Taipei City, Taiwan – Before we had arrived in Taiwan, it was apparent that the Taiwan Lacrosse Association (TWLA) was very well organized and functional. Every detail was thought out and every minute was planned well in advance. The hospitality of the TWLA, their administrative personnel, the players, their families, and friends was limitless.
TWLA Group Shot
Photos from the Clinic
Tuesday, October 13th
After a fifteen-hour flight to Honk Kong, and another hour and a half flight to Taipei, we touched down in Taiwan. After clearing immigration and customs, we were met by our driver who drove Bob DeMarco and I to our hotel. There we awaited the arrival of our women’s development staff; Joanna Lignelli and Jane Pirie, who were flying in from the west coast. It was late in the evening, and we were tired from our travels, so we had a quick bite to eat and retired to our rooms.
Wednesday, October 14th
The TWLA had arranged for our staff, to have a guided tour of Taipei City. We went to Taipei 101(one of the tallest buildings in the world), the National Palace Museum, Longshan Temple and to see the changing of the Guards at the Martyr’s Shrine. It gave us an insight and education into the history, culture, traditions, religions, economy and government of Taiwan.
That evening, George Lin, the CEO Lionrock Company (manufacturers of STX equipment) graciously invited us to a dinner, in celebration of our trip to Taipei. We had the honor of meeting his lovely wife Kay, son Jonathan, his family and grandchildren. We were able to gain a brief, but interesting insight into the manufacturing process and workings of exported goods manufactured in Asia. The meal (more like a feast) was extraordinarily delicious Taiwanese cultural cuisine.
Thursday, October 15th
On Thursday morning, we departed for Taitung by train. Several players from Taipei, along with Jonathan Lin, Chris Wei, and Professor Chiang Liu from the University of Taipei accompanied us. The trip was over four hours long through some of the most scenic and beautiful landscape that any country has to offer. Mountains, beautiful ocean, rice paddies, banana fields, and lush jungle growth abound.
As in every detail, when we arrived at the Taitung station our transportation was waiting to take us to the Formosan Naruwan Hotel. The hotel manager, Heidi, greeted us. She had the complete itinerary of our schedule while in Taitung and informed us that she would assist with any needs or questions. As it turned out, she was a constant presence every time we left or returned to the hotel. Heidi was so helpful to our entire staff and the players who were staying there.
That afternoon, the TWLA sponsored a guided Taitung local tour. Our guide, Christina Tang, provided us not only with a fabulously planned tour, but shared a wealth of knowledge about Taiwan, Taitung, and their people and culture. Christina informed us, that our tour was to be a coastal trip and that the next day we would be taking a tour inland into the mountain region.
Friday, October 16th
Friday morning we headed out early for our tour of the Taitung mountain area, with stops at one of the most renowned hot air balloon regions in the world, a visit to a tea growing plantation for some tea tasting and scenic bike riding adventure through banana fields, tea plantations, and lush agricultural lands. Of particular interest to us, was our visit to the Little League Baseball Hall of Fame. It was in a remote mountain area of Taitung, deep in tradition, and occupied by the Aborigines. The small museum offered a detailed view of the history of the notable successes of the Taiwanese Little League teams that competed in the Little League World Series. Young Aborigines dominate the composition of most of these teams rosters. Lacrosse in Taiwan now experiences the athletic prowess these you Aborigines display in baseball and other sports.
Friday evening the FIL staff gave a presentation to guests of the TWLA. They included several players depended upon as leaders, as well as these TWLA administrators:
- Chris Wei
- Sarah Lin
- Johnathan Lin of Lionrock Company
- Professor Ching Liu from the University of Taipei
- Mr. Lin, who is the Head of Sports and Physical Education for Kung Tung HighSchool
- Mr. Wang, the Head of Sports and Physical Education for National Cheng Kung Commercial & Agricultural High School
- Mr. Suang, Head of Sports and Physical Education for National Taitung University Affiliated Physical Education Senior High School
Also in attendance were boy’s coaches Chewa Kwan (Tim), Ting San Wan (Kinson) and Naoki Sai, and women’s coaches Kaleskes Uvangas, Brittany Orr and Jenny Hannah.
Bob DeMarco’s opening remarks included sincere thanks to all those involved in helping to develop lacrosse in Taiwan. He also extended our gratitude for all the generosity and hospitality that the TWLA had shown to our staff. Bob followed with a presentation of a Certificate of Membership to the TWLA on becoming the 52nd country to join the FIL. Accepting the certificate, were TWLA leader’s Chris Wei and Sarah Lin.
Rick Mercurio then followed, with a power point presentation on “How to Achieve Your Goals” (a progression of key elements to achieve team success).
The session continued with Joanna and Jane meeting with the girls while Bob and I remained with the to demonstrate and discuss techniques, skills and strategies, followed by questions and answers with the boys.
Saturday, October 17th
On Saturday morning, we hit the ground running. After a short ride to National Taitung Senior Commercial Vocational High School, we found the players already warming up on the field and eager to get started. The players were all fully equipped; there were plenty of balls, several cages, and the pitches marked in preparation for the clinic. As we had prepped with our staff and coordinated with the Taiwan coaches the night prior, no time was wasted as we moved right into our team drill sessions. As in many of our developmental clinics, we try to touch on as many aspects of the game as possible; realizing that, we hope the players will make improvements in the short amount of time we have together. We emphasize key coaching points, as much as possible, so that the coaches can come back to what we cover and help make improvements through repetition.
After a brief lunch, we continued our clinic into late afternoon. The enthusiasm of the players and coaches was contagious, and our motivation remained high. We quickly moved from one session of drills into demonstrations and techniques and kept the players moving and participating. At the end of the day we debriefed, reviewed and presented what we would be covering at the next day’s clinic.
At Sunday morning’s clinic, we quickly reviewed and moved into positional drills and transition situations. As the players were eager to play, Coach Tim, Kinson, and Sai made up teams. We were very impressed by the level and speed of play and the player’s understanding of the game.
Our staff left the fields that day with a profound admiration for what the TWLA had accomplished and wishing we had more time to spend working with their players.
On behalf of Joanna, Jane, Bob and myself we would especially like to thank Chris Wei and Sarah Lin for their countless hours and resources they spent making our trip an enjoyable, memorable and most importantly, a productive one.
Both the men’s and women’s programs are in good hands administratively, and the Taiwan coaches are outstanding and dedicated.
FIL Coordinator of International Events
- Kwan, Chewa (aka Tim)
- Wan, Ting San (aka Kinson)
- Sai, Naoki
- Kaleskes Uvangas (aka Coach K)
- Brittany Orr
- Jenny Hannah
Schools in Taiwan that play lacrosse
- Taipei Chengshih University of Science and Technology
- Kung Tung Technical Senior High School
- National Taitung Senior Commercial Vocational School
- National Cheng Kung Commercial & Aquaculture Senior Vocational High School
- National Taitung University Affiliated Physical Education Senior High School
- KidsAlive (Orphanage)
Boys Participation: 75-100
Girls’ approximately: 25-30
Try-out process to select players for:
- 2015 Tokyo High Schools Invitation Games
- 2016 Greater China Cup in Shanghai, China
- 2016 FIL U19 Men’s Lacrosse World Championship in Coquitlam, Canada
- 2017 ASPAC Championship
- 2018 FIL Men’s World Lacrosse Championship in Manchester, England
There have been discussions about the development of lacrosse at the University of Taipei right after the FIL Clinic. The University of Taipei has demonstrated a keen interest in leveraging lacrosse as an off-season cross-training sport for Hand Ball. They will be looking at the possibility of starting lacrosse there in January 2016 when the regular Hand Ball Season ends as well as the new gears’ arrival for them to get started.
The TWLA has begun to promote lacrosse in urban schools to attract interest. With the early success in Taitung, urban schools (both high school and collegiate levels) have started to show interest as the sport is gaining more exposure.
List of Schools discussing/planning a club or varsity lacrosse team include:
- National Taiwan Normal University
- University of Taipei
- Fu-Jen Catholic University
- Taipei American School
- Kan Chiao Bilingual School
About the FIL
The Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) is the international governing body for men’s and women’s lacrosse. The FIL currently has 52 member nations and holds five World Championships (women’s and men’s field, women’s and men’s U19 field and men’s indoor.) The FIL is responsible for the governance and integrity of all forms of lacrosse and provides responsive and effective leadership to support the sports’ development throughout the world.