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Lacrosse The World in 17 Hours
Kyle Harrison doesn’t just talk the talk when it comes to growing the game — he leads by example. From hosting clinics to visiting schools, chances are if you check his Instagram (@kyleharrison18 if you don’t already follow him…) you’ll see he’s somewhere teaching the next generation of lacrosse athletes how to up their game.
Kyle’s passion for growing the game recently took him to the other side of the world where he spent some time with the Hong Kong Lacrosse Association, learning more about the sport’s trajectory and even stopping by a few clinics to introduce new people to the sport for the first time! Once he recovered from the 17-hour flight (no we’re not joking, 17 HOURS), we caught up with the OG lacrosse global ambassador to talk about growing the game abroad and experience the trip vicariously through his Instagram:
You got to spend some time with our lacrosse brothers at the Hong Kong Lacrosse Association — what was it like to see the game from an international perspective?
It was my first time ever visiting Hong Kong and it was truly incredible! Between playing on the National Team and working with our groups around the world, I’ve seen the game on an international scale a fair amount, but the thing that impressed me the most about the Hong Kong players was their passion, skill, and coachability. Those are unteachable intangibles (try saying that five times fast) that are necessary to succeeding in the game.
[Photo credit: Siu Wing Leong @siu1993]
What’s the current feeling around the sport in Hong Kong?
From the time I spent with the athletes, I’d say it’s definitely up and coming. So much respect for Scott Browning (head coach of the Hong Kong team) and the Hong Kong Lacrosse Association! They are doing an incredible job exposing as many people as possible to the sport, across the country.
During my time there, we hosted three beginner events and had men and women of all ages show up to try out the sport for the first time. It was awesome to see that many people interested in trying the sport!! Such a cool picture of how sports transcend age, gender, race, etc. and brings people together into community.
Are there any major differences in the Hong Kong game or playing strategy?
I didn’t notice any huge differences — Coach Browning is actually Canadian, so that influence was evident in their game. Offensively, you immediately notice the two-man game and their ability to play off the ball.
Defensively, they had a handful of rangy, athletic players who were great off the ground. One defender in particular had one of the best motors I’ve ever seen — another skill that can’t be taught.
What was your favorite part of the trip? Did you try any new foods while you were there?
Hands down my favorite part of the trip was the people. Everyone was so welcoming, excited, and eager to share their culture with me — it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. You can feel the warmth and hospitality everywhere you go!
I’ll be the first to admit I’m not too adventurous when it comes to trying new foods — I don’t think I stepped out of my lane too much while there. I did try a bunch of different variations of chicken and pork and loved them all!
Why is it important to parallel growth at home with growth around the world? How can young players who may not have the opportunity to go overseas get involved on a global scale?
I think anyone who is involved in this sport is passionate about growing it — not just at home, but abroad as well. When you love something, you want to share that excitement with as many people as possible. Plus, for our Olympic lacrosse hopes, it’s important that everyone continues to do their part around the world in helping this sport to grow.
For young players looking to do their part, social media is an awesome starting point! If there’s an organization that you’re interested in getting involved with, don’t be afraid to reach out – go for it and I’m sure they would be more than happy to give you some action items to help.
It’s so important to learn about new cultures and broaden our worldview — any “wow” cultural experiences you had? Key takeaways?
For me there was no one specific “wow” moment — the entire trip was my “wow.” With everything going on in the world these days, it was refreshing to jump on a plane, head 17 hours to the other side of the world and find people who want the same things I do — to be happy and healthy, take care of their families, do what they love, and in this case, play lacrosse.
Language barriers aside, we’re not all that different from each other and want the same exact things for ourselves and families. I enjoyed every single interaction I had during my time in Hong Kong and it’s a trip that I’ll never forget.
Wonder what it would be like to have Kyle visit your team? Check out what happened when he dropped by a Las Vegas high school team to drop some lacrosse knowledge.