Editor notes: We are checking in with Payu Nerngchamnong, the President of Thailand Lacrosse. The man is always on the move, with his regular work, Thailand Lacrosse and now Singapore Lacrosse taking up all his time. We asked him to give us 30 seconds per question to respond, and we sure got some interesting answers. Hopefully you’ll learn a lot from this brief interview, you can also e-mail him at: [email protected]
First of, how’s the second year been for Thailand Lacrosse?
Great, though it could be better. People expect a lot from us considering what we achieved last year, instead of padding ourselves in the back we need to raise the bar. That’s why we scheduled as many games as we did, we have a lot to catch up. The team, Steve, and the staffs have been extremely helpful and supportive of this journey, we hit some “trouble water” and lost some people. But it will only make us stronger as group, and for that I am thankful.
To date, you guys played only one game as Thailand lacrosse in America, how was it?
We lost our season opener, as expected considering the circumstance. But it helped get our feet wet, and tested us mentally, physically as a team. We acted accordingly during and afterward, which is more than I can say about our opponent. I think I would be more considerate of an opponent that fly 10,000 miles to play my team in a lacrosse game, but everyone are different. It’s a lesson learned, and it’s something that as we moved forward we need to be more careful with. It was one of the challenging trip we’ve made yet, and it wouldn’t have worked out if it wasn’t because of all the people involved (the team, the Hess family, TLA officers, STX and Suffield Academy).
How has it been working with Lacrosse All-Stars team?
Truly passionate people, more so than I am. Jeff and Connor are the true pioneers they are building something here that will open more doors (while Tumbas kicked them open) in lacrosse in one year than other would in the entire span of their program/career. The rest of the LAS squad, some I met and some I have yet to meet are a great bunch of guys. I feel very fortunate to be asked to be a part of this network, truly am.
Speaking of LAS, the second game was in Thailand for the first annual GTG Invitational, what was the experience like?
It was good for our guys, the country, and the lacrosse community. The LAS boys are doing what other in the lacrosse community should be doing all along, put the money where their mouth is. One of the most over used phrase in lacrosse is “grow the game” I have no problem with that, I do have a problem when they just use it as a punch line.
Is it a question of funding? After all you guys are one of the most well funded program.
No we’re not. The guys still pay for their own traveling expenses, I stepped in to help where I can. We are one of the well “supported” team, yes I would have to agree with that but not the most funded. Look, there are people here or people we work with who want to spread the sport more so than those who are profiting from lacrosse back in the U.S. you tell me what’s more obtuse?
Any other challenges thus far?
There’s always challenges, some big, some small but it’s a part of growing pain. I admit this is not easy, and we hit a few “speed bumps” along the way. I didn’t get into it because it’s easy, I got into it because it’s hard. There are those out there who are doing more for lacrosse than what we have been doing, that we never hear about. What I learned is you can’t just get by with just being “passionate” about the sport, you need to be driven.
What’s your driving force behind all this?
There are many but the principal driven force is my late mother, this is the last project we started together before she passed away in late 2009 (Editor note: TLA Started in January 2010) I worked hard on TLA like other projects I took over from her, is to protect and maintain her legacy the best of my ability. The Passion for lacrosse is right up there too, but it’s no greater than the love of a son to his mother when it comes to a driving force.
Do you have any regrets?
My only regrets is that I didn’t start this program sooner, and available for more people (which we are working on that). There are many things that I would handle differently as we move forward, but I don’t regret approaching it the way that I did. I hope that Singapore will benefit from the learning curve of Thailand Lacrosse, and that the program will grow for years to come.
How long are you going to be Singapore Interim President?
I’ll support them as long as they need me to, it’s entirely up to them. People in Singapore I encountered are as passionate lacrosse as any other country with a lacrosse program. They need to be self sustainable eventually, and growing their program in their own way. Right now I see my self handing it over to someone there, when Singapore is confirmed by the FIL as another member. I have a lot of faith in the people in Singapore, just like Thailand… they will do great.
How’s the relationship been with the partners and sponsors?
Terrific, just like the way I look at the players of our program: without them Thailand lacrosse wouldn’t be where it is today. At the same time it’s another growing pains, unlike before we are now choosing people who wants to work with us. And we’re not going to banging down doors to get them, we as a program have built something special together. We’re not going to wait around, the train is leaving the station so it’s either they get on it or they are not. To date: our partners have gone far, and beyond to assist us in our development forward.
Lastly, do you ever sleep? since the time zone differences and all.
I managed. Like my work and my personal time, I find the time. I often believe that one rarely get a chance to be a part of something unique, and special as this. A catalyst of something greater, than one self. So sleep can wait.