Holdsworths’ Volunteer Spirit Sets Up WCLAs
It’s no secret that lacrosse often is a family affair, and that holds true whether it’s playing, coaching, officiating, or volunteering.
Just ask Dave and Janet Holdsworth of Maple Grove, Minn.
The US Lacrosse Women’s Collegiate Lacrosse Associates (WCLA) is the largest women’s collegiate club lacrosse association in the country with approximately 200 teams, and its smooth operation is thanks in part to the Holdsworths. Janet is a WCLA coach and WCLA recognition committee member, and Dave is the WCLA subcommittee chair and WCLA rankings committee member.
In Colorado Springs, Colo., May 9-12, the past six months of long volunteer hours will culminate with 16 Division I and 8 Division II WCLA teams gathering to compete in the 2012 WCLA National Championships. For event coverage, visit LaxMagazine.com.
Dave and Janet Holdsworth caught up with the US Lacrosse communications staff for a Q&A prior the start of their own May madness.
How long have you been involved with lacrosse (playing/coaching/umpiring)?
Dave and Janet Holdsworth, with their children Charlie and Tori, volunteer countless hours for the US Lacrosse WCLA structure.
Janet: I played lacrosse as a young girl all the way through college. After graduation, Dave (United States Naval Academy ‘91) served his commitment as a nuclear submarine officer and we moved many times around the country. When we settled in Minnesota, I was in a doctorate program at the University of Minnesota (UM) and was approached by some high school players who wanted to start a club team. Coaching started as a "side" experience — 16 years later, I’m still coaching, and it’s been one of the most transforming experiences in my life!
Dave: I’ve been involved in lacrosse for 13 years but have never played. When we moved to Minnesota, Janet renewed her involvement in the game and helped start up the state’s girls’ high school league. I realized pretty quickly that if I wanted to see her at all, I’d need to become involved as well. I began volunteering and eventually I was running the high school league, umpiring and managing the local college club league.
What was the main factor for getting involved with the US Lacrosse WCLA?
Dave: I am a huge proponent of providing lacrosse opportunities for players at any college. I saw first hand, through Janet’s coaching at UM, how college club lacrosse afforded many positive experiences. I had been running the college club league in Minnesota for a few years, and the chair position opened up on the WCLA leadership team. The chance to help grow the college club sport was very appealing, and I’m proud to say that the WCLA has expanded to become the largest college club league in the U.S.
How long have you been involved with the WCLA and in what capacity(ies) over the years?
Dave: I’ve been the WCLA chair for the past four years.
Janet: I’ve been a coach for the UM club team for eight years. Additionally, I served on the WCLA Recognitions Committee and am honored to represent our geographic area and the WCLA as a member of the US Lacrosse Strategic Planning Committee.
How many hours this past season would you say you have dedicated to WCLA business?
Dave: Over the past six months, I’ve probably spent about 200 hours on WCLA business. If you throw in my daddy duties watching our kids, Charlie and Tori, while Janet coached it may be close to 1,000!
Janet: My team practices four times per week, two of those sessions go from 10 p.m. to midnight. Add commute time and early rising with my children, and my body feels like it’s more than that! Committee work hours vary but, for example, the Recognitions Committee requires many hours of analysis and preparation with a short turnaround time. I can’t count the number of hours Dave and I talk about my team, WCLA game results and LaxPower.com ratings. Our children will say, "Can you two stop talking about lacrosse, now?!"
What about the sport or the WCLA makes you want to continue your support?
Janet: I believe wholeheartedly in my players and our program, and I think that all of the WCLA club team officers/student leaders across the country are amazing given all that they manage. Coaching a club team is challenging and yet, it’s all incredibly rewarding! Despite the countless hours of lacrosse and our different roles within the WCLA, I think our marriage can survive. Dave couldn’t tell me where the USS Bluefish was heading on deployment and, similarly, he doesn’t tell me what is discussed on WCLA Council conference calls.
Dave: Seeing what a positive experience college club lacrosse is for the local and national players. Secondly, my partners on the WCLA leadership team are phenomenal. Few people know how much time and effort it takes to run the WCLA, and that it’s done entirely by volunteers. Many of those on my team have been serving the WCLA for almost a decade. Without their dedication the growth of the WCLA wouldn’t have been possible. [See sidebar for committee members]
Any additional comments you would like to share?
Janet: There are wonderful choices to play this sport at different competitive levels. When you are deeply involved in and knowledgeable of the WCLA, you learn that this competitive choice is a good one for young women who also want to play other sports in college, study abroad, join a sorority or anything else. I’m grateful to the WCLA Council members for their hard work, dedication to, and leadership in women’s collegiate club lacrosse. I applaud US Lacrosse for its continued support of the WCLA and its continued recognition of the value that club-level collegiate lacrosse can play in the lives of student-athletes and coaches!
— Emily Gibson
► WCLA Leadership: WCLA Chair Dave Holdsworth, Governance Chair Lissa Fickert, Secretary Shanta Loecker, Development Committee Chair Suzanna Aronowitz, Eligibility Chair Jack Cribbin, Recognition Committee Chair Jessica Hardy, Rankings Committee Chair Gabe Valenzuela and Communications Committee Chair Brendan O’Brien.
► 2012 WCLA National Championship: Event Info | Event Coverage