BANGOR, Maine — Dylan Cross of Brewer was one of the youngsters to join Eastern Maine Youth Lacrosse this year, and the 9-year-old enjoyed how the season went.
“I felt like it was a good year and I made lots of new friends,” said Cross.
Gayle Middleton, president of Eastern Maine Youth Lacrosse, thought it was a good year for the whole league, which includes boys and girls in grades 3 through 8.
“The girls struggled with numbers, but the boys all played full schedules,” said Middleton.
The girls still had fun, though, according to Middleton.
“The Kennebec group of girls, we played several games together,” she said.
The Kennebec girls have been in operation longer and have greater participation, so they would lend Eastern Maine Youth Lacrosse a couple so they could play a regular game. It worked out well, said Middleton.
“The girls learned a lot and had a great time,” she said.
The boys did, also, if Cross is an indication.
There were two aspects Cross liked the most.
“The games, and I learned new positions,” he said.
He liked what he learned, and he ended up switching positions.
“I thought I would do attack most, but I switched to midfield,” he said.
The switch was his decision when he discovered how much activity was involved.
“I liked how you do more running, and I got to do faceoffs,” said Cross.
Cross felt his catching and cradling improved the most over the course of the season, but as a midfielder, he can’t overlook his passing either.
“At the beginning of the season it wasn’t that good,” he said. “At the end my passing was really good.”
Jonathan Cross, Dylan’s father and coach, was impressed with how quickly the children improved their techniques.
“A lot of kids had never seen a stick before,” said Jonathan Cross. “The kids responded very well, and they’re sponges when it comes to absorbing stuff.”
For the parents and coaches, the most important aspect was that the kids have fun.
“The whole mood and attitude of lacrosse is so the kids have fun,” said Jonathan Cross. “The biggest focus was they learned a sport and had a good time.”
The games were competitive, according to Jonathan Cross, but the atmosphere was relaxed.
“The parents [of the Eastern Maine Youth Lacrosse players] and the parents of the other teams were very supportive [of each other],” said Jonathan Cross. “It was rewarding from a coach’s point of view.”
Middleton was pleased with the way things came together, starting with the February registration right through the end of the season, which was the same weekend that the high schools ended in June.
“Timing-wise, the schedule really worked out well,” she said. “We’ll probably keep it the same next year.”
Except, maybe, for the season-ending picnic, she said. It was held the weekend after the last game this year. Turnout was enthusiastic but down because many people were taking their vacations. Next year, it’s possible that it will be the day after the last games instead, but that will be up to the board to decide.
The league has added board members, now up to seven, and Middleton expects to add three more after next year. Then the board positions will be for three-year terms with three new members coming on each year.
Jonathan Cross sees a bright future.
“I’m optimistic we’ll have an even better turnout next year,” he said. “I hope we can grow it even more.”
Phoenix sets soccer tryouts
The Mid Coast Phoenix, part of Maine Premier Soccer, is holding tryouts Tuesday in Waterville for the Under-9 through Under-18 for boys and girls teams.
The U9-U12 boys and girls will try out from 5-6:30 p.m. at Thomas College. The tryouts for the U13-U18 boys and girls will run from 6:30-8 p.m., also at Thomas.