Thirteen years ago, Glencoe and West Linn enrolled seventy seven 7th & 8th grade participants into the inaugural season of youth lacrosse in Oregon. The beauty of that effort rested in the simplicity of scheduling games over a refreshment, getting a few kids & parents together and having a good time. The coaches knew the fundamentals, Xs and Os and established a format that effectively met the immediate needs of the players. They grabbed some guys familiar with the rules to do a little refereeing and all was accomplished in a few minutes with some phone calls and faxes.
Wow, how times have changed . . .
By 2008, that small start had grown by 48 additional teams and nearly 7,000 additional first through eighth grade players. Teams from Burns to Hillsboro, Vancouver to Klamath Falls, first grade to eighth, boys and girls, facilitated through use of cell phones, IMs, texting, and email make this once simple task a daunting undertaking. Today’s youth lacrosse requires knowledgeable, educated coaches and referees, rule formats that reflect the state of the game nationally and centralized communications to reduce redundant and time consuming efforts of volunteers trying to keep parents and players properly informed. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, this mercurial growth necessitates proper oversight and accountability to ensure the best educational and playing experience for all involved in the sport.
The OYLA was established in August 2007 and charged with the initial priority of establishing rules for each playing level that all teams would conform to in age appropriate play. This was accomplished. In our second year, we have six committees working towards very aggressive goals to continue improving how the game is played, coached, refereed and administered. Specifically, a strong focus on programs to educate and train coaches and officials will be the highlight of our efforts this spring. Additionally, we are working on closing the gap between our old “Oregon” rules and the nationally mandated US Lacrosse rule set, enabling players to move about the country and play by standardized rules by 2010. Finally, we are finalizing this membership website which will provide rules, league information, calendars, league schedules, referee contacts, team contacts, field locations, camps, clinics, forms, league news and much, much more.
-Bill Lake, President, OYLA