Photo Credit: Michael Bussinelli
Lucia Donahue recently had the opportunity to speak with John Petzold, Ridgewood Lacrosse Association’s (“RLA”) Boys Program Director, on “One Town, One Team” in Ridgewood at the beginning of a boys’ 7th grade lacrosse practice.
Lucia: John, recently I have noticed a new motto, that I have not heard before, being said by the players in the huddle at the end of practice. What is that motto?
John: It is “One Town, One Team”. While much has changed since I joined the RLA fourteen years ago, one tradition has remained the same, the idea of us all being “One Town, One Team.”
Lucia: What else can you tell me about how Ridgewood’s youth lacrosse program has changed in that time period?
John: Over the years, we have grown into one of the largest town programs in the country with over 600 players and 35 teams between travel teams, recreational teams and in-town clinics for both girls and boys. Among our players there are all levels of skill and varying degrees of competitive spirit, but the common denominator is that they all want to play lacrosse, get better at it, and have fun while doing it!
Lucia: Where are all of these games being played?
John: On most weekends, our 35 teams are engaged in lacrosse games in Ridgewood and throughout the tri-state area, so often players on different teams or in different grades are not able to see each other play.
Lucia: How does Ridgewood Lacrosse Day fit into all of this?
John: Ridgewood Lacrosse Day (“Lax Day”) came about so our players, coaches, parents and fans could spend the day together, showcasing the great game of lacrosse to all Ridgewood residents. All of our teams play a home game on this day affording us the opportunity to spend the day together as a Family. We believe our motto “One Town, One Team” is not only a good description of the spirit of Ridgewood, but a natural continuation of the idea behind “Lax Day”-a day where team lines blur and everyone can celebrate their love of the sport together.
Lucia: Is there anything else that is unique about Ridgewood’s approach to youth lacrosse?
John: It's our hope that our players realize how special it is to be a Ridgewood Lacrosse player; not only for that 2nd grader looking forward, but also for those 8th graders that are "graduating" out of our program and looking forward to high school. Our players can see ahead to what their experience as a high school player might be. Ridgewood’s tradition of having high school coaches and players as well as newly-minted college players work closely with the RLA coaches and players, in clinics and game settings throughout the year, allows just that.
Lucia: Finally, what is your hope that the kids will take away from being a part of the RLA program?
John: That regardless of gender, age, grade or team roster, we believe that all Ridgewood youth lacrosse players enjoy a special bond that they share as players and fans for each other, and, that they can see going forward, their bond will continue as they move on to the next stage, Always in Lacrosse, “One Town, One Team…”