From The Field To The Sideline

Three of our current ACWL players took up coaching over the summer.

This past summer we (Attacker Cait Gaitley and Midfielder Shannon Kahl) were both fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be lacrosse coaches. We worked with girls at the middle school and high school age. This was a dream job for the both of us: teaching lacrosse with a teammate, and traveling for the summer. The girls reminded us why we both had gotten into the game, and many memories were made.

One of our favorite memories while coaching was being able to see what we had taught the girls at practice manifest itself on the field. For example, we worked on showing the girls how to hitch fake and shoot where they came from at practice. At the next tournament one of our players perfectly executed this, and right after she scored she looked at the both of us and said, “coach I did it!” It was such a good feeling to know that we had helped someone improve their skills, and we were able to see it first hand.

While it was fun and rewarding, we had our fair share of challenges along the way. As players, we have high lax IQ’s, but our coaching IQ’s were lower. Regardless, we were ready for the challenge. The change in mindset from player to coach was completely different and it took a little to get used to. We could not physically be on the field doing the plays, or directing teammates. We had to stand on the sideline getting our points across in a way that was direct and made sense, all while keeping it fun. It took patience, getting to know our players, learning how to work together as co-coaches, and learning how the program ran. As a coach there is a side to game day or tournament day that as players you don’t see. Much more goes into it than meets the eye: the line up preparation, the plays, adapting to the other team, etc. Learning this new perspective turned us into much more well rounded players and gave us a new appreciation for everything our coaching staff does.

Coaching allowed us to make new friends, share our love for lacrosse, learn a lot, and make new memories. We both grew in ways more than one. We became closer, learned to effectively communicate our thoughts, and fell in love with the game all over again from a different perspective.

— #6 Cait Gaitley & #14 Shannon Kahl, Class of 2018

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to be a lacrosse coach for the travel team I used to play for in high school. I had no idea how much this experience would impact my lacrosse life. I came in with no prior coaching experience and I wasn’t aware of how much work went into planning a practice and a game plan.

Naturally, I reverted to what I have learned here at Albion and I simplified a lot of our drills for practice. I couldn’t believe how much I learned about the drills when I was coaching them that I didn’t realize as a player. I also began to understand the emotions coaches experience on game day. You could see me on the sidelines crutching around to give advice (and just to pace because I got very anxious), getting the team excited about the game and trying to give my team the energy I had in the morning before the first game of each tournament (thanks to my expresso). But I also experienced how much a coach can genuinely care about their team and their progress as players and people. I was able to work side-by-side with an amazing coach that guided me through the experience and became a really close friend. I loved traveling with the team and being a part of the Bandit family again.

I played with a lot of the girls I coached this summer on previous teams, so the change from teammate to coach was a bit of an obstacle. I had to find out where I fit in as a part of the team again, yet with a different position. However, without my team over the summer, I wouldn’t have made it through my [ACL injury] recovery because they worked so hard and made coaching super fun even though they hit my knee multiple times with balls right after surgery and we constantly heard bagpipes all through practice (haha).

Now that the summer is over, and I have this amazing experience behind me, I think more about the deeper purpose for a drill, appreciate my coaches even more and have a lot more confidence in my abilities as a coach, teammate, and player.

— #11 Marah Ranger, Class of 2020

Courage and Confidence

The team after practice at Occidental College.

The team after practice at Occidental College on March 9 in Los Angeles, CA.

Last week, during a 6-day spring break trip to California, the team kept extremely busy. From intense practices to TV tapings and competitive games to adventures in fro-yo…there was one recurring theme – CONFIDENCE. How does one build it? How does a team exude it? How does one project it on and off the field? After Thursday’s typical pregame strategy meeting, each player was asked to respond to the following prompt.

You’ve just won the “Arthur Ashe Award for Courage” at the ESPY’s for transcending the world of sports. Muhammad Ali received the award in 1997, Nelson Mandela in 2009, and now, in 2016 — YOU. Write your acceptance speech, and prepare to accept your award today in front of your team and loved ones. Think about what makes you YOU. Take 20 minutes to write and edit a speech for this momentous occasion.

Each player delivered a personal acceptance speech to the team, and it’s never been clearer that each individual perspective is important in its own way. Some were funny, some bittersweet, others teeming with gratitude. Here are three uniquely impactful speeches that members of the team shared that afternoon. Enjoy!


I am honored to receive this award in front of all of you today. But, what is courage? Courage is the ability to do something that frightens one. Don’t get me wrong, I have experienced the feeling of fear and have felt the desire to give up and walk away from it all: stay home, crawl in my bed and simply avoid the world. What makes me courageous is the audacity to say, “F*** that” and battle everything the world has the nerve to throw at me. Courage isn’t being fearless, it is being able to attack that fear and fake it until you become it.

My entire life, I have felt that all I am to the world is another pretty face. All I am is trendy. All I am is standard. All I am is a silly dumb female. But — it’s okay because I am pretty enough to someday marry a rich man who will take care of me. Growing up, I have been exposed to an incredible amount of jokes about just finding a wealthy man to provide for my future family. It doesn’t make me laugh because I know that is not who I am.

I do not have the fear of not having money. I have the fear that not everyone in the world will be happy. I do not have the fear of not getting enough instagram likes. I have the fear that not everyone will watch my PSA about the child slavery currently happening on the cocoa plantations in Africa. I do not have the fear that I will be alone in life. I have the fear that I will not make a difference and impact in others’ lives.

People always talk about meeting their other half and finding their soul mate. That is not a problem for me because I am aware that I am a whole. I am my other half and I have the power to make change and difference in others’ lives, and that is what makes me courageous. The courage I have is not being fearless. The courage I have is stepping out of my comfort zone and thinking and doing what others are too scared to do.


Well first off, I would like to thank you all so much for this award; it was truly just an honor to be nominated. There is an infinite amount of definitions today for a successful life. Some say it’s based on how much money you make or how many possessions you own, where as others define it by happiness or how many loved ones you are able to surround yourself with.

Me, I’m somewhere in the middle. I want a job that makes me both happy and can provide me the life I intend on living. Not going to lie, my bucket list is a few notebooks long. I want to travel and see the world, get to know other cultures, and make new friends along the way. Earlier this year I was asked to come and play lacrosse. This absolutely terrified me. I knew that it was going to take a lot of extra time and commitment to even reach a level where I could match up with the other girls on the team. But I said to myself — “Alex, this could be the golden door to a new love in your life”.

It is kind of like traveling, in a sense. You make new friends and learn different styles of play. I knew that this opportunity was not just a coincidence, but fate. Because I did find a new love and I was also able to prove to myself that fear isn’t always a bad thing – maybe it just fuels you to becoming something greater. 


Thank you, thank you so much. I am humbled and honored to be accepting this prestigious award today. Growing up I had a very loving and accepting family to whom I’d also like to thank. But let me tell you, growing up with two sisters is hard. Growing up with two smart, athletic, funny, beautiful, well-driven sisters is hard. Coming home from school proud that I got a B+ on a test and feeling one-upped after hearing that my sister got into a well known medical school is hard. Asking to borrow a pair of jeans, but then thinking, “She’s so much skinnier than you, Cait. They aren’t going to fit you…” is hard.

Don’t get me wrong. I had an amazing childhood and my family, especially my incredible sisters, were proud of everything I did. But hard is hard, and those parts were hard. There were two things that weren’t hard for me growing up and those were singing and sports. Nothing can compare to the feeling of getting a kill in volleyball, sticking a gymnastics routine, scoring a fast break goal in lacrosse, or hitting that high note you didn’t think could ever be in your range. No, those were never hard, those were easy, those were mine. I stand here today not because I embraced what I believed were my failures and my shortcomings (too stupid, not skinny enough), but because I dared to be confident and to celebrate my accomplishments. I have failed before and will fail every day in some way. But I can say with confidence that today and every day I have also won. Thank you.