November 25, 2013

Getting Posterized With Women's Lacrosse

by Clare Lochary | | Twitter | Lochary Archive

This column originally appears in the December 2013 issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Want your copy? Join US Lacrosse today!

Last December, I got an email from a reader in need of help. The guy had a young niece who played lacrosse, but her room was awash in One Direction posters. He wanted to get her some women's lacrosse posters as a Christmas present to inspire her to play more. (Best uncle ever, right?) He couldn't find any for sale, so I sent him some U.S. women's national team stuff. The niece was thrilled, and the guy's status as Best Uncle Ever was sealed.

I didn't have any women's lacrosse posters in my room when I was growing up. I don't think any existed. I did have that sweet Gait Brothers STX poster that every lacrosse player between now between ages 25 and 40 had, the one with Gary doing an Air Gait and Paul lounging on the goal line with his elbow propped up on a bucket helmet. It was the best.

But no women. And that's a shame.

The idea of posters on a kid's wall might immediately conjure up ideas of frivolity and hero worship, but that's exactly why they're important. The images that surround us seep into our brains and into our souls. What we see is what we grow to want, so you should make sure your gaze frequently falls on something that's truly worth wanting.

Fortunately for the young players of today, we live in a media-rich age and you can get plenty of women's lacrosse posters, although not from me personally. I wish I had the resources to send every single one of you posters for Christmas myself, but I don't. What I can do is point you in the direction of NCAA sports marketing offices.

If you attend a lot of NCAA women's lacrosse games (and you should, more on that later), you may have noticed that there's usually a table where the athletic department is giving away team posters before the game, and sometimes there's an autograph session with the team using those same posters after the game.

Nearly all Division I schools have them, and some smaller schools produce them as well. With desktop publishing, designing a poster is a relatively cheap and easy way for schools to promote their teams. If you can't get to a game to get one, or if you live too far from your favorite team to attend their games in person, you can contact the school's sports marketing department and get them to send you one. The most you'll ever have to pay is the price of a self-addressed stamped envelope or mailing tube.

That said, going to NCAA games is one of the best things that you can do to help grow the game, and not just for the free swag. Attendance numbers are one of the factors that come into play when an athletic department considers adding a sport. Furthermore, it's great for your development as a player to watch the game at its top level.

There are a couple of different ways to watch a game. You can watch as a fan, which means you mostly keep your eye on the ball and follow the big plays. Watching as a fan is fun, but it's not necessarily the best way to learn.

When you watch the game as a student, you catch the subtle things that make your game better. Don't zero in entirely on the ball. Watch a play develop, and try to learn how and why it happened. Pay particular attention to the person who plays your position. How does she hold her stick? What does she do when she's under pressure? What does she do when she's not in the middle of the action?

Watching top-level games in person is one of the most inspiring experiences a young player can have, and making sure she can take a little piece of that inspiration home in poster form is easy and fun. I always like checking out what different teams have to offer, poster-wise, when I'm covering games for They're always cool, with professionally shot images of women's lacrosse players looking powerful, fierce and beautiful.

If I had a niece or a daughter who liked to play, I'd wallpaper her room with them. 

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