More Than a Game

Blair sticks with it in offseason

(Toni L. Sandys)
Washington Post Staff Photographer
Monday, January 24, 2011

"This is all in preparation for March 15 tryouts," Blair sophomore Daniel Leventhal said. With hopes of making the team, Leventhal has spent the past eight Saturdays at the Greenbelt Sportsplex with other members of the junior varsity and varsity teams participating in a winter indoor lacrosse league. "I still have a lot to learn," admits Leventhal, who has just started playing the sport.

To help players like Leventhal, varsity captain Guodong Fu approached first-year Coach Chris Brown about the league. Used to playing year-round, Fu wanted to work with his team to make it stronger. Last winter playing for a club team helped him, but not his team. This winter would be different. After a meeting in the fall, enough players had expressed interest, a parent volunteered to coach and the team was registered. "It's a great chance for them to get out and get some work with their sticks," said Brown, who embraced the idea when first asked. "It's good for them to pass and catch with guys who will be on the same line as them."

Since November, Fu, a senior, has helped organize informal practices after school. Tuesdays and Thursdays the Blazers are on the field practicing throwing and catching. A teammate usually brings a goal for them to shoot on. On Wednesdays, the team heads inside to the weight room. Every Saturday for the past two months, they've met at the indoor sports complex to face off against other high school teams in two 30-minute games.

"What we do on the weekdays, we're developing our skills individually, and then this is when we develop as a team. When we learn how to work together," Fu said.

The games are played on a smaller field with only seven players out at a time. "It's like a miniature field and there's a lot less running with the ball and a lot more passing," said senior Mac Farquhar. "It makes us focus a lot on stick skills because you have to pass constantly. Every time we turn around there's somebody right in our face so we have to dump it off to somebody else."

"The spring season is when it matters the most. I think we are going to be ahead of where we started off last year and hopefully we'll finish stronger than we did," Fu said.

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