Today we had two new players at afternoon lacrosse practice at Lacrosse the Nations (LtN), one of Manna Project's partner organizations in Nicaragua.
After a few weeks of inconsistent practices during late July—due to holidays and earthquakes—we are trying to get our numbers back up at practice. We’ve been encouraging all the kids to get the word out and bring their friends, family, and classmates, so we were all really excited when lacrosse player, Josseling, brought two of her cousins.
While LtN Coach and Country Director Javier Silva, and LtN volunteer, Miles, organized our warm up and passing drills, I got to teach Kevin and José Martín the basics of how to pass and catch. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried, but it is not an easy task to learn to throw the first time you pick up a lacrosse stick - and that’s not even considering that I was teaching them in Spanish (and I’m probably worse than I’m willing to admit). To their credit, both boys took everything in stride, and listened to and made adjustments from all of my suggestions. José Martín especially turned out to be a complete natural and was banging passes around and even putting a few shots on goal by the middle of the practice.
Even more impressive than their skill improvements were Kevin and José Martín’s attitudes. At the end of practice everyday, we go around and everyone says one thing that they liked and one they didn’t like, or something we could improve during practice. When Kevin was up, he said he enjoyed learning to play lacrosse and playing in the scrimmage with his team. José Martín said that what he didn’t like about practice was that during the games “No me dan pases,” (they didn’t pass to me). He said this with the same confidence of a player who knows once he gets the ball he’s about to tear it up. I have no doubt that as soon as everyone gets to know them a little better, these guys will be some of the first looks for passes. I personally am super excited to watch these new players develop during my time here, and I have no doubt they’ll be back playing again on Wednesday.
In addition to our new teammates, today’s practice was the best I’ve seen so far. Everyone had a good attitude and was giving 100 percent from before practice even started, during warm ups, all the way through drills and into the charla (class lesson) at the end of practice. After only one month, I’m incredibly excited to see where this energy and all these awesome kids take us during my year here.
On a more bittersweet note, today’s practice was the last for Miles, an LtN volunteer and all-around great guy who’s been here for the past month helping us with some of our behind the scenes work. We are all are certainly sad to see him go, but the work he’s done for us will definitely help us make some changes and make LtN an even better organization.
Until next time, Tuani,