An Open Discussion: Where Do We Head From Here? – Part One

 

I had a lot of mixed feelings yesterday and felt I needed to get things down on paper . . . or on whatever we now call it in the electronic world . . .

I put up Wells’ article on the STA-Oxbridge game and didn’t go with my usual game write up because I had to tend to a family matter yesterday afternoon and just didn’t have the time to do so.  The family priority came first.  Which always should.

It was pretty easy to add to his article . . . STA pretty much pitched the lacrosse equivalent of baseball’s no-hitter and the way they played that game has to be commended.  Pretty much EVERY 50/50 ground ball was gathered in and time of possession was almost frightening . . . probably around the 35 minutes out of 48 range.  Oxbridge had some really close in early looks that they failed to convert and that snowballed on them as the game went on.

 

 

Oxbridge’s defense held up remarkably well given the time of possession and STA’s just flat out played great too.  Goalie David Madril saved his best for the game.

Before the game, to make a point about why I thought Oxbridge would win the game I referred back to last year’s playoff result (a 2OT loss at STA by Oxbridge).

Those who have been long-time readers of FLN know that in the past it was basically Brian Davis and I writing most of the original content for the site.  Brian also served the very useful role of being my editorial conscience and once in a while he would read something I wrote and advise me to take something out.  Not very often.  Maybe on average twice a year.  We used to joke about it . . . since I do this as a labor of love instead of for compensation I would tell him I was allowed to tick him off 3x a year and he couldn’t say anything . . . that was my form of payment.

Brian is not currently writing so I’ve been basically on my own all season and missed that editorial oversight.

This site has become a success when it comes to readership and it even is starting to gain influence at a national level, as I will touch on later.  It has given me a unique position in the lacrosse community and also a unique influence that I don’t always appreciate.

If you look at my writing style I tend to write for two types of audiences, which pretty much aligns with our statistics about our readership, which I can describe as barbell shaped . . . pretty much 16-25 year old’s and their parent’s age, with most being in the 45-54 age group.  Most of my references are for the older group as the younger tends to focus on the actual game content more.  Cultural norms are a little different between those groups and it isn’t always easy to balance reaching both groups simultaneously.

 

 

I’m bringing this up because I made a comment in the preview that Brian might well have said ‘do you realize how that might be taken?’.

I could of used that question Tuesday.

Here’s the comment:

“Hoh boy . . . last year this went to double OT on the STA field and this year there’s no one named Yovino around . . .

Well, actually there is . . . but it’s not fair to think Nick will contribute like Louie did.”

When I wrote that line it was in no way supposed to be a slight on Nick, it was just my way of trying to make a point that STA had graduated more top talent than Oxbridge did and that it might make a difference in turning around last year’s outcome.

As it is, Nick had an heck of a game and featured prominently in the outcome.

But that’s not relevant to this.

In my rush to get the previews out in time I didn’t think about the power of those words to a younger brother.  I’ve never been the younger brother, as my kid brother had reminded me of at times growing up.  I apologize to you Nick for not thinking through this before writing those words.

I talked with your Dad after the game but didn’t have a chance to clear the air with you personally after it so here it is.  I’m sure we’ll talk at some point this year somewhere.

And keep up the great play!

 

 

There are a few of you out there I’ve shared with the things I have gone through with family since the season ended last year.  I’ve witnessed both a lot of lows and some highs within a short period of time and within a very small family.  A number of you remember my tribute to my Dad when he passed away in May last year after a lengthy period of dementia.  I haven’t really shared too much else on this site, but it is a lengthy series of events for only an 8-month period.

Only about 5 months later my Mom passed away too, basically via dementia but in reality she gave up after Dad passed away and pretty much withdrew within herself.  She was living with me and Marcela and basically would not talk the last three months.

Readers in the Jupiter area certainly remember the awful double murder of John and Michelle Stevens last summer.  Both Marcela and I worked for the same NMFN agency in the past that Michelle worked for and I probably spent more time talking to Michelle on a weekly basis than almost anyone else in the agency and that one hit me pretty hard.

My son has come a long way since his grandparent’s deaths too.  But he’s seen his fair share of heartache too.  Back in October he and three of his friends decided to move out and rent a house in East Boca; not bad for a 21-year old at the time.  Mostly self-sufficient financially.  Entrepreneurial.  And a rapidly maturing personality.

About 30 days after the move one of his roommate’s Dad’s was found dead of a likely massive heart attack at a premature age.  And those of my readers in the Davie area will likely remember the awful car accident from two teens racing cars on Davie Blvd near the Broward College campus in January that claimed the life of Dominick Del Pozzo.  Dom’s son DJ is my son’s closest friend and one of the other roommates.  He was only 54, 4 years younger than me.

That’s a lot for a 21-year old to deal with in less than a year.

But he has, with grace, empathy and friendship.

I’ve never been prouder.

And now he and his roommates are not only performing their own day jobs but they are starting their own business on the side.  (Cookie and baking treats and they will take the order, bake the goods and deliver them to your door right away . . . and since they live close to FAU and Lynn . . . the name will be Just Baked Boca when they go live! )

Sometimes we forget that family life can be pretty good at times even when facing heartache too.

 

 

So, given all this I wanted to touch on a few things.

 

The All Star Game

Unfortunately, Brian was the driving force behind the scenes of the All Star game and we just won’t be able to put it on this year.  It requires a sponsorship as the cost is not insignificant.

I will still ask that coaches send me in their nominations and I can at least do a virtual version of the Game to give those kids the recognition.  Please email me at lee@floridalacrossenews.com with those nominations.

 

Evolving The Site Content

Changes will have to come and we will be thinking them through.  Some of that will be for the lacrosse community in the state to get more proactive with pointing us to content opportunities.  There’s been a great start to that with the ATS Series.  But I am sure there are a LOT of other stories out there that don’t get linked to from FLN.

You also notice that our coverage of the Girls’ side is pretty sparse compared to the Boys’ side.  I’m already maxed out right now.  There are nearly 200 varsity programs on the Boys’ side and I can’t really keep up with all of those.  There will be new programs every year to learn about.

One thing I would like to pursue would be to get journalism majors around the state to earn resume enhancers by submitting content on the Girls’ and Boys’ side.  It doesn’t have to be really in-depth stuff, more like college interviews, maybe a game recap here or there, and most importantly, filling in that video content void lost to this author’s technological incompetence.

 

Potential Changes to the Site

We have not really looked at how to properly monetize the site.  I’m sure most of you have found us a welcome respite from the ad-happy world that pretty much any web site of our reader size forces you to endure.  I can’t tell you how annoying I find ESPN at this . . . sitting through a 15-30 second ad just to watch a 30-second highlight clip of a home run or half court shot.

But you can’t expect us to run this site free forever of revenue.

Which means we need to have an open and frank discussion about how much you truly value this content.  It’s easy to love this when you have no commitment yourselves.  But there is an old saying about getting what you pay for and this is the limit of what free buys.

What I want to hear from our readers is whether they would prefer a subscription type approach, an advertising supported approach that would require putting up with the same type of annoyance with advertising that others put you through, or maybe even a combination of both.  A subscription approach would not be onerous.

To understand where we are as a website . . . there are now nearly 4,000 Twitter followers, nearly 2,200 FB Page likers and I have to do more work on the amount of traffic we receive, but I believe it to be nearly 1 million page views for last calendar year.

Those who are more knowledgeable than me about these things have written that for a site like this you only need about 5,000 page views per month to start to attract advertising and affiliate marketing.  We’re obviously well into the sell zone.

Again, please email me to give your opinion at the same email address.

This is all in the preliminary stage so feel free to get as far reaching with your thoughts as possible.

 

The New NCAA Regulations on Recruiting

I haven’t had a chance to really delve into the guidelines yet but rest assured there will be a lot of content over the late spring and summer on this.

We’ll explain what they mean in depth and we will continue to find athletes willing to share their experiences, good and bad, of the process and while in school.

I will also look to highlight those stories where the student-athlete did not last all four years and what they would have done differently during the recruiting process and during their school days.  This is an important part of the process and feedback that is far too often ignored.

 

Coming Soon:  Where Are We Going – Part Two – How Can Parents Evolve Too – It’s Essential

 

 

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