My Rockfish Experience
I went from coaching the oldest Rockfish team to the youngest, and what a blast it has been so far.. Seeing the improvement in just one year was amazing to witness. Hopefully I’ll be lucky enough to keep this core of talented kids for a long time!
The following is an interview conducted by Eric Galasso, Past Marketing Director of Rockfish Lacrosse Club, and Steve Spence, Founder of Rockfish Lacrosse Club, Inc.
• Hero’s Man of the Year 2013
• High School Coach Man of the Year 2009
• Two time Coach of the Year 2005 and 2007
• 15 years, Head coach at Old Mill
• 12 years Rockfish Coach
I formed Rockfish as a way to give back…I was able to go to college because of lacrosse. So, I wanted to form a club program that offered an excellent lacrosse experience at an affordable price for families. And year after year, we’ve accomplished that while showcasing our player’s skills at the top recruiting tournaments. That’s one of the reasons we offer scholarships to families and their player with financial hardships. These scholarships are offered to players that have the work ethic and the skills to create a future college opportunity.
Where did you learn to play lacrosse?
In the front yard of my house with my brother Dave starting when I was 9 years old. I never played rec ball because I was playing ice hockey at the time, which was an expensive sport. When I entered High School, and since our family wasn’t made of money, I was given a choice between ice hockey and lacrosse — I picked lacrosse and went on to play in 1988 at Severna Park Highschool. I played all 4 years and started on Varsity as Sophmore and was named All-County every year from Sophomore on.
Why do you love lacrosse?
It fits my attributes. I enjoyed being physical because of my ice hockey experience and I had speed. I really enjoyed creating the offense—being the feeder to create scoring opportunities. Groundballs were my specialty. They nicknamed me “The Hoover” because I was great at getting ground balls. In my senior year at Severna Park I had 136 ground balls, which is probably my most proud stat to date.
What values do you try to instill in players?
At Rockfish, we strive to grow the player and the person. This means teaching our players about more than just excellent lacrosse skills—and preparing them for life after lacrosse. We strive for them to understand what hard work and “perfect effort” mean. And to understand teamwork—to always strive for “one more” to create offensive and defensive opportunities for not just themselves, but their teammates as well.
Tell us about the future of Rockfish?
We are in an phase of club lacrosse that is getting a little dejecting. Each year, more club teams pop up trying to do their own thing in AA County. For the Rockfish model, we are a little different than some I believe. We believe that the rec programs should still be alive and well. Instead, club teams are taking away from rec. We believe there can be a balance. For example, in the spring, Rockfish practices once a week and plays in a Club Spring league on Sundays. This allows our youth players to continue to play with their rec teams.
I see the importance of playing club year round. I think it also creates amazing relationships, so that when kids go to their respective High Schools, they may battle it out on the field, but still love each other like brothers after the game. The picture above are players I had the pleasure of coaching since 6th grade, and they all, to this day, remain great friends. What the rec program allows, is for the kids that will be playing together in high school, the ability to grow together so when they get to high school, they are a close group that knows how each other play…
I feel club is taking that rec experience and throwing it down the drain, which makes me very sad.