Jul 30, 2020

From Lacrosse Newcomer to Premier High School League

St Peters student Elke Knowles describes how she started playing lacrosse, and how she sees the sport is opening up new opportunities for her future

Originally for me, sport was always something I enjoyed playing and saw it as a great opportunity to keep fit, have fun, and meet new people. I knew at the time I never had any aspirations to play at national level or even slightly considered it to be a part of my future or career!

Backtrack to year 9 when I was in my first year of high school at St Peters, thinking netball would be my main extra-curricular. I quickly learnt that St Peters had an amazing range of sporting opportunities. This included lacrosse, a fairly new sport that I wasn’t quite familiar with except knowing it was played mostly in the US. Being new and not knowing much about the sport, I resisted the urge to trial as I was uncertain and not completely sure about the idea.

The following year I had become friends with a few of the girls in my year that played, but was still uncertain and lacked confidence so again did not trial. After trials had finished that year, I received an email from the coach of the third team saying they needed an extra player and that she had heard that I was interested in playing. I jumped at the opportunity, excited to have a chance to start playing.

The season commenced, and I was thrown into the new sport head on whilst juggling trainings and Saturday games with netball. It was a tricky but rewarding experience, as it taught me a lot about prioritising and commitment, and was amazing to be a part of two playing teams. Most Saturdays were filled with rushing from the courts in Hamilton to the field in Tamahere, but there were some weeks where the games clashed and I had to choose. These were the games where I felt a little downhearted as I was left with a feeling of letting one of my teams down and I should have been more committed to finding a way around it, even though it was actually impossible.

During this time was when I also decided to trial for the Waikato U15 team with a few of the girls at my school. I had never been more scared for anything in my life before, and the whole experience was quite daunting even though I had come into the trials with a I’m-here-for-the-experience-I’ve-got-nothing-to-lose attitude. I didn’t get a place in the team, but saw it as a great way for improvement as I was given feedback from the trial.

Following the trial and my first season, I decided to sign up for Club League and play for Cambridge. I was a little uncertain about this too, as I had only been playing for a season and my confidence was still lacking. Looking back at the experience I wish I was more confident, as it would have put me in a higher team that would’ve allowed me to be pushed and improve more as a player. I came out of summer league with a much more in-depth understanding for the game and a huge personal improvement. A big, big thank you to my coaches for that!

Fast forward to around March of 2020, school trials had begun and I was filled with far more confidence, even though this was my first actual trial since I had skipped out on them for the previous two years! I went into trials with a hope for improvement and a place (hopefully) in the second team at the most. Unfortunately for me the trial was cut short as I ended up spraining my ankle quite badly and was out for a good three weeks. I was quite disappointed as I felt that the selectors had not seen enough of me to place me in the team I was hoping for. But to my surprise, when the teams came out I was placed in the first team! How that happened I had no idea, but am very grateful for the opportunity and very much looking forward to the season ahead.

During this time I had also considered the idea of continuing my lacrosse journey by trialling for the Waikato U18 team this year, and hopefully allowing it to take me overseas to the US for university where I have a hope to study paramedicine and become a paramedic and emergency technician. I am so excited for the season ahead and all it has to bring!

Photo credit: Lou Kibby Photography


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