I am only good at individual racquet sports, so I was pretty scared when I found out I'd be taking part in lacrosse, a fast-paced team sport invented by Native American tribes.
It was a rainy day when I did the try-out at Happy Valley Sports Ground. It took me some time to find the hockey pitch. Louis Hou, coach of the Hong Kong team and executive director of the Hong Kong Lacrosse Association, was waiting for me at the venue.
Hou told me that there has been no regular training recently as the weather is too hot for the sport. However, he and some Hong Kong team players still gather for friendly games on some weekend mornings in the summer.
Coach Louis Hou helps Kevin train.
The coach first explained the basics of the sport. The stick used in the game has a net at the end and is called the lacrosse. I had watched some videos of the sport on YouTube the day before, and together with very clear explanation by Coach Hou, I came to understand the basic rules.
The aim of the game is to deliver the ball into the goal. Attacking players use short sticks while defensive players have longer ones. Goalkeepers' nets are also bigger than other players'.
After 15 minutes or so, it was time for the practical part. Hou taught me how to pick up the ball with a lacrosse. To do so, I had to tilt the stick at a certain angle, push it underneath the ball and pick it up quickly; otherwise, the ball would be pushed away. I was a bit nervous but I managed to pick the ball up.
The next step is to keep the ball in the net when you are in action. The way to do so is called "cradle". A successful cradle will keep the ball in your net even when you are running around with it on the pitch.
I even managed to pass and receive the ball, which could be tricky. What was even more difficult was to catch the ball with the lacrosse as it travelled at a very high speed. I think I would definitely need to work on my reflexes for better accuracy. Still, I was ready for some real action - more or less.
To let me practice what I learned, Coach Hou put me on the field in a friendly with Hong Kong Team players.
But first, I had to borrow a player's set of gear: a helmet, a pair of gloves, and protective gear for ankles and knees.
The game lasted only about 10 minutes, but even so I had to run a lot. The sport is physically very demanding. I did my best but by the end I found it hard to keep pace with other players.
I can't say my first game of lacrosse proved that I am an ace player, but I am still satisfied. At least once in the game I had a shot on goal.
Special thanks to the Hong Kong Lacrosse Association for providing Kevin's training
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