NORTH WEST LACROSSE; THERE NEEDS TO BE A PLAN
If you are involved in Lacrosse you are usually a zealot - it is that sort of sport.
There are various areas of activity which each has their particular game formats, organisations and competitive structures.
1 The women’s game is based on the girl’s school programme which is firmly based in the independent schools. The schools play a long established competitive fixture programme and because of the academic nature of the schools their players sustain University lacrosse teams and ultimately feed International teams.
Winning a Bronze medal in the last World Cup would suggest that Women’s Lacrosse is able to compete (except perhaps with USA) with the best in the World.
2 Lacrosse for women has always been a fairly strong and stable University sport because of the school feed. For men, university lacrosse was for many years, very much a minority sport with only a handful of Universities playing the men’s game. That situation has changed dramatically in the last few years with an initiative led by the Centurion LC, lacrosse has seen the number of Universities hosting men’s teams exploding. Many of the recruits are decent athletes and develop into competent players. However, the number of University players who make it to play at a top level can be counted on the fingers of one hand – if that.
3 Men’s Club Lacrosse has been the basis of the men’s game all my lifetime. And for all my lifetime the game has hung by a thread. The game has centred on London and Manchester with an outpost in Sheffield. The South game seeming to be in a reasonable and stable state at the moment certainly compared to where it was in the 1970s and 80s.
Sheffield always seems a miracle to me. On Sunday we saw a Sheffield team of real promise playing in the U12 6 a sides. For many years Sheffield declined (I think for religious reasons - it wasn’t proper lacrosse) to take part. T hey have kept club lacrosse going in South Yorkshire despite having to cross the Pennines every other weekend.
Clubs in the wider North are a challenge to run but we have Newcastle, Lincoln, Stoke, Leeds, Hull and Liverpool managing to survive outside the Manchester ghetto.
The stabilisation of the south is probably a positive result of the growth in Men’s University lacrosse though there is a clear challenge to produce top quality players. For those with long memories this is possible. A coach called Terry Morrow produced a team called Lee which was not only good enough to win the Iroquois Cup beating South Manchester but also to produce top class players and England international .
There are also signs of new clubs in the midlands – Milton Keynes, and Nuneaton.
Then we come to the Manchester ghetto. For all my life it has been the hotbed of men’s lacrosse where by far the best lacrosse is played. Every English England player except for the Lee players, Paine and Scotton (though Gaines, Henderson and Kemsley were as good if not better) in1974, has come from Manchester Clubs.
Despite the fact that Manchester has the biggest clubs and is the only area where there is a structured and viable junior programme, it has not been in great health. The collapse of clubs, even those which won major trophies like Urmston and South Manchester and others like Sale, Old Stops, Heaton Mersey Guild, Oldham, Bramhall, Blackpool, Old Mancunians, and Old Aldwinians do not suggest a sport in the rudest of health. Currently clubs like Ashton, Wilmslow, and Cheadle Hulme are struggling manfully to keep going.
Timperley, which would probably be considered one of the stronger clubs, is not alone trying to address serious problems.
In the early 1980s, when I was much more of a fire brand then than I am now, I brought to the UK the first US player coaches to help run the Timperley embryo junior scheme and to play for Timperley and win games. The scheme evolved into the LDO programme
When the NGB for men’s lacrosse decided that they did have any grounds to accuse me of bringing the game into disrepute they invited me to form a Development Group and to sit on the Board. A couple of years later I presented a Development Plan and sought some funding. (I think it was £3k a year for 3years. A lot of money in those days). There was a long discussion but the winning argument was that Men’s Lacrosse was in terminal decline and they did not want to leave a large sum of money to be divided between the members of Stockport LC as they would be the last club standing.
If I would be English Lacrosse then I would have some difficult choices to make. We have seen a positive age for funding for the Governing Bodies for Sport. It would ridiculous to think that the level of funding will continue. The small amount of money available will need to be used as effectively possible.
• National squads which require NGB involvement
• HO staff which I suspect will be much reduced.
• Girl’s Lacrosse is by far the biggest participation area. The National Schools Tournament is one of the biggest events in world Lacrosse, and requires a level of staff input.
• New clubs they will inevitably require some pump priming funding (perhaps National Development fund administered by CLC)
• I would put Manchester fairly low down on the priority list. The area still has many very experienced and capable people. What it needs is an administrative structure which works. but we also need a development plan which will plot a positive way forward.
My understanding is that the regional government has been delegated to regional organisations which possibly report to the National Lacrosse Committee (whatever that is).
For Manchester we were gifted North West Lacrosse which is in theory a necessary vehicle for Manchester. What seems to be lacking is the quality of leadership which is needed to drive the vehicle.
The future of Manchester Lacrosse –which certainly does have a future –is dependent on a new group of young and innovative leadership. Perhaps a starting point is to identify examples of best practice – of which there are many – and bring them together as a coherent forward plan.
SCHOOL CLIMATE PROTESTS
For me the strike actions by school children in respect of the great challenge of Climate Change is a hugely positive development. It shows not only the commitment but the knowledge and understanding of the great demographic that is young people.
The reaction from some but not all of so called “adults” has been demeaning and condescending. Some reactions by politicians and teachers have suggested that young people would be better served concentrating on school works. I think if I were a teacher I would have been extremely proud if my pupils had come up with a strong position on perhaps the world’s most important problem and expressed.
The movement which was started by a 16 year old Swedish student Greta Thunberg has grown from her original solo protest into a global movement. Last Friday more than 1.4 million young people took part in school strikes in 2,233 cities and towns in 128 countries.
The next action day is planned for 15th April
The shambles only gets more shambolic.
I do not think that I have ever been so depressed about the future of my country.
Brexit has created a despairing, squalid country which is being run by deluded, uneducated racists.
We are supposed to understand what has driven people to vote leave in the discredited 2016 Referendum. It is rather like the saying that someone is justified in beating his wife and children because his job is not going well.
The country is hopelessly divided and will be for the rest of my life. The idea that we all come together to support something like the May deal is quite absurd.
The best deal with the EU is the one that we have and people like me will accept nothing else.
Luckily the young people are significantly more informed and decisive and would undoubtedly support remain in large numbers (80%).
My generation has trashed the futures for my children and grandchildren and has ignored the legacy of the men like my Father in Law who was at Dunkirk and in Normandy.
It is difficult to say but the most patriotic thing that my generation can do is to die. Why should they determine the future of my family?
WHY THE EU IS IMPORTANT IF NOT VITAL TO OUR LIVES
The whole debate around Brexit has been based on economic arguments and clearly these are important and there are no advantages outside the EU.
However, for me the reasons for remaining within the EU are much wider.
Why the EU is unwilling to capitulate and give us everything we would like. Simply, they have different reasons to us for wanting to protect the integrity of the EU.
The big question is not the obvious one regarding the economic effects,
The EU has rightly become the talismanic issue of our times. Those of us who support EU membership will tend to own a cluster of other values and principles. We recognise that today’s economies and societies are interdependent and that it is imperative to have the institutions to manage these interdependencies whether on climate change or the over arching power of the new technologies. We are not instinctively distrustful, or even hostile to other cultures, languages and peoples. We find diversity attractive and enriching. We are for openness and tolerance. We are proud of our country but do not see that pride compromised by working with other countries and peoples.
We do not believe in capitalism but see the case for stakeholder capitalism, for the regulation of finance and the use of state power to promote competition and innovation.
We celebrate the role of trades unions and do not regard low taxation as the be all and end all of public policy.
We uphold the values behind a social contract in which members of society accept mutual rights and obligations, so sustaining strong public health, education and social insurance that supplies income, l in adversity or old age. We believe in strong public institutions ranging from the BBC to museums, libraries, theatres, art galleries and sports facilities which so enrich the country.
Propounding EU membership is thus a civilisational proposition.
To reject this is to deny international interdependencies. To reject the mutuality of international obligation and the necessary pooling of sovereignty and the sharing of law and resources to achieve common ends.
Brexit is a parallel proposition – looking to create a world of closure, intolerance and suspicion of the other. We will become more intolerant and more mean-spirited accelerating trends already clear since the referendum.
Many of us do not want to live in the kind of country that Brexit is creating and there are probably a majority which share that view.
If we leave the EU millions of us will seek to convert our fellow citizens and remind them that so much of what makes us British has roots in very different values from those feeding Brexit.
I THOUGHT I LIVED IN A DEMOCRACY
For hundreds of years we have deceived ourselves that we live in a democracy. We quote Magna Carta which in reality enfranchised a very small number of the nobility.
The extension of the franchise in the 19th century was not really reflected expansion of the parliamentary seats.
Our first past the post system means that in an election millions of people do not have their votes reflected by seats in Parliament. If you vote Lib Dem, Green, or even UKIP you vote will not be reflected in appropriate representation.
The 2016 Referendum was in reality one of the most undemocratic acts inflicted on any nation.
The referendum was set up on terms that you would never contemplate inflicting on Timperley Sports Club.
The Leave Campaign was clearly illegally funded and based on a pack of lies but it is still seen as “the will of the people”. Whatever that might mean.
We are told that the voice of the 17,000,000 must be respected. Fine, but the voice of the 16,000.000 who voted remain not to mention the 14,000,000 who did not vote who in my view in a democracy must be seen as in favour of the status quo, are readily ignored.
We are told that it is an insult to the 17,000,000 to suggest that they did not understand what they were voting for. I am perfectly willing to accept that their decision was an attempt to hit out at someone because of their disgraceful disadvantage caused by the infliction of austerity as a political weapon. The EU was an attractive but completely wrong target.
I know very few leavers – thank God. But those I know cannot give me one coherent, intelligent reason why we are leaving.
The current situation is a democratic shambles. Brexit is the ultimate example of an exercise in self harm. I am not sure why my and my family’s futures should be determined by people who are, whichever way you look at it, uneducated, unintelligent racists! Oh sorry you cannot say that
This is not democracy.
The massacre in Christchurch is quite appalling and a comment on the world we live in.
Historically, I suspect that the world has always been fairly dreadful and that slaughter has been common place but modern communication and in particular social media means that the information regarding is much more easily available.
The horrors of the 1st WW were not appreciated fully by the population, if appreciated at all. The 2nd WW did not really communicate the horrors to the population in the UK.
My father in law was at Dunkirk and later in Normandy (although a few days after D Day). He saw the suffering of the French but loved them because of the welcome they gave him (billeted with a French family). He was a Durham miner –hated Churchill but was a proud European.
He would have been appalled by the situation the country is now in.
Following the Manchester Bomb the reaction from Theresa May was appalling. She was found missing. She is supposed to be the leader and at a time of national crisis she went into hiding. Thank god for the people of Manchester.
May was similarly lacking in her reaction to the Grenfell fire disaster.
The Christchurch Atrocity saw Jacinda Ardern show impressive leadership. Her speech to the nation was strong and unifying. Her interaction with the victims and the respect she showed to them was everything that Theresa May was not in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing.
Jacinda Ardern became the youngest Prime Minister of New Zealand and gave birth whilst in office and took her child with her to the UN. She became something of a celebrity but was there any substance to her? Where is the steel?
Now in the most horrific of circumstances we have seen the steel. We have seen qualities of leadership that show her to be a lioness and that to call so many of our current leaders donkeys (particularly in the UK) is a disservice to hard working donkeys the world over.
Jacinda Ardern has acted outstandingly. She has communicated quickly with her country and given them language in which to talk about the unspeakable. “They are us.” The idea that Muslims are separate was felled in one swoop.” New Zealand had been chosen because it is safe, because it is no place for hatred or racism. Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion, home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it.
She immediately promised to tighten gun laws, made sure that the costs of funerals would be met and that there was financial assistance available for those who needed it.
The day after the atrocity she travelled to Christchurch, taking with her the leaders of all political parties, she stood with Islamic leaders and hugged the grieving wearing the hijab in sympathy. Sympathy and love, what kind of world leaders talk like that. Certainly not Theresa May whose repose to the Manchester Arena bombing and the Grenfell fire lacked leadership and compassion.
NZ has Jacinda and we have Theresa May. What did we do to deserve that?