The 1st annual Grow the Game Invitational was an unbelievable event.
In part 1 and part 2 of “The Journey To Thailand”, we discussed a little bit of lacrosse and a lot about the thai culture. But, the LAS crew and I travelled to Bangkok for one main reason, to be apart of the GTG Invitational game at Yamaha stadium.
We had been sightseeing all week and practiced a few times, and by Saturday we were all ecstatic to finally play the game after months of anticipation. The teams were broken up into Team Grow and Team Game. Team Game consisted of Payu, Glenn Morley, Rory Baldini, Dennis Kowa, Vinnie Ricasio, and myself. While Team Grow included Jeff Brunelle, Connor Wilson, Dave Ogle, Dan Willson, and Phil Niddrie.
The whole atmosphere made us feel like superstars. Media, photographers, nice stadium, and even a few kids who wanted autographs. It all played into the legitimacy of the event. Here are a few quality snapshots of the affair, as well as a video of the start of the second half.
Coach Tumbas might even describe these photos as “pretty swaggin”
Photos by Nok Nokkie and Thananuwat Srirasant
The teams lineup
Payu ballin out
Rory Baldini with a mean spirited one handed cradle
Glenn and Dave scoring brownie points with the refs
Connor Wilson exhibiting some danglery
Halftime with Jeff Brunelle
Halftime show featuring the lovely Connor Wilson
Yours truly fighting at the faceoff X
Nothing to see here
Team Game wins!
I’m a crowd pleaser
I had a quick question for Jeff Brunelle after the game
Stick tricks with Glenn Morley
How do you put into words what you can’t even fathom? This is the best game in the world. To have the chance to share what I love with another country alongside people who love it just as much as I do was one of the best, most fulfilling experiences of my life. What was the best part about it all? Everyone who came on the trip was there for 1 reason, they are compassionate enough about lacrosse that they want to spread the game internationally. Everyone’s attitudes about the game were upbeat and sincere. All we want to do is grow the game. That is what the sport deserves, and we are trying to do our part to see to it that is what happens.
The game was literally the perfect game of lacrosse. Not necessarily skillwise, but in terms of attitudes and enjoyment. Everyone was dedicated to the sport. There was no whining, no bad attitudes, and no egos. Just people who wanted to lax. It’s amazing the difference it makes when everyone around you is just happy to play.
I gained so much from this trip. We all created a unique bond throughout our time that no amount of blogging can capture. While our journeys were documented and shared on the web, there were tons of little hilarious events that only we hold onto and cherish that no one knows about. Just hanging around with everyone, talking lax, sharing stories, getting to know one another, ultimately lead to lifelong friendships all in 1 week. It’s remarkable that I can call every single person that went on the trip a lifelong friend. Lacrosse is responsible for that. I can’t think of any better reason to go around the world.
Payu did a fantastic job organizing the whole week. He is a true ambassador of growing the game and is an amazing human being. Most of the time, I wouldn’t consider him a human being. He seemed like a machine the way he was able to put together an event like this. He wasn’t even satisfied as him and Connor Wilson have already been discussing the next GTG event. I want to say thanks to Payu for everything he did for us. He is the sole reason the trip was as awesome and as life changing as it was. I also want to thank Jeff and Connor for everything they have done. Obviously, without their work, none of us would’ve had this opportunity. They were kind enough to invite me and I am very thankful they did.
The GTG Invitational 2012 is bound to have even more U.S. participants than this year. We already have a pretty tight group, so the new guys are going to have to prove their worth. Just kidding, but seriously, this first group of LAS men paved the way for an annual phenomenon on the international lacrosse scene, and that is a very cool feeling. The game speaks for itself, it’s our duty to educate the people.
The first annual GTG Invitational was a success in all facets. I can’t wait for next year.