Before I speak about Pittsburgh, I must mention the time I spent in NYC with Brett and Oliver from Austin, TX. Brett’s mom, Karin, found me online and we figured out a time to meet up. Brett was already pretty well versed in stringing mesh, but needed a bit of help with traditional, while Oliver had only strung mesh 1 or 2 times himself. They seemed like good friends, as I was able to help them both at the same time, even though they were of varying skill levels in stringing. You can see us jamming, here. We had just enough time to learn the basics of traditional, which we’ll refine down in Austin this coming weekend.
Before I left Brett’s grandfather’s apartment in NYC, Joe from TOS was crossing paths with me; those kids got a lot of lax time in during their trip in NYC! After a subway and AirTrain ride to JFK for my 3:15 flight, I was all boarded, when all of a sudden, we were delayed for a “nose steering jiggle.” Interesting. Although, it did give me a little time to continue writing; it’s amazing what you can do with zero access to internet or cell service – I might just try it a bit more often!
Fortunately, like how all the fortune that has come my way so far has happened, I had help from other folks on the ground in Pittsburgh to aid me while my flight was delayed. Ryan, from ComLax, was gracious enough to hold off the eager players and parents at the Neville Island store while I was late. Saying that, there is no way I would have even gotten there, or had the fantastic week that I had, if it wasn’t for Mike from Odor Gladiator; to say he was a generous host would be an understatement – not only did he offer to pick me up from the airport and drive me to the workshops last week, but he allowed me to crash at his house the whole weekend! Their bunny and I slept in the basement; it was awesome.
At the ComLax workshop on Saturday night, I was greeted by 17 eager young faces that were ready to learn how to string. As it normally goes, I was given full attention and silence (almost awkwardly so) during the introductory portion, but once we got into the hands on part of the workshop, it was full steam ahead – kids were asking questions and getting down and dirty with their pockets; this was also awesome. I put a few pictures up here. The workshop ran late, so it was back to bed shortly after.
In the morning, after a little breakfast and some racing (gaming with Mike’s son, Aidan), Mike and I were invited onto the LaxWorm radio show! We jammed a little about OG and ZLAS, respectively, then we were off to the second round of workshops: mesh then traditional. For the mesh workshop, this time, we busted out my stash of Canadian, or Super, mesh, as StickDoctor calls it (who is sponsoring my tour – more on this in an upcoming post), much to the happiness of the stringers at hand. I encourage folks to try out all different kinds of mesh and traditional to figure out what works best for them, on their team, at that time – this could mean that a pocket would stay the same, or change, depending on yourself and external circumstances.
The 7 players and 1 dad that attended the mesh workshop at Shady Side Academy were as focused, if not more so due to the time and number of people in the workshop, than the ComLax one, and we were able to get into some real nitty gritty in regards to stringing – inside, outside, singles, floats, locks, etc. etc.
Tucker Gillman, who I actually coached during a Trilogy camp two summers ago (just committed to G-town), helped me at this workshop, and even taught me a little something called the “stack” or “Canadian stack” interlock – another tool in the box or trick in the bag, as they say. I love to learn something new, as frequently as possible – the first step in doing that is emptying your cup.
To wrap up the day, I had my first ever female attendee! This was awesome to see that girls are interested in what they can do to make their stick a bit different, and how to do it, in general. During this workshop, I had a chance to refresh my tracker pocket and the student, Alex, was on point with following crosslace interlocks, which is a big part of it. Patience and willingness to make mistakes are also key aspects of learning traditional, and any pocket for that matter.
To finish my trip, I had a delicious vegan dinner with the Pittsburgh crew, including local PITT MCLA coach, Sean Buzzerd. Back to the airport the next morning, and on my way to NYC without a hiccup! I’m ever grateful to those who joined me for this first step on my journey, and it was invaluable in my writing of Zen, Lacrosse and the Art of Stringing – each interaction and experience I have will hopefully add depth to each chapter.
Next stop – Frederick, MD and McLean, VA – are you aware of your pocket yet?