Over 270 boy’s lacrosse teams, ages ranging from U9 to High School Varsity, played at six various Anne Arundel County facilities this past weekend. It was a beautiful couple of days of lacrosse with the weather in the low 80’s and no humidity. The athletes played in the Hogan Lacrosse 9th Annual Summer Exposure tournament. What is most interesting about this post is that I got to experience a firsthand account of what being a part of the Hogan tournaments are like, from a workers perspective.
It was very different being behind the scenes of a tournament instead of out on the field. There is way more detail into putting one of these events on, then I would have ever imagined. From setting up, to making sure all of the teams were at the right fields with officials, trainers, and enough Gatorade to last the day, the whole weekend could have been a nightmare. However, this was not the case. I was stationed at Broadneck High School, with our field director Bob Hogan who is the brother of the President of Hogan Lacrosse, Matt Hogan. Our set of fields ran flawlessly, as did the rest of the sites of the tournament. It was a great experience to be a part of the Hogan Lacrosse team, which is actually more like a family considering all of his brothers, sister in-laws, kids, nieces, and nephews seem to be a part of the production.
While talking with Matt he explained, that it made sense for his family to be out there helping him run these tournaments. They all understood where he wanted his company to be, and the vision he has. He also said it was a nice excuse to have time to be together a couple of weekends out of the summer. In his eyes, the tournament ran smoothly, with a couple of behind the scenes hiccups here and there that are expected when running a major event like this. For the first time this year, Hogan Lacrosse used a software called Tourney Machine. This application calculated the standings and brackets for each team that played in the tournament. It also posted to their website immediately so players and coaches knew what seed they were in after the first day of competition. Hogan explained that it was great for immediate response, and it even sent updates to participants phones if they had signed up for that capability. The feedback from the fans for Tourney Machine was awesome!
Summer Exposure is home to multiple Maryland club teams, however about 50% of the teams competing this year was from out of state. From Florida to Colorado, there were teams representing both coasts. I had a chance to speak with Kraig Hamady, coach of SWAY Lacrosse, which is a Denver, CO based club. While chatting about his experience this past weekend, he explained,”The game here is taught in a different way than in Colorado and being from Maryland, I try to teach that style of play. Many players in Colorado aspire to play ‘back east’ but have no real idea of what it takes to be competitive on this scale and stage. By bringing a group here, we can directly show them the differences of what is taught as well as what they have to work harder on to achieve their goals. For some it is a humbling experience. For many it sets the bar higher than they could have ever known by playing solely back in the west. And, for a select few, they can see if they really have what it takes to make a mark with programs here.” Summer Exposure is the only travel tournament his team will attend this season.
Not only was there a Hogan Lacrosse tournament in Anne Arundel County this weekend, but there was also a Chesapeake Bayhawks game vs. the Boston Cannons at Navy-Marine Corp Stadium. If you were a Summer Exposure attendee you could have received a discounted ticket price to attend the Bayhawks game on Saturday night. There is no formal partnership between Hogan Lacrosse and the Bayhawks, however Bayhawks owner Brendan Kelly, and head coach Dave Cottle coach within the Hogan Club Lacrosse organization. Matt explained that as a local in the lacrosse business, he liked to support the pro side of the sport as well. The future of Hogan Lacrosse is looking bright, with a lot of new opportunities on the way. They will continue to be running their club program, as well as their Team Training Camp in Orlando, Florida which was started last year. The newest addition to Hogan Lacrosse will hopefully be the expansion of tournaments to the Midwest, but for now be on the lookout for the Bay Bridge Brawl July 5-6 which is the next tournament coming to Kent Island, Maryland.