse coverage in the future, starting when I go to their fall ball tournament tomorrow (it's in Greeley. I'm going to Greeley just to get you the hot sports takes), and then more in the future, when we actually play some games.
I'll try to add a little commentary where necessary, because Braden writes like everyone has known him forever.
Transition to a Red Hot Buff
For me, Orange County high school lacrosse (ed- Braden went to Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, CA) consisted of slowing the ball down, set motion offenses--with creative option--and relaxed practices. This is by no means the general high school experience, but the base characteristics usually run along the same lines. Stick work, endurance, strength and team skills are the main focuses and everyone plays at a separate level throughout the team. There are those players that live lacrosse, consistently hitting the wall (ed- hitting the wall means finding a wall and throwing the ball at it. Literally that's it, and yet most players don't do it in their free time. Mostly recommended using gloves and helmet), carry a stick with them regardless of where they are going, and go hard throughout the drill, and the players that come out because it's easier to join, and most likely less work, then football or baseball. For four years I trained in this environment and played teams that ran along the same lines.
This is not at all close to the level the University of Colorado players work and play at. That may not come as much of a shock, obviously an upper division will incur greater amounts of work, but that's only the top layer. This team is built from players that were the best from their high schools, absolutely love the game, and want to put in the work--regardless of how early in the morning. At the introductory meeting our head coach told us "you have to love to run." I've never had a coach tell me this; running for the teams I've been on has been a punishment. Being told to run was an "Oh no we messed up, coach is mad." Over this short time with the team, I have grown to love running, maybe out of necessity maybe not, but regardless that is the atmosphere the guys on this team create. When we step on the field at the start of practice or enter the gym for morning lifts it is time to work. You can talk, enjoy the work, and bond, but remain focused at all times ready to get at it and get better, or an upperclassmen will get you back into line.
Due to everyone's complete involvement, the team is also very helpful with making sure guys are doing the drill or lift correctly. No one shrugs off their teammates problems; we are a team and respond like one. It is understood that it is every man's responsibility to look out for every member of the team. As well this respect and bond is pushed past just the team level. As University of Colorado lacrosse players our coaches hold us to a higher level than is regularly expected. We are encouraged to give back to the community, as fifty plus of our players did in Longmont helping victims of the recent flood put their homes and lives back together. As well this team is held above NCAA (mind you we are a club sport) academic standards having to maintain higher than a 2.2 GPA (and we are told this number will most likely increase as well.) It is important to our program to maintain the definition of student athlete and be a respected, known organization in our community.
With the amount of dedication, work, and enthusiasm this team has for lacrosse--not to mention our pride in being a CU Buff!--I believe our team will have a great season. As our coach says, the wins and losses aren't everything, its more about each individual putting all their effort. The wins will come from there. This team not only puts in the effort, but has the natural athletic talent and mentoring to boot. Not only is there a lot of enthusiasm for progression from the incoming freshman and transfers, but the experience and guidance from all of the returners gives the team a basis to build upon. This is going to be an exciting season for sure.
ed- The Red Hot Buffs are a fantastic club program. Last year we lost in the national championship game to ...ugh... Colorado State. We play in the MCLA, RMLC league* which includes us, CSU, Utah, Utah State, BYU, and New Mexico. Come on out and see us!