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>Ridgewood Sports : Anyone, who suggests that a coach would intentionally lose a game to end the season early or punish players, has never played on a truly competitive team in any sport in his or her life

>First, I have no connection to the RHS lax team and I would not consider myself a friend or “supporter” of Coach Pounds. But, I am reasonably knowledgeable about lacrosse and the players on the team this year.

Secondly, Coach Pounds does many things that hurt his program. For example, Ridgewood teams have a bizarre tradition of “honoring seniors” by playing them over underclassmen, rather than putting the best players on the field (regardless of their class). Pounds has followed this “tradition” on the lax team. On ANY Varsity team, the best players should be the starters and team leaders, PERIOD! He also doesn’t have definitive cuts at the start of the season, so underclassmen float “in limbo” between the Varsity and JV. This has a negative effect on the moral and spirit of these players and fails to fully develop their skills. The JV program historically has mediocre coaching and a weak schedule, thereby, ineffectively preparing the boys for the Varsity, which plays a very tough schedule. These “limbo players” would be better off getting more playing time on the JV and stepping into leadership roles, in preparation for their time on the Varsity, particularly if the coaching and schedule could be improved.

With that said, I am astounded by the negative comments from people on this blog, who clearly have no idea what they are talking about. Make no mistake. Noah Pounds is the MOST TALENTED lacrosse goalie at RHS. I understand that Pounds did not start him earlier in the season because he was concerned about the negative perception that might be created behind his son’s back (I guess he was right). I am sure that Pounds felt he was helping the team by putting “the best goalie” in the game. As a former college goalie, Pounds is well qualified to evaluate the skills of that position. Unfortunately, by not giving him the necessary preparation on the Varsity throughout the season, he probably did his son and the team a disservice.

The truth about this year’s team is that this senior class is one of the weakest in many years. Perhaps many of these boys tried to balance baseball, soccer and lacrosse every spring as youth players (an impossibility) and they never developed the skills necessary to compete at a top level in lacrosse (or the other sports). Or, maybe they just never dedicated the personal time and effort to improve their skills outside of practice and to develop an understanding of the game’s nuances. Whatever the reason, their lacrosse skills are weak. In general, the best players on the team are Juniors and Sophomores. Furthermore, there is no clear leadership on the team and very few players, in any grade, play with the passion needed to have a great season, let alone win championships. My understanding is that the coaches tried to address this all season, with little success. Unfortunately, that is something that is not easily coached. Generally a player has a burning desire to compete or he doesn’t. In my opinion, it has a lot to due with whether the player is coddled at home as a child or is taught the meaning of commitment and responsibility at an early age and whether he has older brothers, who played sports or not. This team did not demonstrate 100% commitment on or off the field (as evidenced by the drinking issues). These are the reasons why this team had an unsuccessful season this year…plain and simple. Armchair coaches (parents), who never picked up a lacrosse stick in their lives, need to find a scapegoat to explain their son’s frustration (the blame could never lie with their son). But, this is the reality.

Anyone, who suggests that a coach would intentionally lose a game to end the season early or punish players, has never played on a truly competitive team in any sport in his or her life. No coach would ever do this. Besides, while the coach may take the responsibility, it is generally the players, who determine the outcome of a game, not the coach. Grow up people!

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