Keep The Connection
Most of my younger years were spent running from people who were trying to hit me with six foot metal sticks. Sounds a bit crazy, but I loved it and it was in those moments when I felt most relaxed and comfortable. I started playing lacrosse in our backyard when I was five years old because my older brothers were into it. I really liked the sport because of the fast action and the unique skill set required to handle a stick but once I learned the history of the game it turned into my obsession.
As most people know lacrosse is a Native American sport and is the oldest game in North America. Bottomline, there’s no sport with a backbone like lacrosse – not even close. To this day most players still string their own sticks. I can’t think of another team sport where the athlete makes his/her own equipment? That’s really cool to me – it’s an incredibly creative, expressive and artistic sport.
My first ten years out of college I worked in the lacrosse industry designing, manufacturing and marketing sticks. There’s a trade show every year where thousands of lacrosse fans, players, coaches, referees and enthusiasts take over a convention center. It’s a date on the calendar that all equipment manufacturers mark as an opportunity to roll out their latest and greatest. Many of the biggest innovations in the modern game have released on that weekend. However, every year that I’ve gone there is one booth that gets way more attention than all the others and it makes me extremely happy. There’s no fancy signage surrounding this booth, no loud music, no half naked girls handing out flyers and no flat screen TV’s. It’s just one man, with a draw shave and his feet covered in hickory shavings. That man is Alfie Jacques.
I’ve been lucky to get to know Alfie over the years and have attended his workshops where he talks about stick making and the Onondaga game. I have many times called him the most important man in lacrosse. The modern style of lacrosse that most people know is closely related to the Iroquois game and the Iroquois stick in particular. I am fascinated by the traditional Iroquois lacrosse stick and I’m certainly not alone. There are collectors from all over the world gobbling up every stick that becomes available. Younger stick makers like Jack Johnson are carrying on the tradition and producing some incredible sticks.
Two years ago I helped my Brother Ryan launch his brand, Powell Lacrosse, and we really focused on supporting the culture and the history because we knew that it was those two elements that made the sport special and needed to be preserved. (I wrote a story about stick making for them that you can check out here) While I was working for Powell Lacrosse I also released several rounds of wooden shafts that I made in my studio and I had a lot of fun doing it. So after a bunch of players have reached out to me about the wooden shafts I figured why not make more and include them here as part of my new venture with Rising Feather.
Wooden lacrosse shafts are a really great gift for lacrosse players of all ages. We always had them in our backyard when we were growing up and it made us feel more connected to the history of the sport. Whether you’re looking for a wall hanger or a backyard handle Rising Feather shafts are made of select hickory and are finished completely by hand.
Just like my art amps, it’s always fun when I get to combine a few of my passions into one project.
*Be sure to check out my Brother’s brand www.powelllacrosse.com for all of your lacrosse equipment and apparel needs.