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Encore Box: Kyle Harrison Lacrosse Star With Vision
Originally published on May 29, 2006 KYLE HARRISON LACROSSE STAR WITH VISION
THE INTERVIEW ( PART 1 )
KYLE LED JOHN HOPKINS TO CHAMPIONSHIP
It’s not easy to be a Lacrosse Superstar
but harder still to make a Difference
in the future of the Sport
The recent incident at Duke University has brought more attention to lacrosse than it has ever received before.
Unfortunately that attention is not about the sport itself. Nevertheless it is a good reason for us to focus our attention and highlight the individual who today is the face of the Lacrosse for the African American community. An example to emulate.
We covered Kyle Harrison’s college and professional lacrosse career in a recent Box today we’d like you to meet him in his own words as we interviewed him this week. What you will find is a thoughtful athlete who exemplifies the model we find so appealing at Black Athlete Sports Network. An African American star player who thinks and acts beyond his very personal needs and goals.
Kyle is very aware that lacrosse is a sports of mostly unrealized opportunity for young Black boys and girls, men and women.
That with initiative and interest far more African Americans can be competing in lacrosse in high school, college and as pros and on the USA Team in international competitions.
Here is the first part of the interview which covers both Kyle Harrison’s personal life and career. It is all fascinating.
Was your father’s legendary role in lacrosse as a member of the Morgan State team of the 1970s the basis for your interest in the sport ?
My fathers participation in the game of lacrosse was probably the reason I got involved in the game in the first place, but by no means did he force the game on me. When I was younger weï¿½d play basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, football, and any other sports you can think of. I even wrestled for like 6 years. My parents made sure I did it all.
Did you play other sports as a kid, in high school and college and how would you describes the similarities and differences between various other sports and lacrosse?
I played everything, and I’m the lacrosse player I am today because of my participation in other sports. I feel like I’ve got the feet of a Tennis player, the toughness of a wrestler, the endurance of a soccer player and the smarts of a basketball point guard
For a young boy or girl playing lacrosse what skills is most important they concentrate ?
The best thing you can learn at a young age is to work on both hands. Make the wall your best friend. Go out to the wall, throw against it everyday with both hands. Develop your non-dominant hand. You become more of an offensive threat when you can use either hand.
You stared in lacrosse at John Hopkins, you play professional lacrosse for the New Jersey Pride and you are on the USA National team how are those experiences different for you ?
Never again in my lacrosse career will I experience anything similar to what I did in college. The feeling of being with 40 of your best friends, and working as hard as you possibly can all year around to accomplish a goal was incredible. To go 16-0 and win the National Championship was the best feeling Iï¿½ve had in my life, not only because we won, but because of the journey to get there.
Being able to represent your country is something every athlete dreams of doing from a very young age. I am honored I was selected to play on the USA team, and I will do my best to represent my country and defend our world title.
The MLL was different for me last year for a number of reasons. By the time I got to my team, they had already played 4 games, and had good chemistry going. Unlike most sports, the MLL draft is a quarter into the season, right after the college season. So, college players go right from their college season which theyï¿½ve been playing in since January, right into another season for 3 months, so itï¿½s a bit difficult.
Iï¿½m really looking forward to getting back out on the field this summer, being completely healthy, showing the MLL what I can do.
In addition to playing lacrosse you run a business STX Lacrosse. Tell us about it and any plans you have for the future of the company ?
I do work for the oldest and best lacrosse company in the business, STX.
For the past two months weï¿½ve been working tirelessly on developing a new line of equipment with technology the game has never seen. Our new stick technology, the Crank Shaft, will revolutionize the game and the way itsï¿½ played. Not only am I with the best company in the game, but the best people as well.
Regarding your father Dr. Miles Harrison and his playing days with The Ten Bears of Morgan State what about the stories he has told you and the nature of his lacrosse experiences n the 1970s has made the most impression on you and remains most vivid ?
My dad was no different from any other dad in that he would tell stories of his playing days and teach me different sports, but he never forced the game on me. It wasnï¿½t until I got older and was able to really comprehend the great story of the Ten Bears and what they went through. I am extremely proud of my father and that group of young men who paved the way for me to be able to play this great game.
There are two images that will remain forever imbedded in my head from Ten Bears. The first being the clip that ran on ESPN.
Of the team at Morgan playing against a predominantly white team, and absolutely dominating the play physically.
Seeing how hard all of the guys were playing, throwing their bodies around, and playing with such a sense of pride and passion is something I attempt to duplicate every time I step on a field. The second, and my favorite, is a picture of my father, taking a jump shot. He is about 2 feet off the ground, head and shoulders above the competition, and the ball is in the back of the net. It hangs in my stairwell on the way down to my room at my parents house.
Other than your own father which past or present players do you most respect, do you try to see as models or mentors and why these individuals. Coaches as well.
I became a student of the game a few years back, and really began to study film of other players.
Gary Gait is by far the best player that Iï¿½ve ever had the privilege to step on the field with. While our styles are very different, the way he carries himself on the field is incredible, and Iï¿½ve tried to model myself after that.
As far as other players, there are a large number that I look up to.
Kevin Boland (Hopkins, 04ï¿½), A.J.
Haughten (Hopkins 00ï¿½), Adam Doneger (Hopkins 03ï¿½), Chris Rotelli (UVA 03ï¿½), J ay Jalbert (UVA 99ï¿½).
These are some of the greatest midfielders to ever play the game, and Iï¿½ve studied all of them on film for a number of years.
They all have different styles, so I try and take a little piece of each and implement it into my game.
When you have your own children will you encourage them to play lacrosse over other sports or not and why?
I wonï¿½t force any sport on my children. I pray they want to play though, Iï¿½m such a competitive person that I donï¿½t know what Iï¿½ll do if they donï¿½t! Itï¿½d be great if my kids decide to play lacrosse, but itï¿½s not the end of the world if they donï¿½t. As long as their happy and enjoying what their doing, Iï¿½ll be happy.
Coming next. Kyle Harrison takes a fascinating look beyond his own career to provide advice and direction for the future of lacrosse and the greater involvement of young African Americans in the years to come.
Whenever you want to reach us with comments or better yet an idea for a topic for the Box …….
KYLE’S OTHER “CAREER” …. WORKING WITH KIDS