Playing Through a Pandemic

With the COVID-19 pandemic raging throughout the country, there are many question marks regarding what our various lacrosse seasons will look like across the different levels and leagues we have the privilege of watching and following. After an exciting opening weekend for some NCAA D1 teams made possible by strict quarantines and rigorous testing, I began wondering what the plan was for teams that might not have the money or structure to do as the giants of the lacrosse world do. Laws, regulations, and rules vary across the states and schools.

Being a club lax guy at heart I reached out to 4/5 of our alma mater and former team, Elon Club Lacrosse. I spoke with the team’s president, Max Kahan, a protégé of mine. I taught Max everything he knows, quite literally*. When I met Max his freshman year in our Applied Calculus class (in which I got an A-*) he barely even knew how to hold a lacrosse stick*. Now he is the president of the club! I truly am an excellent influence and an asset to any program*. 

I knew that Elon was still practicing as I had insisted on being included in the club lax GroupMe chat despite having graduated this May. It keeps me young.

Below I have included an exclusive, behind the scenes, confidential, never before seen or heard conversation with Max regarding the upcoming season.

Max Kahan (MK): First off, thanks for taking the time to speak with me. Love what you guys are doing over at QuickStick. 

Teague Whalen (TW): What’s not to love? We are sick. Max please, tell us a little bit about Elon’s club team- What league are you in? Who do you play? How big is the team?

MK: Elon’s club team competes in the MCLA. We play in the MCLA’s SELC under the DIV II Mountain region. This is our second year playing DIV II as we used to play D1. Currently, we play Appalachian State, Davidson, Kennesaw State, UNC Charlotte, and Wake Forest who are all in the Mountain region with us. Last year we also took a trip to Charleston to play against the Citadel and Charleston who are in the coastal region of DIV II.  The team is a casual but skilled and competitive. We typically have a group of around 40 or so guys that consistently come to practice. 

TW: Less skilled then you once were, remember Max I graduated. Can you talk to us about what it takes to be the president of a club lacrosse team?

MK: It definitely takes a lot of communication and organization skills. But more importantly, you need to be a leader both on and off the field. It ultimately is up to the president to make sure the team runs smoothly in all facets of the organization since they act as the main point of contact for the league and the school.

TW: Hopefully you are half the president Kent Chance was. What are your current plans for the season?

MK: Currently, our university is not allowing any club sports teams to travel to or from campus. So effectively, we cannot go anywhere off campus to play games against other schools. We also cannot have teams come to us to play. So, essentially, no games this spring. We are hoping that pandemic rules loosen up towards the end of the spring and we can get some last-minute scrimmages in, but right now no competition has been scheduled. 

TW: No games, must be tough. How are you keeping up practice turnout and getting kids motivated?

MK: Yes, it has definitely been a challenge, especially only being allowed to practice twice a week. We have been keeping up practice turnout by making one practice of the week include stick skills, dodging, and shooting drills with the second practice primarily being short side games and scrimmages. Also, we are planning an intrasquad round-robin tournament for the spring to stimulate some competition. 

TW: How has practice changed?

MK: Normally, we have three practices a week and there is no limit on number of players. Now, we are only allowed two practices a week and due to our school and county COVID guidelines, we are only allowed 25 players at practice at a time. Additionally, masks need to be worn under our helmets at all times.  In order to get the most people possible at practices, we split our two-hour practice time into two one-hour sessions. 25 Players are allowed on the field at a time so we are requiring people to sign up on a google spreadsheet ahead of time in order to make sure we have an accurate headcount and abide by the school’s rules.

TW: Wow, sounds like a lot of rules to abide by. I’m glad you guys are attempting to stay safe. What has been the most difficult part about this new season?

MK: There are a few things that have made this new season very difficult. The 25 players at practice at a time due to our school’s COVID restrictions has been tough. Additionally, masks need to be worn under our helmets at all times. While I understand these restrictions from a safety perspective, it has certainly affected player turnout.

TW: I see, well I hope the Phoenix can rise above it… (yikes I’ll see myself out) Any big takeaways, learning experiences or messages to your fellow club laxers?

MK: I know this is not the situation any of us wanted or expected. However, I think my biggest takeaway is to always make the most of your situation. While things may suck right now, it is the reality we live in and we can only put our best foot forward to enjoy lacrosse in whatever way we can.

Well there you have it folks, that was my conversation with Elon Club Lacrosse President Max Kahan. What a bright young man, I truly am a great role model.*

The lacrosse world is going to look a lot different this spring, but keep your heads up and stick with it! Here’s to a better 2021.

*These claims are disputed by many.

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