“One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” - John F. Kennedy

When you consider the time and effort it takes to plan practices, the seemingly endless travel to and from practices and games, the lining of fields, the gathering of equipment, the checking and rechecking of the game schedule, and every other stressor resulting from your unique role in lacrosse, you might justifiably ask:

Why am I doing this?

Why spend time obsessing over my team’s lineup?

Why consider all the logistics to get thirty teams to show up at a tournament?

Why worry if I have enough officials to cover a whole weekend of games?

Why get in the minivan and drop my daughter off at practice; then get a text that she forgot her goggles, then spend more time in traffic to go home and get her goggles, only to come back and discover that a teammate lent her an extra pair?

The answer is simple: You make a difference.

Consider this short story based on “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley.

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

It does not matter how long you have coached, or that you are the newest addition to your organization’s board, or how much money you shelled out last year making sure every kid got a cool jersey. What truly matters, is that you had a positive impact in the lives of others through lacrosse.

Your players will have a better experience because you took the time to prepare for your game.

Your tournament attendees will be grateful that the schedule is clear and concise.

Your officials will be excited to work with new partners.

Your child will remember that you dropped everything because she needed you.

From all of us here at US Lacrosse,

Thank you for your membership.

Thank you for your donations.

Thank you for helping us do more for others.

But most of all,

Thank you for making a difference.

Here’s to a wonderful 2019 season!