Ask a Coach

Dec 21, 2008

John Cook, Pasadena's go-to lacrosse guy

Most California natives wouldn’t know a lacrosse stick if it cracked them across the shins — lacrosse has traditionally been the game of choice for highly bred East Coast kids who model for Ralph Lauren in their spare time. But seemingly overnight, everyone in Pasadena is talking about the sport, and every 13-year-old boy wants to play it. Is it the allure of the big sticks? Or the thrill of something new? We talked to the head coach for Pasadena club lacrosse, John Cook (and yes, he’s a former East Coast prep-school kid), to get some answers.

HTP: How did lacrosse get to be the next hot thing?
John: The kids’ excitement for this sport is palpable, and now the parents are taking notice, and the buzz is building.

HTP: And why are kids flipping for the sport?
John: It’s really fun to play. It moves quickly, there’s lots of scoring, and it invites all kinds of players. You don’t have to be the fastest or the biggest to play. It’s also a great team game that requires focus from all ten players to make it fun. I also think people are fascinated by it because it’s a derivative of a Native American game.

HTP: Do you have to be a rich, white, East Coast prep-school kid to play lacrosse?
John: No, since the passing of Prop 36, rich prep-school kids are no longer allowed to play the game. But really, the growth of the sport is attracting a diverse bunch of kids and wiping away that stereotype fast.

HTP:So far we’ve only heard about boys playing it around here. What about girls? And what about adults?
John:Right now in Pasadena we have four teams for boys, from grades 3 to 12, and this year we will have a girls’ program as well. These teams are part of the Los Angeles Lacrosse League, a nonprofit organization that for the past ten years has been developing the sport here. In March, the Rose Bowl will be the site of the largest all-girls’ tournament in California. It will include college teams down to the youth level.
High school and adult players can join a pickup game on any Sunday at 10 a.m. at Glendale High for a small donation that benefits their club team.

For more information on local lacrosse, go to

1 Response for “Ask a Coach”

  1. charles mckenney says:

    I played many sports in high school and ran cross country and track in college.

    In law school I was introduced to lacrosse and played for 10 years in a local league.

    Playing lacrosse was the most fun I ever had playing sports. It will catch on.



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