WHAT ARE THE REAL ACHIEVEMENTS?

I hate and cringe at the idea of self-promotion, so I really hope that this does not come off as though I am bragging or boasting in any way. I just wanted everyone who is following this blog to know that I am taking what I am saying here into my real life as well. I am trying my best to "practice what I preach" (although I also never want to preach anything, but just share my experiences with others).

On Sunday night, I was inducted into the New Jersey Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Trust me, it's not like going into Canton or anything, but it is special in that this was my hometown state and where I grew up. I was very honored to be a part of such an amazing group of people that were selected this year and years in the past. Also, I was extremely humbled how much all of these people gave back to the game and tried to share it with others. It was really inspiring. I wanted to share the speech that I gave on Sunday as it is really my motivation with TIER and my main mission in the lacrosse world right now. Here it is :

First off, I would like to thank the New Jersey Hall of Fame committee for inducting me tonight. I am very honored. More importantly, I want to thank my friends, coaches and father for coming. It's really special for me to get to see all of them and it's a small reminder to me that the friendships you make are one of the greatest gifts that athletics brings you. Finally, I'd also like to say it's an honor to be included in this class with Peter Cordrey and Chris Sailer. These are two people who I have always respected and who have always been good role models for me as I grew up around the Princeton community.

For me personally, this is an ironic time in my life to be inducted into a Hall of Fame for my lacrosse accomplishments. One of my biggest projects that I am working on now, is a blog and website called TIER lacrosse. It is mainly a blog for me to interact more with the youth players and families that I work with out in Colorado and anyone else from the lacrosse world who is interested. My main message is that there is a lot more to sports than just winning and achieving. I want youth athletes to understand that lacrosse and competition is a great way to learn more about themselves and to grow as individuals, both on and off the field. I want them to see that it is enough for them to simply push themselves to be their absolute best. The wins and achievements may come, but those things will be inconsequential compared to their overall fulfillment in life.

I, for one, did not realize this when I was younger. I was solely focused on being the best goalie in the world, winning awards, winning national championships, making the pros, making a national team, and the list goes on...but nothing was ever enough for me. I never felt like I had done enough because I made a direct correlation between my successes on the field to my overall self worth. There are two huge problems with this line of thinking : First, there is always another game that I could win or lose, so my self value was always in flux and on a roller coaster ride. Second, there is no achievement that I can have on a field or anywhere else in life that compares to the gifts that I have been born with, the gifts that I have to share and the gifts that I am given in my everyday life. I want the youth and families that I work with to understand that EVERYONE has those gifts and that athletics is a way to discover and strengthen them. To me, it's not about the wins or the losses but what you become through those challenges.

The reason that I share this tonight is almost everyone here is involved heavily with youth, high school or college athletics. I am sure all of you have noticed some of the things that I have in the past decade or so. Youth sports, even at the youngest ages, has become a big business, a hyper-competitive and dog-eat-dog hostile world, where kids are pushed to achieve. Not only are the youth athletes' identities tied to their success but many times, the parents' identities as well. However, not everyone out there becomes a professional athlete, nor does everyone get a scholarship, nor does everyone win every game. But, everyone can push themselves to reach their full potential to be their best in sports. Everyone can learn about themselves as people through the challenges of athletics. Everyone can make friendships that will last a lifetime and receive the other numerous gifts that sports bring us. I believe that it is our responsibility as coaches, teachers and mentors to help our athletes and families understand that these are the real goals and the true achievements.

So, thank you all for this honor. I humbly accept it knowing that I have a lot more work to do for the game!

This idea of success has been coming up a lot lately in my blogs. I want to make it very clear that there is nothing wrong with success, per se. It's just that chasing success and not enjoying the ride can be an unfulfilling way to live. Pushing myself to be my best is the fun part, and if I get recognized or achieve something from that, then great...if not, no skin off my back! It's also what we do with success that matters. So, I feel blessed that due to my success in the past that I get to work with the lacrosse community and share what I have learned to anyone who is interested. That's my journey right now and I am enjoying every minute of it!