One on One With the World Lacrosse Foundation

Andrew Baker: First and foremost introductions are in order.  Besides Casey Powell who is The World Lacrosse Foundation (WLF) leadership and key players?
Lew Hamilton: Well, the WLF Board of Advisers is a small group of like-minded individuals bent on helping people really get more out of life through the power of sport—specifically our sport, lacrosse. Our Board is entirely populated with biographies of how lacrosse has positively affected a person’s life and each member is driven to pass that along to as many people around the world as we can. We’re led by a tireless CEO in Heather Chase-O’Neill. Her dedication to our mission sets the tone and the rest of us have no choice to to follow. Beyond our board, I will, in the coming weeks, be naming several WLF ambassadors who will help carry our message around the world.
AB: Why start this foundation now? What are the driving factors and motivation behind it?
LH: Timing is everything, right? This foundation, The World Lacrosse Foundation, is my dream. It represents a direction I have wanted to take my career for a long time. I love teaching. I love sharing. And I’ve noticed a recent growth in the sport in certain areas of this country—and around the world—that needs to be supported.
Lacrosse as a sport is unique in its community. We seem to be more banded together as a group than others. That is one of the reasons the sport is such a powerful influence in the lives of those who play it. I think those of us who have been taking wonderful lessons, experiences and memories off the field are duty bound to pass that opportunity on. It’s something I’ve done as a coach and program director for years now but the WLF escalates my opportunity to share, support and inspire to an entirely new level.
AB: Family has always been important to the Powells.  Is the Powell family or Powell Lacrosse associated with the Foundation?
LH: I would not be where I am today without my family. I know that sound cliche but it’s absolutely true. The lessons I learned from my parents and siblings have shaped me both professionally and personally to a degree I’ll never fully realize but I absolutely know their examples continue to motivate me, guide my direction and serve as the bar to which I try to exceed at all times. So, yes. The Powells are a big part of the World Lacrosse Foundation as they are in everything I do.
Powell Lacrosse Sticks, however, is not directly associated with the Foundation.
AB: Besides inspiring the Game on an international level and getting lacrosse into the Olympic Games what are the goals of the WLF?
LH: Well, those are big goals. The first one, “inspiring the game on an international level” is a very broad declaration. We are new enough that relationships with people and groups around the world are still developing and our precise roles are going to be different everywhere and with everyone. There are some amazing existing programs that perhaps just need some experience and help getting to the next step in their development. There are exponentially more people who want to establish the sport in their areas. We would hope to support those folks in their attempts to share the Medicine Game with others. And there are countless more places where the sport has not even begun to take root. We want to inspire people to take up sticks and begin earning the benefits bestowed by the game of lacrosse. Without getting on too much of a tangent, I am a founder of a modified version of the sport called Speed Lacrosse which reduces the game down to a core level of stick work, positioning and conditioning. Speed Lacrosse uses smaller goals and no equipment beyond sticks and it uses a softer ball because, well, no pads and no goalies. It can be played anywhere by anyone and reduces the expense and real estate needed for field or indoor. There are many reasons I love Speed Lacrosse but its ability to take the sport to new people in new places has to be one of the coolest reasons.
AB: How does a person become a member or support the WLF?
LH: We have a donation page on our website, And we are hosting our inaugural World Lacrosse Beach Festival next weekend the 19th and 20th to be exact. It’s a lacrosse tournament on the beach in Siesta Key, Florida, using the Speed Lacrosse format. Teams of five people max in age groups from 7-18 in games of 3 vs 3. I can’t tell you how fun this is going to be and the weekend is punctuated by an exhibition game of pro and college players. There are a couple members of the WLF Board of Advisers hoping to talk me into a dunk tank that weekend believing we can raise some money from people looking to rip top cheddar and send me for a plunge.