Today, TLA had its first practice in Peter Barton Stadium on the University of Denver. The team worked hard in the hot sun, with many of the guys playing together for the first time.
“At first I just didn’t know what to expect, so I was just eyes wide open, ears open, ready to go,” Kacy Arteam, a veteran TLA player, said. “I thought the players as a whole listened very well. Everybody was ready. Everybody focused when the coaches talked, very respectful. I thought the guys as a whole were excited, eager to learn. Coach Dylan said the same thing, everyone was very coachable, which I thought they were. I heard a lot of ‘yes, Coach. Yes, Coach.’ And then as soon as they were told to do something, I saw them doing it in the next rep. I thought everyone was very receptive. Everyone was just ready to work.”
Kacy helped to lead stretches, along with Cory Waiprib, to start out practice after a quick stick skills warmup. As an older player with a lot of experience, Kacy has become one of the leaders of Team Thailand.
“I’ve played a lot of lacrosse and I coach a lot, so I just think it’s a natural role for me to fill. Especially being a player now and not being in a coaching role, so I just think it’s natural. Cory’s always up there, whenever we’ve played for Thailand in the past. We’ve always been kind of the guys up there, so I just think it’s natural. And I like being in that role. I hope to stay in that role. I think the younger players look up to us as the older guys that know what they’re doing, and I think it helps bridge the gap between the coach and the players.”
The players will need this bridge as the practices increase in difficulty and the team comes together during the boot camp preceding the World Games.
“I think everything we do today, we will build on to it,” Kacy said. “All the drills will ultimately progress and get a little more detailed, a little more detailed as the players are picking up all the concepts, and I think it will ultimately build up to what they want to see on the game day.”
As the team works together, Kacy will take advantage of his time with his teammates. As a coach in the U.S., Kacy is surrounded by lacrosse, but being with TLA means playing alongside men who are new to the sport.
“I’m just excited to watch. Every time I play with Thailand I think the kids and the guys get better every time. I think that’s very cool for me to watch, especially coming from the U.S. and seeing kids who have grown up playing. These guys haven’t grown up playing, so it’s fun to sit back and watch guys who are newer to the sport really learning and picking it up and then applying. I’m excited to see the growth of the team. I’m excited to see how we go from today’s very skills-oriented basic drills to how we play in a game and how we put it together.”
And as far as the holiday, Kacy is not as excited for the Fourth of July as he is for this adventure with TLA.
“I don’t really like fireworks, so this does nothing for me… This’ll be a Fourth of July I’ll always remember: the Fourth of July that I wasn’t about American independence, I was about Thailand’s first trip to their first World Games.”