Playing lacrosse and being in Idaho has always been a unique experience and extremely humbling to be a part of. You look around and see major hotbeds, where lacrosse stars settle in and become local legends of the game. In Idaho though, things like that just don’t exist, the sport is still very young here and constantly trying to earn its place in the community. Anyone who has worked to build the game here, has done it solely because of the passion they hold for the game and their hopes to see it grow.
Last weekend, we had our first chance to honor the local ‘founders of the game’. The people that started it all in the state of Idaho. The ones who paved the way for the rest of us to have an opportunity to play this amazing game. The ones who, while maybe in an indirect way, are probably part of the reason I even have a job today.
There are so many people in Idaho that have played an integral part in the growth of the sport here, so it was a very special experience to be able to be in attendance at the inaugural ILA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
The first three gentlemen inducted into the Idaho Lacrosse Hall of Fame were Stan Swanson, Peter Anderson, and Jim Elliot.
Stan Swanson has basically been known as the ‘Godfather’ of lacrosse in Boise. Like the other inductees, Stan is a man with many irons in the fire. He has been a player, a coach, a commissioner, and every other position under the sun. Stan played lacrosse not too long ago at the Naval Academy and earned All-American honors, as well as the Schmeisser Award in 1954 (the same award given to Brodie Merril and Ken Clausen for you young bucks).
Even outside of just the endless amount of effort he put into the game off the field, Stan was a legend locally for his efforts on the field, and no, not at Navy. Stan would show up to our local Summer League games and suit right up to play alongside high school and college players without a glint of fear in his eyes. He would show up, greet everyone, grab his old hickory d-pole and head right out onto the field. It didn’t matter if you were 16 or 31, you would feel every ounce of that old hickory as Stan laid a perfect check across your arms.
You learned quick not to look past his age and doubt his abilities and it was something that no one who ever had the opportunity to play Stan could forget. Stan’s efforts both on and off the field and helped shape lacrosse to a break-out sport in Idaho.
Peter Anderson is a HUGE part of the reason that lacrosse is even in Idaho, especially at the collegiate and youth levels. I remember coming across an article that ran on LaxMagazine.com about Peter and some of his contributions to lacrosse in Idaho.
If you check out the article, you will see that Peter started working to build up the sport as far back as 1992. He put flyers up all around Boise, trying to convince people to play the sport, or even try it out. He came to the Induction Ceremony with a folder full of these flyers and even a receipt from the pipe he used to make his homemade goal.
The first flyer may have not drawn much interest, but the second one definitely did. Maybe it was the wording…
Peter helped create the Boise State lacrosse team, the youth leagues, he worked as a referee, he established the Idaho Lacrosse Association and even spent a couple years coaching. I gained an incredible amount of respect that night just listening to some of his stories about both his early frustrations and fond memories of the sport. Most importantly though, there was one thing still very prevalent in his feelings for the game, he still had the bug. That bug that we all get as soon as we pick up our first stick and fall in love with lacrosse.
Jim Elliott has played the role in lacrosse not many will even consider – an official. At times our best friend and just seconds later, our worst enemy. Jim not only helped to organize and build up the officiating base in Idaho, he still regularly officiates games throughout the Valley and his efforts are still seen each year as acting Vice President of the Idaho Lacrosse Officials Association.
You have to respect anyone who has been willing to take the heat as an official as their way of contributing to the growth of the game. To my knowledge, Jim was also one of the first officials in Idaho to be eligible to referee collegiate games. As a product of Idaho lacrosse, I can vouch to how much that helped out both the University of Idaho and Boise State University in their development as MCLA squads.
The inaugural Idaho Lacrosse Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was another step in the right direction for Idaho lacrosse and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it. The Idaho lacrosse community shared a very special evening and I am already looking forward to next year to see who we can honor for their efforts to build up lacrosse to where it is today. Lacrosse in the state of Idaho is constantly growing and people are endlessly working to make Idaho the next big hot bed, both in the north and the south. I look forward to the day we can have our own Tewaaraton winner and 1st round MLL draft pick, until then, back to work.
Congratulations again and thank you so much for everything you have done for lacrosse in Idaho!